Vietnamese Meatballs (Xiu Mai) - comfort food meatballs, must-try! | recipe from runawayrice.com
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Vietnamese Meatballs (Xiu Mai)

Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 275 kcal
Author: Trang

This recipe for Vietnamese Meatballs (Xiu Mai) is a pure comfort-food dish. The tender pork meatballs are flavorful and have delicious crunch from the jicama. Cooked in a homemade tomato sauce, these hearty meatballs are absolutely mouth-watering. Super-versatile, the meatballs can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a small meal or appetizer. Serve the Vietnamese Meatballs with lots of crusty bread for dipping in the zesty sauce. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 4 oz or 1 cup jicama finely diced
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Sauce

  • 2 lbs or 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Thickener

Instructions

Making the Meatballs

  1. Remove the jicama skin using a vegetable peeler. Finely dice the jicama.
  2. Cut off the white (root) portion of the green onions and finely chop. Chop the green onion stems. Transfer the green onion stems into a small bowl and set aside for later.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the ground pork, jicama, green onion (white) root, garlic, fish sauce, corn starch and ground black pepper. Mix together by hand combining all of the ingredients well. Combine just until everything sticks together. Avoid over-working the meat mixture as this will make the meatballs tough.

  4. Using a tablespoon, scoop out some of the meat mixture and transfer to a large plate. Continue making small mounds until all the meat mixture is used. Wet your palms with water to prevent sticking. Gently roll each of the mounds into a ball.

Making the Sauce

  1. Chop the tomatoes.
  2. Heat a large skillet over Medium High heat and when hot add vegetable oil. Add the minced garlic and tomato paste. Stir fry for 15-20 seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes and combine together. Add the sugar, fish sauce and water. Stir together combining the ingredients. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to Medium Low, cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.

Cooking the Meatballs

  1. Make room in the center of the skillet by pushing the tomatoes to the side. Gently transfer the meatballs into the sauce. Cover and cook on Medium Low heat for 5 minutes. After this time, rotate the meatballs and cook for another 5 minutes.
  2. To make the thickener, mix the corn starch and water until smooth. Add to the sauce. Combine gently and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Top with ground black pepper.
  3. To serve, transfer a few meatballs into a small bowl along with a generous amount of tomato sauce. Top with the chopped green onion stems. Enjoy these scrumptious Vietnamese Meatballs with crusty bread.

Notes, Tips & Tricks

For juicier meatballs, use ground pork with some fat in it. An 80/20 mixture is ideal. Optionally, if using lean or extra-lean ground pork, add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil to the meat mixture.

If jicama is difficult to find, substitute with canned water chestnuts. Use one 8 oz can for this recipe. Drain the canning liquid and then finely chop the water chestnuts.

Avoid over-working the meat mixture as this makes the meatballs tough. Combine the meat mixture just until it sticks together.

Try this recipe with ground chicken, turkey or beef. I often make this with ground chicken and it's delicious!

I like my tomato sauce a bit chunky and so don't cook the tomatoes long. Feel free to cook the tomatoes longer for a smoother sauce. This recipe is super forgiving so you can make and then simmer on the stove until you're ready to eat.

Adjust the tomato sauce to your preference. If you want a thicker sauce, reduce the water and/or add the corn starch + water mixture. When using the thickener, make sure to cook it adequately or the sauce will taste starchy.

These meatballs make an awesome sandwich. Add sliced cucumber, jalapeno, carrot and radish pickles and cilantro for an amazing banh mi!

Refrigerate any remaining portions and enjoy within the week.