When my husband and I lived in San Diego, we ate Vietnamese food pretty much every week. There was a popular Pho restaurant we would frequent for their delicious (and cheap!) Pho noodle soups, vermicelli noodles and Summer rolls. When I ordered vermicelli noodles I always had it with grilled pork or pork meatballs. The meatballs were so flavorful and juicy, made with fish sauce, sugar and mint, a popular Vietnamese combination. Here is my version of Vietnamese meatballs paired with a sweet and tangy dipping sauce.
If you don’t have fish sauce, you can use soy sauce instead. When the meatballs are done cooking, I like to add an extra squeeze of lime juice on top. Serve these meatballs with dipping sauce, steamed rice and fresh vegetables.
Baked Vietnamese Pork and Mint Meatballs
1 pound ground pork
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
2-3 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons agave nectar or sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Vietnamese Meatballs Dipping Sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar or sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 of a lime, juiced
2 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a sheet pan with oil and set aside.
In a bowl, mix all ingredients together thoroughly with your hands. Roll into about 30-40 meatballs and place on pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes or until cooked through and not pink in the middle. While cooking, prepare the dipping sauce. In a mortar and pestle, crush garlic and red pepper into a paste. Place paste in a small serving bowl and stir together with agave nectar, fish sauce, lime juice and water. Serve meatballs with the Vietnamese dipping sauce, steamed rice and vegetables.
Total Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: makes 30-40 meatballs