Meatloaf is a controversial staple: either you love it, or you don’t. Having been raised on Indian food, I’d never come across it at my own dinner table. But I had often heard about it. Meatloaf was that uninspired dish, met with collective sighs and sudden changes of plans: unscheduled soccer practices, important exams, trips to the museum for extra credit. Children feared its dry texture and lack of seasoning. Perhaps this is because, in spite of its simplicity, meatloaf is often times poorly executed. The American tendency to under-season and overcook meat has sullied its reputation. My first experience with meatloaf wasn’t until two years ago, at a restaurant in the city. And I was stunned. How could something so flavorful and moist carry such a stigma? It was like eating a juicy, over-sized hamburger without the bun. Recently, I decided to come up with my own take on meatloaf, something that would be more palatable to people who are used to bold, global flavors. The results were a success. This Asian interpretation uses ground pork in lieu of beef, and is flavored with ginger, garlic, and soy. A standard ketchup topping is intensified with a little hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and soy. Wasabi mashed potatoes are an Asian interpretation of a classic dish.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 inch ginger (grated or minced)
3 green onions (chopped)
handful cilantro (stems included) (chopped)
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon lite brown sugar
1 lb ground pork
1 cup plain breadcrumbs (about two slices)
1 egg (optional) or 1/4 cup water (depending on how loose or firm meat is)
Ingredients for Sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/8 cup hoisin sauce
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Ingredients for Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
1lb red potatoes
2 cloves garlic (smashed)
1/2 cup milk or cream
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons wasabi paste
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. For meatloaf, combine garlic, ginger, green onions, cilantro, red chili flakes, soy sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar in a large, non-reactive mixing bowl. Whisk together until sugar has dissolved and all ingredients are well mixed. Fold in ground pork, breadcrumbs, and optional egg or water, and mix with hands. Don’t over-mix, as this can toughen the meat. Just fold everything together until all ingredients are incorporated. Line a large baking sheet or roasting pan with foil, and grease. Then, mold meat into a 5-6 inch loaf and place into pan.
To prepare sauce, simply combine ketchup, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce, and spread evenly over meatloaf. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for about 35-40 minutes until meat has cooked through.
For potatoes, wash and scrub potatoes and cut into equal sized chunks. Smash two cloves of garlic with blunt side of knife. Bring water to boil in a large pot and season LIBERALLY with salt. Then, toss in garlic cloves and potatoes and boil until potatoes are fork tender. About 25 minutes. Drain potatoes in colander, return to pot, and begin adding in warm milk and pads of butter. Smash with a potato masher, adding 1 teaspoon of wasabi paste, until mixture is moist and creamy. Check for seasoning before serving. Enjoy!