Meatballs – they are not the most challenging thing to produce. Start with great meat, add some decent aromatics and be sure to serve them in a tasty sauce. If you do that, everything is bound to turn out fine. Fine, that is, if you don’t ask your daughter to choose between Thai and Italian. I made that mistake and she punished me for it. When I mooted the meatballs idea, she immediately said “Mmmmmmm, in a nice tomato sauce”. As I have already posted Italian style meatballs, my suggestion that I needed something new for the blog didn’t go down well. But she didn’t leave it there.
She rang me leaving messages saying “Tomato sauce….” and “Mmmmm, Italian…” She texted me, she even WhatsApped (is there such a word) me. But, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. As much as she tried to persuade me, the deeper I dung in. It was Thai Meatballs or no meatballs at all. But, they had to be excellent or she would never let me hear the end of it.
Ingredients to serve six people
- 1 kilo of rare breed, free range pork mince, with a nice balance of about 20% fat.
- 4 shallots
- 3 red chilis
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 3cm of ginger root
- 2 stalks of lemongrass
- A handful of coriander
- 1 tablespoon of soy
- 1 Tablespoon of mirin
- 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 6 heads of pak choi
- 500 grammes of buckwheat noodles (or any of your choice)
- 1 litre of best quality pork stock.
Remove the outer skin and chop the lemongrass. Skin the shallots and roughly chop them. Chop the chilis and remove the seeds if you don’t want them too hot. Put the shallots, chilis, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander, soy, mirin, fish sauce and pepper in a blender.
Blitz this to a paste. Add it to a large bowl with the meat. Mix it by hand. This will take a bit of time but it is worth the effort to get the flavours well combined. Make the mixture into golf ball sized shapes. Place them on trays and leave them in the fridge to settle for about half an hour.
Cook these for about 25 minutes on a rack in a 200ºC (400º F) fan oven. They will come out a beautiful golden brown colour with a nice outer crust. Keep them warm in a 60ºC oven. Cook the noodles. Warm the stock. Chop the end off the pak choi. Add the noodles to the stock. Add the pak choi and let it wilt. Spoon the stock mixture into a bowl. Serve two or three meatballs on top.
This is a really easy to prepare, tasty dish. If you have five Italian meatball fans coming to dinner, they will not be disappointed. I know my Italian meatball fan is a convert now. Not that she will admit it to me.