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Asian Sloppy Joe'sI hope you are familiar with the Asian chef, Ming Tsai.  He did a series on PBS and he had a restaurant in the Boston area, Blue Ginger.  Anyway, this is based on a recipe from one of his books.  They are so good, sloppy and just plain delicious.  I think they’re better the next day.  This mixture is delicious on a bun, wrapped in a tortilla or simply poured over rice or tossed with rice noodles.  However, you decide to eat it, it’s wonderfully sloppy and purely delicious.  When I do serve it on a bun, we prefer potato buns and a goodly sprinkling of sliced scallions.  You know how The Goddess loves her onions!

Asian Sloppy Joe'sTo get started, cook the meat, and you want lean meat, until it begins to brown.  Add the onion, pepper, garlic, ginger and continue to cook until the meat is thoroughly cooked and veggies are limp.  Asian Sloppy Joe'sStir in the sambal oelek, hoisin, ketchup and lime juice; return to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it thickens up,  about 15-20 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.  Asian Sloppy Joe'sThen pile some on a bun, top with Scallion-Ginger Sauce, or some sliced scallions and enjoy!  A quick and easy dinner that kids of all ages will love.

Asian Sloppy Joe's

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Moderately Easy
  • Print

  • 2 pounds ground pork (or half beef, half pork)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onions (about 2)
  • 1/3 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grated garlic (yes, it’s a lot, but it’s delicious)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons very finely minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1-3 tablespoons sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce (see NOTE)
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 10 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce and spicy pickles (optional), for serving
  • 6-8 potato hamburger buns
  • Thinly sliced scallions or Scallion-Ginger Sauce

In a large, deep skillet, dd the ground meats and sauté until the meat browns, stirring occasionally, to break up the meat.  Cook for 4 minutes. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic and ginger.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the sambal oelek, hoisin, ketchup and lime juice and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

To serve:  Spoon about 1/3-1/2 cup of the mixture on the bottom half of each roll. Top with shredded lettuce and pickles.  Serve.

NOTE:  Ming adds celery to his version, and it’s good, but seem to prefer it without.  If you use minced celery (about 3/4 cup), use the inner heart, as it is milder.  The mixture can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Reheat gently before serving.  You may finely mince 1 small jalapeño pepper, including some of the seeds, instead of the sambal oelek.  The flavor does differ slightly, but it’s still delicious.  If you are gluten sensitive, make certain to use a gluten-free hoisin sauce, as well as gluten-free buns.

Adapted from Ming Tsai’s Asian Sloppy Joe recipe.

Scallion-Ginger Sauce is absolutely perfect, as well as some Mango-Cabbage Slaw, Winter Slaw or Not-Quite-Classic Creamy Coleslaw on the side.  If you’re a traditionalist, you might prefer Simple, Simply Delicious Sloppy Joe’s.  Remember, these work well in slider-form, too.  Options.  It’s always good to have choices.  Enjoy!