Sunday, June 19, 2016

Grilled Lemongrass Meatballs (makes about 65)

Making meatballs can be a bit of tedious work especially in large quantities but the final product is tasty and versatile that I don't mind making them. You can make these meatballs using pork, chicken, or turkey. These meatballs can be eaten bánh mì style (Vietnamese sandwich). I also like these with steamed rice or rice noodles (known as bún in Vietnamese) with lots of fresh herbs, vegetables and Vietnamese dipping sauce (known as nước chấm).

My husband, a couple of friends and I drove up North (in New Hampshire) to our friend's lake house. I formed the meatballs the night before and let them sit overnight in my refrigerator in a container. Once at the lake house I grilled them and we ate them with rice noodles and green papaya salad.

Grilled Lemongrass Meatballs (makes about 65)

Ingredients:

4 lbs ground pork
1 large lemongrass, finely minced or about 1/2 cup of ground fluff using a coffee grinder
1 cup chopped scallions
6-8 garlic cloves, smashed and finely minced (depending on your taste) or finely grated
1 thumbnail-size ginger, finely grated
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chicken powder

Method:

1) Sprinkle all ingredients on the ground pork.
2) Gently mix all ingredients until well blended. Try to avoid overworking the mixture.
3) Oil your hands and form each meatball to approximately 1 1/4 inch diameter. Roll each one with your palms.
4) Slide these on a skewer and grill until done. Turn every 3-4 minutes to prevent burning. The timing will be based on the amount of heat from your grill. You can test the done-ness by tasting one!

*Try not to use all lean ground pork. Having a little fat will help keep these balls moist when you grill them.
*Overworking or over-kneading the meatballs tends to make them hard.
*You can use an ice cream scooper to form consistent sized balls.
*You can fry one meatball on a skillet and get an idea for the taste and then adjust the salt or fish sauce according to your taste. I tend not to make my food too salty. If you do not have a grill you can fry these with a little oil. Frying will keep these meatballs moist. The cooking time for frying will depend on your skillet/pan/pot and heat source.
*You can also add more lemongrass if you are interested for a stronger flavor. I used a very large lemongrass stalk in this recipe.
*I prefer to use my microplane to grate my ginger. I have one that I bought from a hardware store.  I used it to grate many things such as garlic, citrus fruit zest and nutmeg to name a few.

My husband on a stand up paddle board (at the lake) at dusk.

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