Thai Style Meatballs – Under Pressure to Perform…

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.

That’s a lot of aromatics. That should do it on the flavour front.

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.

The greenish paste turns the meatballs an off grey colour. Don’t be put off.

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.

There were no complaints from the daughter.

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.



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  • Phwoarrr… I shall be paying a visit to the Freckles Farm shop down the road, where they sell Hereford pork, biodynamic and free range, from cosseted pigs. Then, I shall impress the pants off the Husband (an incidental bonus) with this dish. It will be too much to hope for leftovers, but I might sneak some of the meatballs away into the freezer in advance, for one of those days when things get away from me and dinner is whatever’s in the fridge..

      • Thank you, Conor, glad to be back in from the cold, er, hot, oh, never mind…

  • Although I’m Italian and there’s nothing better than my wife’s recipe, these, Conor, look and no doubt, taste wonderful.

  • I think meatballs are under-appreciated – I adore them all, and particularly like when a recipe does not insist in making me fry them – that smoke, the oil, the splattering on the stove… no, thanks.

    I am saving this one for my future adventures…

  • They definitely look like superior meatballs!

  • Great ingredients. I’d like to try this with ground chicken also.

  • I’m glad the Thai won out for you! I just made us some Thai noodle soup the other day with some baby bok choy. I think I would have preferred your meatballs in it than the dredges of the Thanksgiving turkey I defrosted. And you changed your profile photo! I like it!

  • I can imagine you have some fun conversations with your daughter. Sounds like you have a fab relationship with her. I like the idea of doing the meatballs in the fan oven. Sounds a lot less messy than pan searing them.

  • I like your new profile pic — very handsome! 🙂

    The meatballs look fantastic. I’m also thinking this mince might do well seeing the inside of a wonton wrapper or even a Thai meatloaf or burger. The best recipes get the wheels turning and you are a master!

  • Great meatballs, Conor. Meatballs are often dry, but your meat specification and cooking method will ensure succulent ones. I like the Thai flavors.

  • Wow! Methinks this recipe will travel straight to my all-time ten favourites pile and I simply could not think of a more perfect meal in total l! Do have Thai meatball recipes but yours, methinks, just sings with flavour!! Just love you being ‘heavy’ on ginger and lemongrass and like you oven-baking and not frying. Yippee! Oh yes, that new profile pic did kind’;of stop me in my tracks also – nice, kind Sir 🙂 !

  • My hubby has been haranguing me to make meat balls, but a childhood experience meant they were never my thing. I think I’m going to like these boys.

  • Well, good wine supposedly ‘improves’ with age . . . . . somehow you seem to have ‘improved’ more than most . . . sugar, I happen to have been wed to two guys who ‘replaced’ what they unequivocally somehow ‘forgot to tend to ‘ with a handsome beards , , , , no complaints from my side 🙂 ! No complaints now, Milord!!!!

  • Well done! I liked it that you’re not trying to coverup the flavors with a sticky sauce. They look clean and full of flavor. We have “Meatball Wednesday” here at least twice a month (It’s Sweden) and these will be served this next Wednesday. Thanks…

  • Conor, I can’t wait to try your flavorful Thai meatball dish. I make two different Thai chicken meatballs but your version sounds great using pork.

  • There’s a Two Fat Ladies episode that has a beef tenderloin with Thai spices and coconut milk over it (Beef a la Will Moreland). I’ll bet that treatment would totally work with your mince as a meatloaf.

  • I’ve got to try this recipe!

  • Wow, made these but served them with spiced green lentils. A real hit.

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