Food for Four – Xiu Mai…aka Vietnamese Meatballs

Food for Four – Xiu Mai

This isn’t the first time I’ve used this recipe, and thank you again Food for Four for another spot on recipe. Xiu mai is a traditional Vietnamese meatball, and unlike other culture’s meatballs ours are HUGE. So our meatball sandwiches aren’t sad like some meatball sandwiches where the meat to sauce ratio leans to the sauce. We do it right. XIU MAI! GO MEAT! 

Xiu mai is also the name of some pork dumplings that you usually see at the dim sum joints…don’t be mistaken. 

The first couple times I made the recipe I followed it word for word and it turned out just like how my mom makes it. This time there were a few changes since the grocery store I went to only had ultra lean pork…seriously? If you go to an asian market there is only one choice of ground pork also but it’s fatty, the one from Albertsons was….LEEEEAAAAAAN. Brilliant me, I mixed the ultra lean pork with lean ground turkey…what was I thinking? Thinking healthy maybe. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?! 

I followed the same instructions, and per the usual, I’ll put my modifications on the side 🙂 

Afoodcionado - Xiu mai
Afoodcionado – Xiu mai | Simmmmmmer my babiiiesssss >:]
Afoodcionado - Xiu mai | The finished product
Afoodcionado – Xiu mai | The finished product

Here is a better photo…

Food for Four Xiu Mai

What you’ll need

For the meatball

  • 1 kg (a little over 2lbs) ground pork  (I used 1 lb of the lean ass pork and 1 lb of the lean ass ground turkey)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 red Asian shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 green onion, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1 small can water chestnut (220g) or 1 jicama, cut into very small pieces (I used jicama cause that’s what mom used, and I like to use fresh ingredients instead of canned things but if you’re in a bind go for the water chestnut!)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (I used regular granulated sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • oil for pan frying

For the Tomato sauce

  • 3 gloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped (I’ve used the bigger tomatoes and I’ve used roma tomatoes…don’t use roma tomatoes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I made the mistake of going heavy on the salt…DON’T go crazy) 
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (My boyfriend thought that there was too much fish sauce in the overall recipe so I cut this in half at his request. I must love him cause Vietnamese people don’t cut back on their fish sauce for anyone)
  • 3 teaspoons sugar

What to do

  1. In a large bowl, combine the pork (or in my case ultra lean pork and turkey), garlic, shallots, green onions, water chestnuts (or jicama), egg, sugar, salt, fish sauce and pepper, and mix well with your hands. Form the mixture into 4cm balls (I tend to make them a little larger since they shrink when you cook them on the pan, and they’ll hold up better in the simmering process) then place them on a plate or tray.
  2. Heat up a frying pan, add oil and pan fry the meatballs so that they are brown and charred. They do not need to be fully cooked as doing this will keep their shape. Once they are brown, remove from the pan and place on separate plate. (If they’re falling apart, cook it some more so you’ll be sure you’ll hold up when they get into the meatball hot tub)
  3. In a large heavy based saucepan, heat a small amount of oil then add the chopped garlic and fry until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Add the tomato paste, water, fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper.
  4. Then add the meatballs.
  5. Simmer the meatballs for about 25 minutes or until cooked and sauce is reduced.
  6. Taste test and add more seasoning if required. Remove from heat.
  7. Serve meatballs in a baguette Vietnamese Banh Mi style or in a bowl where you can dip the bread or however you want to…they’re your balls >:] 

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