Cook This: Best ever pork meatballs

We eat this meal, with very slight variations, once a week, every week. I’m not even exaggerating. I wish I was.

One night late last year, mid December-ish, I had a thought – we were heading off to Thailand in a few weeks, so I thought I’d cook up something for dinner that was Asian-inspired. I went with my Asian take on the traditional Italian spaghetti & meatballs; Asian-style pork meatballs with soba noodles and veggies. I was hesitant, and my husband was apprehensive, but I gave it a whirl anyway. I took a punt, threw into a mixing bowl the ingredients I thought would work, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I held my breath a little as husband took his first bite. He was happy. Really happy. Henceforth, he declared, this would be a weekly meal. They were the best meatballs he’d ever eaten, apparently, bar none. I was stoked.

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

Over the next few weeks, I refined the recipe, until it was incredibly simple and perfectly delicious. The variations each week are in the form of the vegetables/noodles. If we’re feeling we’ve had a big food weekend (meatball night is usually Tuesdays) and we want to go carb light, we take out the noodles. Vegetables are usually mushrooms and whatever Asian greens look good at the market when we do the grocery shopping.

But enough talking – here’s the recipe (don’t worry, it’s crazy easy!)

Ingredients to feed 2:

  • 400g pork mince
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, finely diced
  • approximately 2 tbsp fish sauce (to be honest, I don’t really measure, I just go by feel!)
  • approximately 2 tbsp oyster sauce

Mush it all together with your hands, making sure the sauces are very well incorporated. The sauces are the key to keeping the meatballs soft and tender, so don’t be scared of using too much! The consistency once it’s all combined should be super sticky, but still hold it’s form once rolled into a meatball. Then, put about half a cup of plain flour into a shallow dish, and roll each meatball in it until they’re all completely coated in flour.

 

It’s all pretty simple from here – fry them off in a wok until they’re just browned, then transfer them to an oven tray and bake in the oven at 180˚C for 20min:

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

While that’s going on, slice and dice your chosen veggies (I cook mine up in the wok with a little grated ginger, oyster and soy sauces), and your noodles or rice if you so wish…

Once that timer goes off, get those meatballs out of the oven, dump them on top, and enjoy dinner!

It might not look super sexy, but it sure as hell tastes it! The meatballs should be a soft, almost crumbly little ball of love, full of flavour from the sauces and shallots, still moist and tender inside, with a caramelised, slightly crispy shell from the flour and sauces coming out in the oven! I’m sure there are countless variations to meatballs, the universal comfort food… any other favourite combinations anyone has to share?!

 

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