Hot and Sour Pork and Chicken Meatballs

I devised these meatballs to be eaten as canapés at the launch party for a friend’s book about Indo-China; they were to bring back memories for all the old Indo-China hands. As it was a large gathering, I made 550 little meatballs and they disappeared astonishingly fast.

If you serve the meatballs as a main course, accompany them with Chinese noodles and steamed, sliced spring greens with soy sauce.

Ingredients

  • 675 g/ lb minced pork
  • 225 g/8 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 5 large cloves garlic
  • 5-6 cm/2-2½ in piece fresh ginger
  • 4-6 fresh kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 teaspoons tom yum sour shrimp paste (available from oriental grocers)
  • 6 rounded tablespoons coconut milk powder
  • handful fresh coriander leaves
  • salt

Method

Put the pork into a mixing bowl. Chop the chicken very finely either by hand or in a food processor and then mix it thoroughly into the pork with a wooden spoon. Peel the garlic and ginger and chop together finely. If using kaffir lime leaves, chop them as finely as possible with a very sharp knife. Strain the lemon juice into a small saucepan and heat slightly. Stir in the sour shrimp paste until smooth, then remove from the heat and stir into the meat mixture together with the garlic, ginger and kaffir lime leaves. Add a small sprinkling of salt. Lastly, vigorously work in the coconut milk powder so that it mixes evenly.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Using dampened hands, take small bits of the mixture and roll into balls about the size of large marbles. Arrange the balls, close together but not touching, in a large, lightly oiled roasting pan and cook just above the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the meatballs to an ovenproof serving dish and spoon the pan juices over them. If not serving immediately, you can reheat the balls in a low oven later. Just before serving, chop the coriander leaves and sprinkle over the meatballs.

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