Friday, February 20, 2015

Chicken Meatballs with Vietnamese Flavors

Every Chinese New Year, I try to add one new dish from the Lucky Foods list and this year I decided to change up the meatballs.  So instead of Pearl Balls or Lion's Head Meatballs (previous posts), I decided to use some of the ground chicken thigh meat that I bought at Uwajimaya and made meatballs with Vietnamese flavors.  These meatballs are flavored with Fish Sauce, Lemongrass, Shallots and Cilantro.  The texture is chewy, like all Asian Meatballs, as the meat is made very fine in the food processor. I pan fried them and served them to be wrapped in Lettuce leaves and added some Mint Leaves and Bean Sprouts for some crunch. I also made a Peanut Sauce to drizzle on the wraps or for dunking for those friends who just wanted to eat the meatballs. They turned out wonderfully and were the hit of the party. So I am sharing the recipe with you today.  I'm going to make them often!

Chicken Meatballs with Vietnamese Flavors

2 pounds of ground Chicken Thighs (or use boneless thighs and use the food processor)
2 stalks of fresh Lemongrass, bottom two inches of inside layers, minced
2 large Shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 loosely packed cup of Cilantro, minced
1/3 cup Fish Sauce (I used Red Boat)
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Cornstarch
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

Put Lemongrass, Shallots, Garlic, Cilantro and Fish Sauce in a food processor (I used a Cuisinart). Process until everything is minced fine.  Add in the Chicken Thigh meat and the salt and process until mixed thoroughly.  Form into small balls - walnut sized. Heat a large frying pan and add in the oil, then carefully place as many meatballs in that will fit. Cook on one side until brown and then on the other side until cooked through.  Remove and serve with vegetables and sauce.  

Serve with Red Lettuce Leaves, washed and separated, a cup of Beansprouts and 1/2 cup of Mint Leaves.

For sauce:  Mix equal amounts of Chunky Peanut Butter and Hoisin Sauce (I used Wok Mei brand as it is Gluten Free) and add hot water until thin enough to drizzle.  

Five Element Analysis

Chicken belongs to the Wood Element and the Lemongrass, being a fast growing grass adds even more. The Fish Sauce and Hoisin Sauce contribute the Water Element, the Shallots, Garlic, Mint and Cilantro bring in the Metal Element. The Fire Element is represented by the Lettuce Leaves and the Earth Element is found in the Peanut Butter.  This then becomes a balanced Five Element dish!

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