Gogi Wanja Jorim (Glazed Korean Meatballs)

Today’s post is very special! A few weeks ago, I was invited to join a group of amazing bloggers, from around the world, for a blogging cultural exchange – World on a plate! It’s truly an honor for me to be part of the exchange. On the last Sunday of the month, each blogger will produce a wonderful recipe, from his/her home country, featuring the dish chosen for the month. For the inaugural event, the group is featuring meatballs this month! Please visit every blog participating and learn about each culture’s rendition of the meatballs.

Now, are you all ready for Korean meatballs? Meatballs are called gogi wanja in Korea. Traditionally, meatballs are pan-fried and either used in soups or hotpots or served as is (sometimes with a sauce). They were an essential ingredient in Korean Royal Court dishes such as sinsello, an elaborate Royal Court hotpot. A popular version of Korean meatballs are egg-battered and pan-fried. They are called wanjajeon and commonly served on holidays and special occasions. As a child growing up in Korea, I loved these little egg-battered meatballs. We called them by their funny nickname – dongeurangddeng, meaning “a round thing”. I know it’s hard to pronounce, but it is one of those words that makes you smile when said or heard. They were a favorite for packing in the school lunch boxes. Meat was a luxury in Korea back then, so it was always a special treat to have a few of these meatballs with a meal. Another popular way to eat meatballs is to glaze them with some sort of sauce. There are many variations of sauce.

Here, I braised the meatballs in a soy based sweet and savory sauce (jorim jang) commonly used in Korean cooking. For the meatballs, I like to use a mixture of beef and pork. Of course, you can use all beef or all pork depending on your preference. Typically, Korean meatballs include tofu, mushrooms, carrots, onions and/or scallions as well. I used mushrooms, onions and scallions in this recipe. They add a lot to the flavor and texture of the meatballs without being overpowering. Whatever you use, take extra time to finely chop the ingredients for a smoother texture. Then, your children will never know there are mushrooms and onions in the meatballs. These meatballs are very tender and packed with lots of great flavors! I hope you try this recipe and experience meatballs the Korean way!

Makes about 30 – 32 meatballs (1 1/4-inch)

Ingredients:
For the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
5 – 6 fresh shiitake (or any) mushroom caps, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons corn starch (more for dredging)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
salt (about 1/4 teaspoon) and pepper to taste

For the sauce (jorim jang):
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
3 tablespoons rice wine (or mirin)
3 tablespoons water
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 pieces thinly sliced ginger

Optional garnish:
chopped peanuts or pine nuts

Finely chop the mushrooms, onion, and scallions. Combine all the meatball ingredients well by hand until evenly blended.

Shape the mixture into about 1 1/4-inch balls. Dredge the meatballs in the cornstarch or flour to lightly coat.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat. Add half of the meatballs to the pan. Turning as necessary, fry until all sides are golden brown but not cooked through, 5 – 7 minutes. The meatballs will finish cooking in the sauce. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

Add all the sauce ingredients to another pan. Boil over medium heat until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until the sauce becomes a thick glaze, turning to coat evenly, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the optional garnish. Serve warm with your choice of vegetables.

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Comments

  1. Awesome! Loving your version of the meat balls. They look so juicy and sticky. Yum! Pass me that bowl.

  2. Your meatballs look super delicious and tasty! We love meatballs and I can’t wait to give them a try.

  3. World on a plate sounds like a great project!

    Your meatballs look and sound wonderful!

  4. Scallions & mushroms? I’m IN. I have on occasion added that to my German version of these. We never roll them in starch, though – that was new to me. These look SO GOOD, and I just told Katherine this group will make me gain a gazillion pounds if we keep going w/ entries like these!

  5. Wow these meatballs look seriously yummy! I love the sirupy soy sauce! I have to try this Korean meatballs!

  6. Oh yum, yum, yum! Why do you tease me so :)

  7. Wow! I am so drooling here! Can tell they are delicious just by looking at the photos!

  8. Happy to meet you as well! Look at those perfectly shaped meatballs and that glaze makes it more appetizing, I wanna grab a bowl now.

