Although I watch a lot of TV cooking shows, I’ve never really liked watching any of Gordon Ramsay’s shows. Too much drama and profanities, and not enough food for me. Personally, I just don’t enjoy watching something where every second or third word is a four letter word (okay, that is probably an exaggeration, I’ve never sat down and counted – I haven’t watched long enough to do that). That’s just me. And so as a result, I’ve never purchased any of his cookbooks or tried any of his recipes.

Recently, however, I have seen him in his role as judge on Masterchef US where for the most part it seemed food, rather than the ‘f-word’, was more the focus. So I thought maybe it was time to give Gordon a chance. After all, he’s held onto three Michelin stars for a while, so he must know what he is talking about. I came across his latest book (which accompanies his most recent TV show and is aimed at teaching people how to become better home cooks) for 30% off and after having a quick look, a recipe for meatballs in a fragrant coconut broth with flavours I don’t use a lot caught my attention. There were a few other recipes that also caught my interest which I will try another time. Seeing as it was on sale, and telling myself that even though I have shelves full of cookbooks, I have a blog now so it’s okay to buy another one, I bought it. Link to book here –  Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking: Everything You Need to Know to Make Fabulous Food
I know. I have a problem… And I’m running out of space on my bookcase!

Pork meatballs in a fragrant coconut broth

As usual, I made some changes to the recipe along the way to suit my preferences. For example, the original recipe uses beef mince, however I wanted to try it with pork (I just didn’t feel like cooking beef tonight).  I also replaced the onion in the original recipe with spring onion both because I had some in the fridge but also because I thought it would go nicely with the pork and keep it light and fresh. The sweet, spicy broth that resulted really surprised me and I will certainly make this again. The fresh flavours beat anything you get straight out of a jar any day, yet it was really quite simple and straightforward to make.

The original recipe states that it serves 2-4. However, to make it a meal for 4 you would need to serve it with some rice and steamed vegetables.

Meatballs in a coconut broth

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes (to your taste – I only used 1 tsp)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, smashed and cut into pieces (small sticks/batons)
  • 5cm piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 lime – zest and juice (or more, to taste)

Meatballs

  • 1 small onion (or 3-4 spring onions) finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (to taste – I only used a ½ tsp)
  • 500g minced pork (or beef) – I used lean mince
  • 75g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste. 2 tablespoons oil for cooking.

Method

  1. To make the meatballs, cook the onions and garlic (with salt and pepper) in a pan for a few minutes until they start to soften and colour slightly. Add the chilli flakes to your taste (add more if you like your food hot) and cook for a few more minutes then remove from the heat.
  2. Place mince in a large bowl and season. Add the milk to the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. I would suggest adding half the milk first and then see how wet the mixture is. I found adding all the milk to my breadcrumbs made the mix a little too wet when I used very fresh soft white bread. Yet, when I cooked this with very stale breadcrumbs, I needed more milk. The breadcrumb mixture helps the meatballs bind together without adding eggs, however if it is too moist it is difficult to shape the meatballs.
  3. Add the breadcrumb mix and the onions to the mince and mix to combine. Using wet hands, roll the mix into golf ball sized balls and place on a plate or tray lined with baking paper. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes until they have firmed slightly.
  4. Heat oil in a large pan and cook the meatballs for approximately 5 minutes, until browned on all sides. If your pan is too small, you will have to do this in batches.
  5. Once the meatballs have been browned, add the coriander, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, chilli, lemongrass and ginger to the pan and stir for a few minutes. Add the stock and coconut milk, bring to simmer and simmer gently for 10 – 15 minutes until sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked. Cooking time will depend on the size of the meatballs and how much they were browned. Check and adjust seasoning to taste, add the zest and juice of the lime and serve.

Note – you may wish to strain the sauce before serving to remove the spices and lemongrass as the seeds are difficult to avoid.

Adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course (note – retitled titled Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking in America)
Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking: Everything You Need to Know to Make Fabulous Food

Hodder & Stoughton 2012, p180.