I’ve always had a fascination for American movie star, Teri Hatcher. I first discovered her as Lois Lane in Lois and Clark – The new adventures of Superman – as a young adult. I wasn’t as enamoured by Clark Kent, alter ego to Superman as I was with Hatcher’s Lois Lane. She was feisty, savvy and feminine at the same time. How I day dreamed to be a journalist/reporter just like Lois Lane or was it Teri Hatcher?
But I soon matured and came to accept that journalism wasn’t to be. I had left Singapore and came to England, the seat of Literature. Superman? I’ve never heard of him! I became engrossed in reading the great canons and writing papers. Years later, I got married and had a kid who took up a huge chunk of my energy and caused my brain to shrivel to the size of a walnut. I didn’t read for many years and if I did, the reading material usually consisted of articles and pages from books about how to breastfeed your infant to potty training and how not to bring up a spoilt brat. Those were dark years, my friends, years deprived of metaphors, passages flowing with adjectival clauses, pages filled with characters you love to hate and poetic ramblings of talented fiction writers. I cultivated the vocabulary of words beginning with p as in ‘are you doing your pee pee again?’ and n for ‘no! don’t throw the pasta at mummy again!’ Without the brain capacity to retain anything else other than mothering books and journals, I was glad to discover mindless entertainment in Desperate Housewives. That was when I re-discovered Teri Hatcher once again. This time playing yet another feisty but feckless woman, Susan Mayers.
I was wondering what Teriyaki meant in Japanese the other day when this chain of thought led me to remember Teri Hatcher. Then in the same chain of thought, I started wondering about her name. Surely, she wasn’t named after a Japanese sauce?
Well, this then inspired me to cook something with this marinade, having recently learnt to make chicken teriyaki the proper way from Nobuko san at a Japanese cooking class organised by the Japanese mothers at the ISP to fund raise for their country.
Usually teriyaki is synonymous with chicken. But as I didn’t have chicken in the fridge that day but 2 packs of ground beef, teriyaki meatballs it’s got to be. And besides, meatballs are rather American and since Teri Hatcher is from the United States, I’ll make this dish in tribute to her. That was how I convinced myself to invent this dish.
Here’s the recipe:
750 g of ground beef
1 knob of ginger, grated, that’s about half a teaspoon.
3 tbsp of light soy sauce. I used Kikoman
2 tbsp of granulated white sugar
3 tbsp of sweet mirin
For the Marinade – mix the ingredients in a bowl until the sugar melts. Leave aside.
The original recipe for chicken teriyaki recommends that you add the marinade to the fried chicken when the chicken pieces are cooked. But for the meatballs, I marinated the beef with the marinade and saved some for pouring over later.
This ensures that the ground beef gets an extra boost of teriyaki. I left the meat the marinate for at least 30 minutes before rolling them into little balls. You don’t want them too big for easy cooking neither too small because you want to cook the meat but still retain some moisture in them. The size is about the circumference of the circle that you will make with your thumb and index finger when you make the ok sign with hands my size, round about a size 6 glove. How’s that for precision?
Heat some oil in a non stick pan. Very little oil is required, just enough to swirl round your pan. The beauty of Japanese food is in the minuscule amount of oil in their cooking as witnessed in the various Japanese cooking classes I’ve had the pleasure of partaking in. Cook meat balls until the juices run clear.
Finally, add the extra marinade and wait for it to glaze. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds.
Serve with a bowl of Japanese white rice or over yellow noodles, if you fancy.
Totally sedap, kawan kawan and so easy to make. If you haven’t got chicken, meatballs and teriyaki make a good marriage.