In a country where fish cakes and shrimp balls are considered classic staples, meatballs usually do not make many appearances in Burmese food scene. When they do, they are cooked again in onion-tomato based gravy for a curry with potatoes. To allow the seasonings of the gravy to seep inside the meatballs, we skimp on herbs and spices in making them.
But this pork ball recipe shines by itself as a standalone dish, packaging enough flavors, to tingle all your tastebuds. Bursting with their signature bright and lively flavors are fresh herbs including lemongrass, cilantro, sawtooth coriander (culantro) and green chilies, also infusing alluring aromas to the meatballs. Along with few splashes of fish sauce, oyster sauce and dollops of coconut cream, you have just booked an air ticket to Southeast Asia. These light and moist gems are perfect fingerfood for parties and get-togethers but you might have a hard time putting yourself on brakes to stop nibbling before your guests arrive!
Serving: 20-25 pieces
Prep Time: 40 minutes
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1/3 cup onions, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp. breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- ¼ inch piece fresh ginger
- 3 fresh green chilies (optional)
- 3 lemongrass stalks
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp. coconut cream
- 1/3 cup. equal amount of chopped cilantro and sawtooth coriander or culantro (double the amount of cilantro if you can’t find sawtooth coriander)
Preparing the marinade
- Peel the tough outer layers of the lemongrass stalks.
- Cut the top and root ends off, leaving only about 2-2.5 inches of the white, plump bottom part.
- Cut them into ½ inch pieces.
- Place lemongrass pieces, chopped garlic, ginger, green chilies in mortar and pestle or food processor.
- Pound or pulse together with fish sauce and oyster sauce to a fine paste.
Making the meatballs
- Use your clean hands to mix the marinade with rest of the ingredients till well combined.
- Wet your hands and roll the mixture into meatballs, about an inch in diameter. It will yield around 20-25 meatballs.
Frying the meatball
- Heat vegetable oil and add the meatballs in batches without overcrowding the skillet.
- Over medium heat, pan-fry the meatballs until all sides are evenly browned and cooked through, for 12-15 minutes.
Burmese language lesson
- Wet-Tha -> Pork
- Lone -> Balls
- Kyaw -> Fried