Vietnamese meatballs with hot chili slaw

vietnamese meatballs

Don’t let this photo fool you. These Vietnamese meatballs may look innocent, but they will test your will power I tell you.

Could I eat just one? Not a chance. Did I exercise portion control? With greater difficulty than I can put into words. These babies are an explosion of taste with a slight hint of sweetness, a subtle taste of sassy, and an overall depth of flavor like no other meatball that I have ever eaten.

I could have devoured the entire pan and would have Hunky Hubby to thank for it. After all, these little delights were brought to our family table thanks to and Hubby’s inquisitive mind. Yes, the source of his inspiration to try Vietnamese meatballs came from an unidentifiable sandwich in the game titled, “Sandwich Time!”  The photo was labeled Banh Mi and a few Google’s later the recipe and ethnic origin were discovered.  And our household learned something new.

The original recipe is titled Pork Meatball Banh Mi from the January 2010 edition of Bon Appetit, which, of course, I put my own spin on. Banh Mi refers to a Vietnamese sandwich and the original recipe was a sandwich presentation consisting of four meatballs arranged in a 10-inch-long baquette topped with hot chili mayo and pickled vegetables.  Pickled vegetables are sodium bombs and given the sodium content in fish sauce and sriracha there wasn’t a need to add any more. Being sodium conscious,  together with my hankering for a wrap and my love of slaw, lead to this creation.

vietnamese meatballs wrap

Hot chili sauce like sriracha packs quite a punch and a tablespoon in the slaw will definitely send your taste buds blazing. If you are adverse to spicy foods, omit the sriracha in the slaw or simply adjust the quantity to your liking.

Football season is around the corner and in true foodie fashion I’m going to modify the menu for our next party. These meatballs are so flavorful they can stand on their own served as an appetizer with the hot chili mayo as an optional dipping sauce. Meanwhile, it’s time to enjoy the last bit of summer.

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!

Vietnamese meatballs with hot chili slaw
Serves: 4
  • ⅓ Cup reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon sriracha (hot chili sauce)
  • ½ head finely grated cabbage
  • 1 finely grated carrot
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (roughly 3-4 cloves)
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sriracha (hot chili sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  1. Stir all slaw ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill.
  2. Gently mix all ingredients for the Vietnamese meatballs in a large bowl.
  3. Moisten hands and roll meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs using a scant tablespoon to measure.
  4. Place on rimmed baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. DO AHEAD: the meatballs can be made 1 day in advance. Cover and chill.
  5. Preheat oven to 300F.
  6. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the meatballs in batches, half at a time. Turn the meatballs often to avoid browning too quickly. When browned on all sides, transfer meatballs to another baking sheet and place in oven.
  7. To serve, spoon a quarter of the slaw into a tortilla and top with 4 meatballs. Repeat with remaining tortillas and garnish with sriracha to taste.


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