Vietnamese Pork Meatballs with Sweet-Tangy Garlic Dipping Sauce

Meatballs are perfect party fare. Just spear them with a fancy toothpick and you have protein-packed finger food. And one thing I love about meatballs is how versatile they can be, just by altering some of the flavorings you put in them. Whether you go for oregano-and-fennel seed fragranced Italian meatballs, spicy chipotle albóndigas, or these garlicky Sriracha-spiked pork meatballs with loads of herbs, you (and your guests) are sure to be happy, and well fed. I’m particularly fond of these little gems, because they are slightly unexpected. They are also beautifully balances with flavors of sweet, salty, tangy, spicy, and umami. Set them out with the tangy dipping sauce or if you want to get really fancy, turn them into meatball bánh mì sliders! Just stuff these flavorful meatballs into hunks of baguette and top with pickled carrots, cucumbers, sliced jalapeños. If you are feeling extra naughty, add some thin slices of pork pate. You can make bigger meatballs too if you like, or double this recipe to feed a crowd.
Photo by Sue R.
Adapted from ww2.kqed.org

PREP TIME

15

minutes

TOTAL TIME

25

minutes

SERVINGS

16

meatballs

PREP TIME

15

minutes

TOTAL TIME

25

minutes

SERVINGS

16

servings

Adapted from ww2.kqed.org

Ingredients

  • DIPPING SAUCE:

  • 1/3

    cup water

  • 1 1/2

    tablespoons sugar

  • 2

    teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 2

    tablespoons fish sauce

  • Juice from 1/2 lime

  • 1/2

    fresh red Thai chile, seeded and finely chopped

  • 1

    small garlic clove, finely chopped

  • Scant 1/4 cup carrot, very finely julienned or shredded

  • MEATBALLS:

  • 1/4

    cup fresh breadcrumbs

  • 1

    egg yolk

  • 1

    green onion, trimmed and minced

  • 1

    garlic clove, minced

  • 1

    tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1

    tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped

  • 1

    tablespoon mint, finely chopped

  • 1

    tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped

  • 1

    tablespoon Sriracha (optional)

  • 1

    teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2/3

    pounds ground pork

  • Canola oil

Directions

DIPPING SAUCE: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, sugar, and rice vinegar. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, then stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, chile, garlic, and carrot. Refrigerate until ready to use, at least 30 minutes, and up to 3 days. MEATBALLS: Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a bowl, stir together all of the ingredients except the pork and oil. Add the pork and gently stir to combine. Using tablespoon measure, roll the mixture into meatballs. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with about 2 tablespoons canola oil and place the meatballs in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly. Bake until cooked through and browned, about 10 minutes. Serve right away with the dipping sauce and enjoy!

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