When you are on a diet, you occasionally need to spice up a meal with something a little more exotic. Fortunately, we have found that the folks at Milk Street have expanded their repertoire and provide a number of interesting – and “tasty” – recipes with an Asian flavor.
To some, an Asian flavor simply means some soy sauce, but I prefer the more pungent fish sauce. The aroma can be a little off-putting, but the Asian flavor profile is undeniable.
In a recent Milk Street magazine, I recently came across a very easy recipe for Vietnamese Meatball Lettuce Wraps. It simply consists of a pound of ground pork that is shaped into about 20 meatballs mixed with cilantro, scallions and a few spices. The fish sauce makes all the difference.
This is a very easy recipe to prepare and is both colorful and tasty.
Vietnamese Meatball Lettuce Wraps
For the Meatballs
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 6 scallions white and light green parts only, minced
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 or 2 serrano peppers seeded and sliced
- 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 Tablespoons sugar Suggest you use less
- 2 teaspoons olive oil neutral oil such as sunflower
For the Wraps
- 2 medium carrots peeled and shredded
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- cilantro sprigs
- scallion sliced
For the Meatballs
- In a medium bowl, vigorously mix 1 pound of ground pork, 1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro and scallions, 3 tablespoons of water, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 2 teaspoons of white sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
- Form into 20 balls and place on a place coated with oil.
- Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
For the Sauce & Plating
- Stir together 1/2 cup of lime juice, 3 tablespoons of fish sauce, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 or 2 serrano peppers.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of neutral oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the meatballs and cook until the bottoms are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn over and cook until browned all over, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
- Toss 2 medium carrots with 2 tablespoons of the lime juice sauce. Served with the carrots, cilantro sprigs, sliced scallion greens and lettuce leaves for wrapping. Spoon the remaining sauce onto the wraps.
Some other of our favorite “Asian” dishes are: