I can’t believe Thanksgiving is three days away. I spent this last weekend prepping for and enjoying “friendsgiving”, hosted by delightfulcrab + a bunch of awesome people. When you love food as much as we do, celebrating Thanksgiving once just isn’t enough.
Last night, I decided to savor the last few moments of the pre-holiday craze and make something non-traditional. These Thai meatballs are perfect for any occasion. You could even serve them as appetizers during Thanksgiving or at your annual holiday party. It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year, and I couldn’t be more excited. Enjoy!
Thai Balls with Peanut Sauce
Adapted from The Meatball Shop Cookbook; Makes 2 dozen 1.5 inch balls
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pound ground pork
1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined, and roughly shopped
2 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh Thai or Italian basil, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1/2 bread crumbs
2 tbsp minced lemongrass or lemongrass paste
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
juice from 1 lime
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp fish sauce
For the Garnish:
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 large carrots, julienned or grated using the large holes of a box grater
10 fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro (including stems)
10 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1 tsp sesame seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Drizzle the olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.
2. Combine the ground pork, shrimp, eggs, basil, cilantro, mint, chiles, bread crumbs, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and fish sauce in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.
3. Roll the mixture into round, golf-ball size meatballs (about 1.5 inches), making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.
4. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165° F.
5. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish. Meanwhile, to make the garnish, place rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, carrots, basil, cilantro, mint, peanuts, and sesame seeds in a bowl and toss to combine.
6. Spoon the garnish over the top of the meatballs and serve with toasted whole wheat Naan and peanut sauce (recipe below).
For the Peanut Sauce:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and toast in the oil, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to turn golden brown, about 1 minute.
2. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, fish sauce, and cayenne (if using). Whisk together until a smooth consistency is achieved. Add a few tablespoons of water to thin the sauce, if needed. Cool in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving.