Sticky Vietnamese pork meatballs with rice noodles and pickled vegetables

Sticky Vietnamese pork meatballs with rice noodles and pickled vegetables
  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon Hands-on time 1 hour

Lemongrass, garlic and lime all contribute to the powerful flavour of this Vietnamese meatball recipe.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
314kcals
Fat
12.7g (4.6g saturated)
Protein
24.2g
Carbohydrates
23.3g (22.2g sugars)
Fibre
4.3g
Salt
4.9g
Calories
314kcals
Fat
12.7g (4.6g saturated)
Protein
24.2g
Carbohydrates
23.3g (22.2g sugars)
Fibre
4.3g
Salt
4.9g

See Wine Match

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Large thumb-size piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, finely chopped
  • Zest 1 lime
  • 500g British free-range pork mince
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
  • ½-1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the quick-pickled vegetables

  • 70ml fish sauce
  • 100ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • Juice 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 400g carrots, julienned
  • 1 daikon or 300g radishes, julienned or finely sliced

For the honey glaze

  • 25g clear honey
  • 20ml soy sauce (we like Kikkoman)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • Zest 1 lime

To serve (optional)

  • Cooked vermicelli noodles, little gem lettuce leaves, mixed fresh herbs, chopped peanuts, sliced red chillies and lime wedges

Method

  1. For the quick-pickled veg, put the fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, lime juice, water and sea salt in a bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Transfer half to a mixing bowl (reserve the rest), then add the veg. Toss to coat, then set aside (toss now and then).
  2. For the meatballs, combine all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl and mix well. Roll into 20-24 walnut- size meatballs, then set aside.
  3. For the glaze, mix the honey, soy, fish sauce and lime zest in a bowl.
  4. Heat the oven to its lowest setting. Heat a large frying pan with a glug of oil, then fry the meatballs over a medium heat, turning occasionally, for around 8 minutes until cooked. Put the meatballs in a small roasting tin, drizzle over the glaze, toss to coat, then put in the oven, covered loosely in foil, to keep warm.
  5. Drain and squeeze dry the pickled veg, then put in a bowl. Divide the noodles among serving bowls, pour over the reserved pickling liquid, then spoon in the meatballs and a drizzle of glaze from the tin. Top with a tangle of pickled veg, then scatter over generous amounts of herbs, peanuts and chillies. Serve with lime wedges, if you like.

delicious. tips

  1. Make the meatballs up to 48 hours in advance, without frying, then chill, covered. Or freeze on trays, then bag up and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost before continuing.
    Make the pickling liquid up to 48 hours in advance and keep chilled. The pickled veg can be made 4-6 hours ahead; keep in an airtight container. Make the glaze up to 24 hours ahead; keep covered somewhere cool.

  2. This recipe is a version of the Vietnamese dish bun cha, a bowl of noodles served at room temperature with meat or tofu and veg. It’s not tricky, though it takes a bit of prep. If you wish, you can leave out any of the elements you don’t fancy

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