The Korean Sauce That Will Liven Up Your Next Meatball Recipe

plate of meatballs in sauce
plate of meatballs in sauce - Bhofack2/Getty Images

There's no doubt just how universally beloved meatballs are. All across international cuisines, you can easily find many meatball variations playing a crucial role in putting together comforting, satisfying meals. Versatility unmatched, it's not so surprising that something as seemingly outside-the-box as a Korean condiment would still be a great fit for this dish. Whenever it gets a little repetitive and you need to bring back the excitement, bulgogi sauce is the ingredient to reach for.

For those familiar with Korean cuisine, bulgogi comes with the image of glossy meat slices smoking hot from the grill. The meat is tender and juicy, infused with a sensational blend of umami goodness that the bulgogi sauce brings. It's a tantalizing combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar (or honey), ginger, and garlic, offering both sweet and savory notes with an aromatic hint lingering in the aftertaste. Depending on personal preferences, some also add a dollop of gochujang or hot sauce, which layers in a subtly spicy, tangy undertone. Complex yet smooth and not too overpowering, it unfolds right into the meatballs' savory richness. Each bite is a uniquely enticing collision of vibrant flavors that come together seamlessly.

Read more: Tips You Need When Cooking With Ground Beef

Two Easy Ways To Add Bulgogi Sauce To Your Meatballs

meatballs cooking in sauce in a skillet
meatballs cooking in sauce in a skillet - Nerudol/Getty Images

A quick trip to the store will get you a bottle of bulgogi sauce in no time. Of course, if you already have the ingredients in the pantry, whipping up the sauce at home is no hassle. Once you've got it, there are two ways to incorporate it into meatballs. The first is to mix it straight into the ground meat. Let it marinate for at least half an hour in the fridge. Then, whether you prefer to pan-fry, bake, or air-fry, just cook the meatballs as usual. This way, the flavors are thoroughly infused, so you can truly taste the sensational umami from the inside out.

The other way is to toss the cooked meatballs with the sauce as a finishing touch, like with our BBQ meatballs recipe and other saucy renditions. This method coats the savory meat in a luscious exterior without changing its original taste. The visual appeal promises great things and, with an instant burst of intense, captivating flavors, it certainly doesn't disappoint.

Since you've already got the bulgogi sauce, you might as well lean into the Asian influence when serving the meatballs. Sprinkles of sesame seeds and green onions with a creamy dipping sauce make for a crowd-pleasing party appetizer. For those eating them as a main course, white rice is all you need for a filling meal. You can also surround the meatballs with carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts, kimchi, and gochujang to make bibimbap.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.