Mini Taiwanese Meatballs

  • 12 ounces ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoshing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 ounces large baby spinach leaves, Little Gem leaves
  • 1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce, for serving
  • Fresh coriander leaves, for garnish
  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Thoroughly mix together the beef, ginger, garlic, half of the chillies and the spring onions in a medium bowl. Add the Shaoshing, soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil, sugar, salt and black pepper and mix into the meat mixture until well combined using your hands. Roll the meat into ping-pong-size balls, and then transfer to a plate.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium-high heat until a bread cube or small piece of chile dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 10 to 15 seconds and floats to the surface, 175°C. Deep-fry the meatballs using a strainer, tossing them in the oil gently, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

To serve, place the spinach leaves stem-side up on a serving platter. Place 2 meatballs on each leaf, and drizzle a little chilli sauce on top. Garnish with a sprinkling of coriander and mint leaves and the remaining chopped red chillies. Guests can pick up the meatballs wrapped in the spinach or use toothpicks to spear and enjoy. Serve immediately.

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