Nem Noung (Meatballs)
This Vietnamese meatball from Na Trang is traditionally grilled. It is fatty, savory and a little sweet. Here, I changed the traditional pork back fat with the more easily accessible fatty bacon that produced a nuanced smoky taste also.
Author: John Gutekanst
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 20 to 23 meatballs
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ tablespoon water
- 1 pound ground pork belly
- ¾ cup fatty bacon cut into dice
- ½ tablespoon fish sauce
- 3 salted anchovies
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon scallion bottoms
- ½ large bulb of shallot (about 1 tablespoon)
- One large bulb of minced garlic
- Cook the pork fat under medium-high heat until cooked through but not browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the baking powder to the water and stir.
- Combine the ground pork, cooked pork fat, fish sauce, anchovies, sugar baking powder mix, pepper, garlic, onions and shallots in a food processor and mix to a stiff paste. It should form paste that springs back but remains sticky to the touch. Do not over process.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Form one inch meatballs and place on an oiled tray. You must work fast because of the fat content in these meatballs.
- Place in the oven turning after 5 minutes.
- Cook for an additional 4 to 7 minutes till meatballs reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. The meatballs should be firm to the touch.