Thursday, August 7, 2008

Vietnamese Grilled Meatballs with Rice Vermicelli (Bun Nem Nuong)

Grilled Meatballs with Rice Vermicelli (Bun Nem Nuong)
(Yields 2-3 Entrée Portions)

Meatball marinade:

  • 1 lb minced pork
  • Fish sauce & salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 Thai Bird’s Eye chilies, seeded & minced
  • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • A touch of freshly ground cinnamon
Additional ingredients & supplies:
  • Soaked bamboo skewers
  • Cooked rice vermicelli
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fried scallion
  • Other fresh herbs/vegies
  • Vietnamese dipping sauce

I love eating meatballs and fish cakes that are made from scratch but really hate the intensive labor that comes along with it. For juicy, bouncy meatballs, you have to knead minced meat with seasonings until the fat and muscle tissues have melded well and formed a gelatinous mixture. This takes some work (I hate to exercise) and fondness of running your fingers through raw, minced meat. My sister, KC, usually wears latex surgical gloves to knead her meat, but I didn’t have any today and had to do it with my bare hand! After massaging the meat for a good 15 minutes, cover and chill for at least a couple hours or, if possible, overnight.

For tonight’s dinner, I skewered them and popped them in the oven at 500F for a grilled effect. I wish I had a charcoal grill! These balls were served with some thin rice vermicelli, fried scallion, cilantro, and dipping sauce.

Wandering Chopsticks stuffed them into salad rolls, which is a yummy low-carb alternative!


Kate / Kajal said...

ooh this looks so yummy !

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

The meatballs are so round! (That merits an exclamation because my meatballs are always deformed.) I love the "blush" of char they have.

Mith said...

My favourite dish! Here in London, it's so hard to find authentic Bun nem nuong. And as a boy, I'm not that good with cooking elaborate dishes either. Have to make do with drooling at your food photos for the time being.
Great blog, btw ;-)

canarygirl said...

OMGawd those look incredibly delicious! These are going on the short list! I think I'll give them a go this week. YUM!

Tia said...

Kate - Thanks! :)

Eatingclub - LOL, thanks! I was a child laborer in my past life, forced to perfect the art of wrapping spring rolls and rolling meatballs. ;)

Mith - Actually, this dish is quite simple! The only work is massaging the meat! ;)

Canarygirl - Thanks! Let me know how it turns out. :)

PTrann's Kitchen said...

Yummy , this is my favorite . Thanks for sharing your recipe, so I will try it soon

Anonymous said...


How do you fry the scallion ?

Anonymous said...

Hi, your recipe looks really good, and I hope to try it soon. You say to include fish sauce 'to taste' but how much is that exactly for 1 lb of mince? I don't want to taste the raw mince to gauge how much fish sauce ought to be added...thank you.