Thursday, July 21, 2011

Asian Meatballs and Rice Noodles

If you're looking for an Asian cuisine that doesn't rely as heavily on soy-based sauces, take a look at Thai-inspired recipes. Many of these delicious recipes use a combination of fish sauce -- which is quite stinky but incredibly delicious when added to recipes -- chili sauce and lime juice to flavor dishes. The result is super yummy! And if you like your food spicy, Thai is the way to go. But for those of you who want a tamer heat, just take it easy on the chili sauce.

Asian Meatballs and Rice Noodles
Source: Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

3 tbsp. chopped shallots or other milk onion
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1-1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bacon slice
8 oz. ground sirloin
8 oz. lean ground pork
Cooking spray
1 lb. rice noodles -- I used Pad Thai noodles.
1/2 cup warm water
6 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1-1/2 tbsp. fish sauce
1-2 tsp. chili garlic sauce -- I used sriracha, which is available in the Asian section of most grocery stores.
4 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, cilantro and mint

Combine first five ingredients in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. If using a food processor, add beef and pork; pulse to combine. If using a blender, combine beef, pork and contents of blender in a large bowl until well combined. Shape meat mixture into into a 1-inch balls.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add meatballs; cook 8 minutes or until meatballs are nearly done, browning on all sides. Meanwhile, prepare noodles according to package directions. 

Combine warm water and next 5 ingredients (water through 4 garlic cloves), stirring with a whisk until sugar dissolves. Add sauce to the cooking meatballs, allowing the meatballs to finish cooking in the sauce. Add noodles to saucepan and carefully toss with the noodles and the meatballs. Sprinkle with fresh herbs prior to serving. 

Tip: I took a trip to an Asian grocery store and was amazed at the variety of rice noodles that are available, however most grocery stores will only have one or two, such as rice vermicelli or rice stick noodles. Any of those varieties will work. In fact, you could use a wheat-based pasta, as well. Angel hair or fettuccine would be good.

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