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Sunday Supper & More

Vietnamese grilled pork meatballs with ginger-lime sauce

(Jonathan Levitt for the Boston Globe)
August 25, 2010

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Serves 4, with leftovers

SAUCE

1 piece (4 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of 3 limes
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

1. In a shallow bowl, combine the ginger, lime juice, and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

2. Add the fish sauce. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes before serving.

PORK

2 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
Black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons peanut or canola oil
2 heads bibb lettuce, separated into leaves
3 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
8 sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves only

1. Soak 16 wood skewers in water for 30 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, combine pork, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or for as long as overnight.

3. Light a charcoal grill or turn a gas grill to medium-high. Spoon 2 teaspoons of oil onto a platter. Use the oil to coat your hands. Scoop up a tablespoon of the pork mixture and shape it into a tight ball. Set on the oiled plate. Repeat with the remaining pork. You should have 50 meatballs.

4. Slide the balls onto skewers, placing 3 on each. When the coals are ready, place skewers on the grill and cook for 10 minutes without moving. Turn and continue cooking 10 more minutes or until the meat is cooked through.

5. Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish, setting aside 6 skewers for the noodle dish.

6. Wrap the meatballs in the lettuce leaves, top with carrots and cilantro leaves. Serve with the ginger-lime sauce.

Jonathan Levitt