Our usual way of doing pork meatballs, which we call bola bola ("ball ball"), is with onions, carrots, sometimes water chestnuts, sometimes taro or yam. This is the variation that I've always eaten growing up. I especially like the ones my Godmother makes: she usually puts strips of taro in the mix so when the balls fry up, there are extra crispy bits.
Calling my Godmother up for some meatballs was not an option today. So, I thought, why not do something different with ground pork?
I racked my brain for some dishes we love recently, and the first thing that came to mind was Thai fried chicken. So, I thought, why not take the flavours we love and put it with some ground pork for Thai meatballs?
[ts] I love the crunchy bits of water chestnuts inside!
I proceeded to open up a can of water chestnuts for the meatballs. Since I specifically did not want to use up onions with ground pork that day, I needed some other filler for the meatballs. I thought of breadcrumbs but settled for a cup of cooked rice.
I added some herbs: cilantro, mint and Thai basil. For the seasoning, I used fish sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper, and sesame oil.
I served the meatballs with some store-bought sweet chili sauce for chicken. (That is the name of the sauce on its bottle.)
When I bit into it, I felt the meatballs could use more vibrancy, more freshness, so next time I make this, I will be doubling the amount of green herbs. A little sweetness is also in order, so a touch of brown sugar will be welcome.
The recipe below reflects these changes.
But, it was still a hit with the family!
Makes approximately 28 1" diameter meatballs
1 cup water chestnuts, chopped
1 cup cooked rice
2 lbs pork
1 cup chopped cilantro
4 teaspoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 red chile pepper, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
Combine all ingredients well. Form into balls, around 1" in diameter. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Fry meatballs in batches, making sure that all surfaces are browned. Cook until done.
Thai creations at [eatingclub] vancouver:
Pad Thai (Tamarind Series, Post #1)
Waterfall Beef Salad
Thai Basil Stir-fry
Thai-marinated Fried Chicken (and the Ultimate Compliment)
Thai Basil Tofu Stir-fry