Spicy Pork Meatballs With Lemongrass, Lime, and Cilantro


These spicy little meatballs are full of Thai flavors: lemongrass, scallions, lime, peanuts, mint, cilantro, and more.

I like to dip them in sauce and wrap them in lettuce leaves. They could be served as an appetizer, alone or speared onto cucumber rounds, on top of a salad, or in a soup with tender leafy greens.

These mini-meatballs are made with ground pork but you could substitute other ground meats. They have a lot of juicy ingredients, so the recipe even would work well with meats that have less fat, like ground chicken or turkey.

If you prefer patties or sliders to balls, just shape them how you like them. Then pair them with your favorite sauce. I served the meatballs with a tamari-based sauce but they would also be good dipped into a coconut curry sauce or a peanut-tamarind sauce, or served simlpy with lime wedges.

2 red chili chili peppers, divided, thinly sliced
1/4 cup blistered (soaked prior to roasting) or dry roasted peanuts
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions 
1 inch ginger root, roughly chopped
1 inch fresh turmeric root, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed, tender inside layers sliced into thin rounds
Zest of 1 organic lime
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 pound ground pasture-raised pork
1 tablespoon cold-pressed coconut oil
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Add to a food processor one thinly sliced chili pepper along with the peanuts, scallions, ginger, turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, and lime zest. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the tamari, fish sauce, cilantro and mint. Process the mixture into a paste.

Break up the ground pork. Pour the aromatic paste over the top. Use clean hands to mix the pork with the paste until they are well-combined, taking care to not over-work the meat.

Warm the coconut oil in a stainless steel skillet over medium heat.

Shape the meat into 1-inch balls and drop them into the pre-heated skillet, taking care to not over-crowd the pan. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Whisk together the tamari, fish sauce, and vinegar. Stir in the other thinly sliced chili pepper.

Once the meatballs are golden brown, serve them immediately with the dipping sauce on the side.