  9. This is another bookmarked recipe! Your meatballs look extraordinary and your photos are as always so beautiful!
    I have never heard of Korean meatballs (not to mention seeing them in restaurants here).
    My mum has always used a mixture of pork and beef in meat patties, saying it gave the best results and I totally agree. (Of course when she did chicken or turkey meat patties, she didn’t mix different meats). Thanks for this terrific recipe!

  10. I assume meatballs are more home dish in Korea? I haven’t seen it on the restaurant menus. Love the luster on meatballs – just perfectly cooked and I can totally eat 2-3 bowls of rice with them. Ok I’ll eat that broccoli too (just kidding I love veggies hehee).

  11. I love, love, LOVE Korean meatballs. Bookmarked so I can give them a shot soon!

  12. These look so delicious and I can’t wait to try making them at home! Great choice for our inaugural World on a Plate! So happy to be in this group with you :-)

  13. These meatballs look really wonderful – so tasty! Great flavors – love these!

  14. I adore the sauce…I bet I can still use this for my other dishes that seem to lack in taste. love multipurpose sauces. Thanks for sharing.

  15. They look so yummy!!! Do you think I can use turkey meat and still be okay? I know beef and pork are more traditional with Korean dishes…

  16. Made them tonight! They were perfect!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe (with exact measurements!). I plan on making these for our church’s Easter Sunday service. Just one question, I am a big fan of using tofu to soften up the meat even more. If I do use tofu, how much would you recommend for this amount?

    Thank you so much. I can’t wait to make these.

  18. nice! meatballs are made all over the world but always in a bit different way, thanks for this recipe!

    Life and travelling
    Cooking

  19. Made these tonight. I only glazed half of them though. The other half went into a spicy Korean noodle soup. I normally don’t like glazes on meat, but these were fantastic! (They worked very well in the soup also)
    Thanks for putting up your recipes!

  20. I just made these and they are SO good!! Some of the best meatballs I’ve ever tasted :-)

  21. Hi, I love your blog. Thank you for all these wonderful recipes. I can see how much attention you pay to the details. :-)
    I was thinking of making these meat balls for a pot luck party. Would it still taste good at room temperature? And if I made a day in advance, would the texture get tough?

    • Hi Maho – Thank you so much for your kind words. The meatballs will be fine at room temperature. But, if you cook a day in advance, I think they will get tough. Can you just make the meatballs a day in advance and freeze them without cooking? See my mandu recipe for freezing tips. That way, you can simply leave them out to defrost and cook before taking them to a party. Not sure if this is feasible for you, but hope it helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  22. Hello again,
    I appreciate your prompt response. And thank you for addressing my concern.
    The get together is this Sunday, so I’ll probably make the meatballs the day before and cook them the next morning.
    I love korean food since lot of flavor profile overlaps with Japanese dishes. And I like how Korean dishes incorporate a lot of veggies.
    I look forward to trying many of your other recipes! Thanks once again.

  23. Is there anything you would recommend as a substitute for the egg. Only I would REALLY like to make these!

  24. Anonymous says:

    This looks really delicious. I am actually going to attempt making it for dinner. Thanks for the recipe.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I made this for dinner tonite and it was a succes. Thanks very much for this wonderful recipe. It came out very well and tasty. So easy to make too.

  26. this recipe reminded me of my grandmother’s cooking – it’s just like she used to make me except she made hers in hamburger patty shape and i made mine meatballs like yours! my kids LOVED it and there was not a meatball left and i enjoyed remembering a beloved dish from my past. thank you!!!!!!

    • That’s so good to hear this recipe is similar to your grandmother’s. Grandmothers are the best! Your kids will have fond memories of eating your meatballs when they grow up. So the tradition continues… Thanks for sharing your story, and happy cooking!

  27. Can i replace corn syrup for honey?

  28. Thank you for this recipe. I keep making them because both my son and I love them so much. Tomorrow I am making your beef with korean radish soup.

  29. My son just ate about twenty meatballs. He’s laying on the couch moaning ‘so good so good’. I think he just might like them. Thank you for this keeper!

  30. Hi Hyosun! These meatballs have the most incredible flavor. I will make a batch and store them in the freezer. Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe!

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