I don’t know about you, but I go through obsessive phases with food. First it was carbonara pasta, then it was laksa noodle soup and now its Vietnamese BBQ meatballs! (I’ve now made this recipe 3 times in two weeks). This recipe is super easy to make – although it takes a good amount of ingredients that you may not have handy, unless you regularly cook Asian – and perfect for grilling on the BBQ this summer. The recipe is inspired by 177 Milk Street’s recipe, but I’d like to think I modified and adapted it enough to call it my own. You can also thank my dad for this recipe, as I don’t normally write down my recipes, but since he requested it, I couldn’t refuse haha.
I’m also including a Cold Vietnamese Noodles Salad recipe, to accompany the meatballs, so its like a 2 for 1 deal (cause who eats just meatballs on their own?). Can’t take much credit for this one, as its all in the sauce and based on a recipe by Coup de Pouce. But of course, I’ve added my own twist and ingredients. I also served this dish twice with some extra veggies, cause veggies are important. Steamed green vegetables, like broccoli, asparagus, bok choy, green beans and even cauliflower are a nice choice. I also served the dish with some soya sauce, garlic and sesame oil sautéed bok choy which were very nice, but the flavours were a bit too Chinese and didn’t exactly complement the dish as much as I thought they would.
Both recipes are quite easy to make, but the prep is a bit on the long side. You also need to focus on either cooking the meatballs or preparing the noodle salad, as you won’t be able to multi-task and do both at the same time (trust me, I tried). But, in the end, it’ll all be worth it, that you can be sure of!
Turquoise Blog’s Vietnamese BBQ Meatballs & Cold Noodle Salad Recipes
Recipe for: 2 portions + some leftovers
Prep time: ~ 35 minutes
Cook time: ~ 20 minutes
Meatballs – Ingredients:
- 1 lb of ground pork
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
- 3 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of chili flakes
- 4 tablespoons of fish sauce*
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped coriander leaves
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped mint leaves
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped green onions
- 3 tablespoons of Italian breadcrumbs (for extra moisture)
Noodle Salad Dressing – Ingredients:
- 1 lime, freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 tablespoons of fish sauce*
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of chili flakes
- 1/4 cup of water
Noodle Salad – Ingredients:
- half a package of rice noodles (thickness of your choice, I prefer the thinner ones)
- 2-3 red Thai chili peppers, finely chopped*
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped coriander leaves
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped mint leaves
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped green onions
- half a cucumber, very thinly sliced
- 5-6 radishes, very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup of shredded iceberg lettuce
- 1/2 cup of bean sprouts
How to make my Vietnamese BBQ Meatballs & Cold Vietnamese Noodle Salad Recipes:
- Start by prepping all your ingredients, for both the meatballs and the noodle salad.
- [Meatballs] In a large bowl, mix together the ground pork, the minced garlic, the sugar, the chili flakes, the fish sauce, the vegetable oil and the egg. Add the coriander, mint and green onions and mix again. Add the breadcrumbs and mix one last time thoroughly.
- [Meatballs] (I like to put 2 ziploc bags on my hands to do this) Start forming meatballs with the meat mixture, about the size of ping pong balls. Set aside in a pan/plate, in the fridge.
- [Salad dressing] Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, mix and reserve in the fridge.
- [Noodle salad] Put some water to boil to cook the noodles. Once the water comes to a boil, add the noodles in and cook as per the instructions on the package. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water (about 2 cups). Reserve. Rinse with lukewarm water (always about 2 cups) once every 5 minutes or so, to make sure the noodles don’t start to stick together.
- [Meatballs] Start your BBQ – I like to start mine with all 3 burners on high heat and once the BBQ heats up, reduce all 3 burners to about medium heat to hit 400 degrees.
- [Noodle salad] While your BBQ is heating up, add your cooked rice noodles, all other noodle salad ingredients and the salad dressing to a large bowl and mix well. Reserve.
- [Meatballs] Once your BBQ hits about 600 degrees, lower your burners to about medium heat (so that it goes back down to 400 degrees) and you are ready to start grilling right away! Make sure to spray some vegetable oil on your grills so that don’t meatballs don’t stick. Monitor your meatballs closely as they cook quite fast. Make sure to turn them over a few times, so that all sides are nice and grilled. Cook time should be about 10 minutes.
- Place two portions of noodle salad in bowls and add some meatballs to them et voilà! Your Vietnamese BBQ Meatballs & Cold Vietnamese Noodle Salad are ready to be enjoyed!
*Fish sauce is available at most big name grocery stores (Maxi, Metro, IGA, Provigo, etc.), as should red Thai chili peppers. The fish sauce cannot/should not be replaced by anything else, but the red Thai chili peppers can either be omitted (if you don’t like spicy food) or replaced by more chili flakes.
**All photos are my own