Sesame-Ginger Chicken Meatballs in Faux-Pho Broth

Gayle McLeod | June 12, 2016

Sesame-spiked ginger chicken meatballs, served in a pho inspired broth with nourishing greens make for a light yet satisfying soup. Deceptively flavourful for such a quick recipe, you might be surprised how quickly it comes together, then disappears. I'm warning you now, there will be slurping.

Making meatballs with lean poultry can be a bit tricky. These are kept tender and juicy by using dark meat and skipping the breadcrumbs – a bonus if you practice a gluten free diet. The compromise is they tend to form the shape of a patty when cooked, rather than an actual ball. If that sort of thing annoys you... simply sprinkle in some panko breadcrumbs until you're happy, because your happiness matters, dammit.

Actually, speaking of happy... if I were you, I might actually make a double batch of these meatballs and freeze some for other uses like lettuce wraps or to be served over rice. I'm pretty confident this mixture would be dynamite as a filling for wonton wrappers then steamed or fried. See? Sounds like happiness to me.

Makes 4 medium servings.



1 lb ground chicken (preferably dark meat)

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 1 tbsp)

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated

1/3 cup sliced green onions, green parts only (about 4 large onions)

1 tbsp good quality toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce


1 litre container Intense Natural Chicken Stock

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced

1 clove garlic, chopped

reserved white parts of the green onions

1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder

6-8 stems of broccolini or 4 baby bok choy, halved or quartered, depending on the size

1/2 tbsp sesame oil, plus more to taste

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste

3 tsp fish sauce, plus more to taste

Optional Garnish:

finely sliced green onions

fresh Thai basil

micro greens or bean sprouts

lime wedges

chili paste or sriracha


Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside. Using a spatula or your hands, mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a medium bowl. Form the mixture into golf ball-sized balls and place on the prepared cookie sheet.

Start the broth: Gently heat the stock in a medium sauce pan with the sliced ginger, chopped garlic, the reserved white parts of the onions, and the five spice powder. Try not to let it boil, but rather sit at a mere simmer for about 10-15 minutes, then add the broccolini.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat with about 2 tbsp olive oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides until fully cooked, then set aside until your broth is ready. You may have to cook these in batches depending on the size of your skillet.

Once the broccolini is tender-crisp add the sesame oil, soy sauce and fish sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

To serve, remove the onions and ginger slices from the stock with tongs and discard. Divide the cooked meatballs between bowls and ladle the soup into each bowl. Top with your choice or garnishes and slurp away! The addition of rice noodles to this wouldn't be out of line either :)






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