I experimented one night with a different approach to meatballs, just to mix it up–and because I had fresh Thai Basil on hand. I served this to my family over Thai noodles; you can serve it as a noodle soup with meatballs, if you prefer. These also reheat well and are a great sandwich filling; make a big batch and freeze half if you want to have some on hand later.
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 30-45 minutes, depending upon preparation
- 1lb meatloaf mix with salt & pepper (they sell a ground beef/pork mixture at my local market–if you don’t have that option, try buying the beef and pork separately and mix at home)
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs; adjust for proper texture
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 egg (depending upon size; if you are using small eggs, just be sure that you have enough moisture to bind the meat mixture)
- 2 tbs finely chopped Thai Basil (if you have a mortar & pestle, use this to make a fresh paste–it infuses the flavor better!)
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbs Sriracha paste (use less if you prefer less spicy meatballs)
- 3 cloves minced garlic (or garlic paste if you are pressed for time)
- 1 tbs lemongrass paste (I use the lemongrass puree from a tube–I find it mixes better and still gives a nice zing)
- 1 bunch scallions, finely diced (white and light green parts)
- 2 tbs all purpose flour (enough to lightly coat meatballs)
- 1 tbs minced ginger (if you don’t have fresh ginger, use 1 1/2 TSP ginger paste)
- 2 tbs peanut oil (you can substitute vegetable oil if you don’t have peanut oil on hand)
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts (good whether you are plating, or making soup)
- 1/4 cup water
Based on preference:
- Cook one package Thai noodles; I usually add 3 tbs Satay Sauce to the noodles to boost flavor, once drained. Note that Thai noodles cook quickly — make sure that you keep an eye on them so that they don’t overcook!
- If you prefer to use the meatballs in soup, cook meatballs, heat up 3-4 cups beef stock, season stock with 1/3 cup fish sauce, 1 tbs garlic paste, salt, pepper and Sriracha (to taste). Allow the stock to simmer for 15 minutes, or so, before adding meatballs and noodles; adjust seasoning as needed. Add Thai rice noodles and meatballs to stock — cook until noodles are al dente
- Mix spices, breadcrumbs and egg in a medium bowl
- Add meatloaf mix and gently incorporate meat into the spice/egg/breadcrumb mixture (try not to overdo–over mixing can make the meatballs tough)
- Once you have a texture where the meat mixture can easily be formed into balls, but are still moist, use 1-1 1/2 oz of the mixture to make each meatball. Gently roll between your palms to make round meatballs–make sure that the size is uniform so that they cook evenly!
- Place flour in a shallow dish; gently roll meatballs in the flour until lightly coated
- You can opt to start these in an oven-safe skillet: Place oil in the pan and let heat until a few drops of water sizzle when added to the pot. Move the meatballs to ensure that they are uniformly browned. Drain on paper towels.
- Mix fish sauce, garlic paste, lemongrass paste and water into a heavy bottomed skillet; over medium heat, stir until sauce begins to thicken
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees; if you plan to serve meatballs over noodles, put water to boil in 5qt pot.
- If you prefer to skip the oil, simply place the shaped meatballs on a baking tray lined with parchment paper (omit the flour dredge)
- Depending upon your presentation preferences, drop noodles into boiling water when you put meatballs into the oven. When al dente, drain and mix satay paste into noodles
- Once noodles are ready, plate family style with meatballs over noodles; if you prefer using them in a soup, follow the directions above. Garnish dish with a sprinkle of coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts and minced Thai basil