These are just the thing when you want a substantial nibble – just watch them disappear! Or turn them into a main course with salad.
1 plump stalk lemongrass
650g (about 1½ pounds) minced (ground) pork
Finely grated zest 1 lime
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Small knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 fresh medium-hot red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
¼ tsp salt
½ cup soft white breadcrumbs
1 large (size 7) free-range egg, lightly beaten
For serving: iceberg lettuce leaves, sprigs of mint, sliced red chilli, coriander (cilantro) and Thai basil, and Sweet Chilli Sauce
The pork balls can be rolled a few hours ahead, ready to cook when you are. If you don’t have fresh breadcrumbs, use slightly less of panko crumbs (panko crumbs are a little drier).
1 Smash lemongrass with a mallet and extract the tender part. Chop finely.
2 Put minced pork in a bowl with lemongrass, lime zest, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, chilli, salt, breadcrumbs and egg. Mix thoroughly then shape into 40 small balls, putting them on a plate or in a shallow container as you do them. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
3 Cook pork balls on a preheated lightly oiled barbecue hot plate (griddle) over medium heat until golden all over and cooked through; turn often with two spoons to avoid charring and if the hot plate becomes dry, spray with a little vegetable oil. Alternatively, cook the meatballs in a large frying pan (skillet). Heat 3 tablespoons oil and when hot, add as many meatballs as will fit without crowding. Cook on all sides, turning with two spoons, until golden. Repeat with remaining pork balls.