Vietnamese Turkey Meatballs with a Sweet Soy Glaze

I’ve never been to Vietnam, but based on the Vietnamese cuisine I’ve tried here in the UK and in the US it’s definitely on my bucket list. I especially love the aromatic mix of lemongrass grass, mint and coriander with the warmth of chilli that is signature to many Vietnamese dishes. So with that said, this recipe is inspired by my favourite dish on the menu at Pho, the Nem Nuong Pork Balls. Instead of minced pork I use turkey mince, just because I happened to have some in my fridge one day and was up for an experiment. I found that turkey mince works so well with the chilli and the herbs. The glaze adds a slight sweetness that pulls all the flavours together. As a bonus turkey mince is also lower in saturated fat than pork mince.

Vietnamese Turkey Meatballs with a Sweet Soy Glaze Recipe

Serves: 5
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the meatballs:

  • 1 kg turkey mince
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed or grated
  • 2 tsp lemon grass paste
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp dried coriander
  • 2 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

For the glaze:

(this makes enough for the meatballs plus extra to use as a dressing on your side dish)

  • 90 ml soy sauce
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • juice of one and a half limes

METHOD

  1. Heat oven to 200 °C fan (or 220 °C conventional oven). Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Combine the ingredients for the meatballs and form into golf ball sized meatballs. I made around 30 balls.
  3. Spread the meatballs out on the baking trays and bake for 25 mins turning once after 15 minutes.
  4. In the meantime combine all the ingredients for the glaze and stir well.
  5. When the meatballs are cooked drizzle half the glaze over them and toss them to give them a good coating. Use the rest of the glaze as a dressing for your side dish.

NOTES

  • When turning the meatballs you may find that they have lost some water which fills the baking tray. Don’t worry about this as it will evaporate, and the baking paper will make it easier to clean the trays afterwards.
  • Serve with whole wheat noodles and a salad of lettuce, shredded carrots, fresh coriander and fresh mint leaves.