Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Meatballs are a savory combination of pork, herbs and Asian spices browned until crispy then simmered in a delicious sauce until sticky and caramelized.
The meatballs can be served on a bed of steamy white rice or noodles alongside pickled vegetables for a delicious meal with familiar flavors reminiscent of Thailand, Vietnam and China. They would also make a great party appetizer served on skewers.
Sweet And Spicy Asian Pork Meatballs
Makes about a dozen golf ball size meatballs, adjust the recipe accordingly.
Sweet and Spicy Sauce*
- 1 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
- 5 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
- 1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
- 1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce
- 1 tsp.sesame oil
- 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp., more or less, water
Heat the peanut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Remove from the heat and keep warm. If the sauce becomes too thick, thin with a little water.
*If you are planning to serve the meatballs as a party appetizer, I would suggest doubling the recipe for the sauce so that you will have extra to use as a dipping sauce.
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 4 – 5 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced, about 1/2 cup
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger (about a 1 inch knob of ginger root)
- 2 – 3 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
- 1 tsp. fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. peanut oil
Mix all the ingredients except peanut oil together. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld and the meat to firm up. At this point, you can cook a small piece of the mixture to taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Form the mixture into golfball size meatballs. Heat the peanut oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat and add the meatballs. Cook, turning gently, on all sides until cooked through. (The meatballs can also be quickly browned and finished in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes). Add the sauce to the meatballs and simmer for a few minutes, turning until well coated.
I served the meatballs, their crispy exterior coated in the sticky sweet and spicy sauce, on top of a bed of steaming white rice. I also made a quick pickled broccoli slaw which was inspired by the pickled carrot and daikon radish that are used in a Banh Mi sandwich. The pickled vegetables soften slightly but retain their crunchy texture and color that goes great with the Asian pork meatballs.
To make it: Whisk 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar, 2 tsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. of salt in a small pan on medium heat until dissolved then cool. It is mildly acidic but you can add a tablespoon or two of water to make it milder to suit your taste. Place a package of broccoli slaw in a bowl, add the vinegar mixture, toss and let sit for at least 10 minutes before using.
Whether you decide to prepare the Asian inspired sweet and spicy meatballs to your family as part of a meal or as an appetizer when entertaining friends, I hope enjoy them as much as my husband and I did.