Every time my family dined in Noodles and Company, we ordered one of its appetizers called Korean BBQ Meatballs, 10 meatballs in a bowl. Every time my family of four fought over who ate how many, which means loss to the restaurant because the way to end the fight is to make it at home, so everyone can have as many as we want without overspending on dining.
After searching, I found Noodles and Company has actually published its recipe here. However, when I followed the recipe exactly for the first try, the flavor and texture of the meatballs were far from the restaurant's, the taste of sauce is not well at all. I have made many, many more times of the meatball after the first try to get as close as possible to the restaurant's because as far as flavor and texture and the taste of the sauce are concerned, my family all want nothing to be different from the restaurant's.
In a summary, I add a few things and spices to the meat batter of the published recipe by Noodles and Company to make its flavor the same as the restaurant's. As a result, it's healthier, less fattening. (I have also used tuna, salmon or lean turkey instead of chicken and beef to make it healthier) For texture, the restaurant's meatballs have a thin chewy crust which I actually love a lot. But there is no way baking as listed in the recipe can create that. In this Instructable, you'll see how I copycat that. For sauce, I adjusted proportions of ingredients and the kind of soy sauce used to achieve the same taste as the restaurant's.
So if you like the Noodles and Company Korean BBQ Meatballs, want to enjoy it at home, haven't tried a recipe that can copy the restaurant's offer, I suggest you follow along.
Step 1: Make Meatballs
Ingredients (vegetables and herbs, finely chopped, the finer, the better):
1/2 lb ground chicken (10% fat)
1/2 lb ground beef (7% fat)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
A few cilantro plants,
1 clove garlic
0.5 inch thumb wide ginger root
1/4 medium sweet onion
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
A few grounds of 4 pepper blends (black, green, white, and pink)
In a medium or large mixing bowl, place all ingredients together.
Mix, mix, and mix the ingredients till well mixed, it should pull away from the bowl and smells amazing while mixing.
Form balls in your palms, about 1-1.5 inches. this is the most beautiful meat batter I have worked with. Usually I don't want to touch raw meat. But this is the exception, not only it smells good, there is no bit of residue on my palms after forming the balls.
Place the balls on a parchment lined brimmed baking sheet.
The above batter makes 30 meatballs.
Step 2: Make Korean BBQ Sauce
Before starting making sauce, if you don't care about creating the chewy crust on Noodles and Company's meatballs, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Since I want to create the exact same texture as Noodles and Company's meatballs, I set up my deep fryer to preheat the oil to 355 degrees F at this time.
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Korean chili flakes
Bring the above mixture into simmer in a sauce pan.
If you don't care about creating the chewy crust that Noodles and Company's meatballs have, bake the balls at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes and roll the balls every five minutes to evenly brown them, continue heat the sauce until bubbly, stir 1/2 tbsp corn starch with 1/2 tbsp water and add it to the sauce, stir and heat it to thicken it, let it simmer for a few minutes. When it's ready, coat the cooked meatballs in the thick sauce. Remove and place coated meatballs to a bowl, garnish with toasted white and black sesame seeds and paprika powder. Enjoy!
If you are like me, want to create the exact same texture as Noodles and Company's meatballs, Follow to the next step.
Step 3: Cook the Balls and Enjoy!
To create the chewy crust on meatballs, at this time, place them in fryer basket and briefly fry them for 1-1.5 minutes.
Drain oil and immediately transfer them to the hot sauce to continue cooking them for about 5 minutes.
Stir 1/2 tbsp corn starch with 1/2 tbsp water and add it to the meatballs and sauce pan, cook for about 3 more minutes.
Remove the thick Korean BBQ coated meatballs to a bowl, garnish with toasted white and black sesame seeds and paprika powder. Enjoy!
The first thing I did after shooting a couple photos of the finished meatballs was biting into it to find out if frying them actually created a chewy crust on the balls. Yes! It did it!
Please vote this recipe for Copycat Recipes contest if you like it. Thanks very much!
If you tried the recipe, don't forget to take a photo and click the "I made it" button in Comments section to upload the photo, I'll give you a 3-month Instructable pro-membership for doing that!