Easy Indonesian Beef Meatballs with classic sweet, spicy and umami Nasi Goreng flavors, served with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce. These little spicy beef meatballs are packed with so much flavor and are a great appetizer for any party or gathering. Pair it with a rich, sweet Cabernet Sauvignon and you have the ingredients for a great time with friends and family!
Everybody loves a good get together. Good friends with good food is a recipe for good times. But not many like to play host. I love entertaining too, but not the work that goes into it. That’s why I LOVE a great make ahead recipe that’s easy and you can get most of the work done a day (or two) ahead, with very little prep work on the day itself.
Summer is on the wane for those of us in the Northern hemisphere and that could mean any of several things to you – thank god the kids are back in school, one last hurrah before summer bids adieu for another year, stubborn refusal to accept summer is over, shorter days and more pleasant weather that’s just around the corner, and labor day for a no-labor celebration.
If any one of more of these apply to you, I’ve got one kick ass recipe for you today! It’s an AMAZING tapas recipe with a flavor-packed Asian twist that can be made ahead of time for a fun get together or a weekend filled with BBQs, cocktails, wine, good food and good company.
These Indonesian Beef Meatballs with Nasi Goreng flavors, and served with an incredible sweet and spicy dipping sauce, are the perfect flavorful party appetizer! Nasi goreng is the Indonesian version of Chinese fried rice, but with an explosion of flavor that’s headlined by spicy, sweet, salty and some incomparable umami flavors from the ketjap manis (Indonesian soy sauce), sambal oelek (a spicy Asian chili sauce), cayenne pepper, fish sauce etc. These are all ingredients that you can easily find at your local Asian grocery store. There’s so much flavor here that Nasi goreng was once the runner-up for the readers’ choice in an online poll by CNN for the ‘World’s 50 best foods’!
The other great thing about these Indonesian beef meatballs is that they are so versatile. They can be pan fried, oven baked, or even grilled, so they’re great for any BBQ that you have planned for the tail end of summer. Plus get this, they can even be served cold too! So you can cook them a day ahead and keep the in the fridge overnight, and then serve at your get together or party the following day. The flavors will still be the same. It’s a recipe that’s fun, easy and honestly there’s no way to go wrong with it. So whatever you have planned for the labor-day weekend or your next summer get-together, these will keep your guests happy. 🙂
I wanted a wine that pairs brilliantly with the spicy, sweet flavors of these Nasi Goreng Beef Meatballs and a Cabernet Sauvignon was the perfect choice!
So go ahead and have a stress-free time with your friends and family at your next summer get-together with this Indonesian beef meatballs recipe that can be made ahead.
A casual cocktail and tapas-style party is my favorite way to entertain. So some great wine-pairings are a must.
Use some simple, disposable (biodegradable) plates, so there’s less clean up to worry about afterwards.
And most importantly, some great finger foods like these nasi goreng beef meatballs that everyone will love, that’ll also taste great even when cold!
If you want more ideas for party appetizers check out these Sri Lankan Fish cutlets (spicy fish croquettes that are great hot or at room temperature), these delicious Chicken and Ginger Potstickers (that also taste great at room temp), Asian style tacos, Spicy Thai Chicken kebabs, or these Cilantro Chicken wings with Green curry dip!
Then for dessert, go for no-bake desserts! 🙂 You can’t go wrong with that. You don’t have to turn on the oven, and you can store it in the fridge till needed. My favorite is this Sri Lankan Chocolate Biscuit Pudding (no-bake chocolate cookie cake), or this delicious Layered Butterscotch Panacotta, or even Fruity or Easy Creamy popsicles!
Indonesian Beef Meatballs
- 500 g ground beef with at least 15% fat
- 2 tbsp sambal oelek Indonesian hot chili sauce
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper less if you prefer it to be less spicy
- 1 tsp garlic powder or 3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ½ medium yellow onion about 120 g, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ketjap manis Indonesian sweet soy sauce
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- Generous pinch of nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp dark brown sugar or palm sugar
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 yellow onion about 200 g, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp sambal oelek
- 1 tbsp chili flakes/crushed red pepper use less if you prefer it to be less spicy
- ¼ tsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp palm sugar or 1 tbsp packed dark brown/light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp ketjap manis
- ½ tsp fish sauce
- Water to thin out the sauce
- Place finely chopped onions on a clean serviette or cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the moisture from them. Then add the onions into a big bowl.
- Add all the ingredients of the spice mix, the breadcrumbs and beef, and mix to combine.
- Using a 2 inch cookie scooper, scoop out the meatball mix and roll it into balls. You should get about 24 - 28 meatballs, depending on the size.
- Let the meatballs rest for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours in the fridge (covered).
- Pan frying - heat a couple of tbsp of oil in a non-stick pan. Place a few meatballs in the pan (must be cooked in batches) and cook for 5 - 6 minutes, turning them every few minutes for even browning.
- Oven - preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the meatballs about 1 - 1 ½ inches apart and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 - 30 minutes, flipping them over once halfway through.
- Let the meatballs rest for a few minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
- These can be stored in the fridge, but leave them out at room temperature before you serve them.
- Heat a non-stick pan with 2 - 3 tbsp oil. Heat over medium heat. Place the onions in the pan and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes while stirring until the onions reduce and caramelize. Add the sambal oelek, chili flakes/crushed red pepper, sugar and ginger, and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce, ketjap manis and fish sauce, and mix well and let it come to a simmer. The sweet and spicy dipping sauce should be thick in consistency.
- Add extra water to thin it out if needed. Serve the dipping sauce warm.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”