Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

May 26, 2017

© Mark Roper

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Vietnamese grilled pork meatballs

One dish, two ways for kids and adults

Kids can eat these from the skewer. Adults can wrap them in lettuce with cucumber, carrots and fresh herbs. Serve them with a tangy dipping sauce.


1 tbsp. (15 ml) fish sauce
2 tsp. (10 ml) light soy sauce
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 lb. 2 oz. (500 g) ground pork
peanut or vegetable oil, for brushing
steamed rice, to serve
8 bamboo skewers, soaked for 30 minutes


For adults
4 iceberg lettuce leaves
½ long cucumber, halved lengthways and sliced on the diagonal
1 carrot, shredded
1 scallion, sliced
small handful cilantro leaves
small handful Vietnamese mint


For the Nuoc cham dipping sauce
1½ tbsp. (22.5 ml) fish sauce
1 tbsp. (15 ml) lime juice
1 tbsp. (15 ml) rice vinegar
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) brown sugar
1-2 bird’s eye chilies, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed


Combine the fish sauce, soy sauce and garlic in a bowl. Add the ground pork and mix with your hands. Form the mixture into 28 balls, each about 3/4 inch (2 cm) in diameter.

Thread the meatballs onto eight pre-soaked skewers — 3 meatballs per skewer for the kids and 4 meatballs per skewer for adults. Refrigerate the skewers for 30 minutes to let them firm up.

Heat a barbecue grill or a frying pan to a medium-high heat. Brush the meatballs with a little oil and cook them, turning frequently for 6 to 8 minutes or until browned on all sides and cooked through.


Dish one Serve the meatball sticks with plain rice for the kids.


Dish two To make the nuoc cham sauce, combine the ingredients with 1½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) of water in a small bowl. Serve the meatballs with the lettuce cups, cucumber, carrot, scallion, cilantro and mint, as well as the dipping sauce. Serves 4.

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