Sticky Vietnamese pork meatballs with rice noodles and pickled vegetables
- January 2016
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 1 hour
Lemongrass, garlic and lime all contribute to the powerful flavour of this Vietnamese pork meatball recipe.
- Dairy-free recipes
- 12.7g (4.6g saturated)
- 23.3g (22.2g sugars)
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
- 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).
- 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.
- For the glaze, mix the honey, soy, fish sauce and lime zest in a bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
￼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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