Post Pok Pok lunch, I have been craving the delicious rich, tangy, sweet and salty flavors of Asian cuisine. While I still think that nothing can compare to the dishes coming out of that seasoned kitchen, these meatballs are darn delicious. Juicy, zesty lemon tang, tiny bit of heat from the green onions, cilantro, garlic and mystery depth from the fish sauce. They are a perfectly simple fix that can be made from a small, home kitchen, with a few basic Asian ingredients that can be picked up at even the most mediocre of grocery stores. And lettuce wraps are also great dinners with a lot of people. The cooks just do the prep and then everyone can assemble their own plate, additional bonus, picky people can just take care of themselves and serve up sad lettuce cups without any vegetables or green things. As a matter of fact, we did serve this dish to about twenty people, hence why the picture below looks so large, it was. Your bowl of meatball fixings will be about a fourth of the size. But the explosion of juicy flavor will be just as large.
Roasted Pork Meatball Lettuce Wraps adapted from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as an appetizer
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
8 green onions, minced
5 cloves of garlic
Zest of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 Asian fish sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 bunch of radishes, trimmed and sliced into matchstick slivers
1 cup English cucumber, sliced into matchstick slivers
2 cups shredded carrots
1/4 cup rice vinegar
Iceberg or butter lettuce leaves
Sliced green onions
Nuoc Cham Sauce for serving (See Below)
1. In a large bowl, combine the pork, green onions, garlic, lemon zest, cilantro, sugar fish sauce, and salt. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate so the flavors have time to marry, at least 3 hours and up to 24.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit. Oil a baking sheet.
3. Stir the cornstarch into the meat mixture. Form the meat into twenty-four 1 1/2-inch meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet.
4. Cook the meatballs until browned and cooked through, turning once with a spatula, 12 to 15 minutes.
5. While the meatballs are cooking mix the radishes, cucumber and carrots in a bowl with the rice vinegar.
To serve: Top the lettuce leaves with two or three meatballs, some of the carrot mixture, a sprinkle of cilantro leaves, green onions and Nuoc Cham Sauce.
Nuoc Cham Sauce adapted from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen1/3 cup sugar
1 cup very warm tap water
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1. In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the water. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
2. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Refrigerate until ready to use.
The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.