Monday, February 8, 2010

Pork and Turkey Meatball Banh Mi

I've never liked meatloaf. Something about a big hunk of hamburger meat mixed with breadcrumbs and eggs just isn't appealing. And ever since my husband drew a correlation between meatloaf and meatballs, I haven't liked meatballs either.

Fortunately, I discovered Pork Meatball Banh Mi in a recent issue of Bon Appetit, and with a few modifications, meatballs are once again an enjoyable food for me. I thought the meatballs made with all pork were bit rich, so I substituted ground turkey for half the pork the second time I made the recipe. Also, I did not have the patience to wait for meatballs to cook, so I turned them into tiny patties, which got done a lot faster.

The original recipe called for a spicy mayonnaise as a condiment for the sandwiches, but since I hate mayonnaise too, I made a spicy avocado cilantro lime sauce. Sort of like guacamole, but less thick and more spicy.

I didn't have any daikon, and didn't feel like driving across town to get it, but I added cucumbers and cabbage with delicious results.


  • 2 cups coarsely grated carrots
  • 2 cups coarsely grated peeled daikon (or use cucumbers and cabbage...or all three!)
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 4 10-inch-long individual baguettes or four 10-inch-long pieces French-bread baguette (cut from 2 baguettes)
  • Thinly sliced jalapeño chiles
  • cilantro


  • 1 pound ground pork (substitute half or all of pork with ground turkey)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil (Thai basil is good, if you have it)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil

Spicy Avocado Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce
  • juice of 1/2 small lime
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce, or to taste
  • salt to taste

Toss first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Mix meatball ingredients (except for sesame oil) and form into small patties, about 2 tablespoons each. Heat sesame oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of meatballs. Sauté until brown and cooked through, turning meatballs often and lowering heat if browning too quickly, about 15 minutes. Transfer meatballs to another rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

For sauce, blend ingredients in food processor until smooth. Taste and add more chili sauce or salt to taste. There isn't really a way to mess this up, as long as you don't overdo the salt or spice.

Cut each baguette or baguette piece horizontally in half. Pull out enough bread from each bread half to leave 1/2-inch-thick shell. Spread avocado sauce over each bread shell. Arrange jalapeños, then cilantro, in bottom halves. Fill each with 1/4 of meatballs. Drain pickled vegetables; place atop meatballs. Press on baguette tops.

1 comment:

Ravenous Couple said...

nice idea to use the leaner turkey!