Da Lat Spiced Meatballs
Makes 18-20 12, Serves 4.
This recipe is inspired by the traditional Vietnamese dish Bun Cha: pork meatballs sitting atop a salad of julienned vegetables and rice vermicelli noodles, served with lots of fresh cilantro and Thai basil and a drizzle of nuoc cham sauce. Here, our
Da Lat Spice adds complex Vietnamese flavors to the mild pork meatballs.
The meatballs can be pan fried or grilled over coals. They’re great for picnics or served as a party appetizer!
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground white or black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon (heaping) Da Lat Spice, more to taste
2 tablespoons minced cilantro, stems included
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Combine all the ingredients, except the vegetable oil, in a large mixing bowl. Put the bowl into the fridge to let the mixture firm up and the flavors meld, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Form the mixture into balls (about 1½ inches in diameter) and flatten each one slightly. Set a skillet over medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil. When the oil shimmers, add half of the meatballs. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip the meatballs over, cover the skillet, and cook until the center is done and the outside is lightly caramelized, another 2-3 minutes. Wipe out the skillet and repeat the cooking process with the remaining half of the meatballs.
For cooking on a grill, make the balls slightly larger. Brush the grate with oil, cook the meatballs for 2-3 minutes on each side.
To make nouc cham sauce Whisk 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons fish sauce with 1 minced garlic clove, 1 minced fresh red chile, the juice of 1 lemon, and a ¼ cup water (or more, to taste).