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Spicy Asian Meatballs

(recipe, Caroline Cummins)

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This recipe is a doubled version of Bon Appétit's spicy pork meatballs. It's less spicy, ditches the fresh basil called for in the original, and uses sturdy peanut oil instead of delicate sesame oil for frying. If you're in a rush, skip the frying step in favor of baking the meatballs quickly in the oven.


  1. 8 garlic cloves, minced (about 5 Tbsp.)
  2. 2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  3. 5 to 6 green onions, finely chopped
  4. 2 Tbsp. sugar
  5. 4 tsp. cornstarch
  6. 2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  7. 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  8. 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam)
  9. 1 Tbsp. hot chile sauce (Sriracha)
  10. 2 lb. ground pork
  11. A few Tbsp. peanut oil or other high-smoke-point vegetable oil, for pan-frying
  12. Stir-Fried Greens with Ponzu and Brown Rice or Banh Mi, for serving


  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. In a large bowl, toss together the garlic, ginger, and green onions, then mix in the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and pepper before mixing in the fish sauce and chile sauce. Add the pork and gently mix all the ingredients together. Using moistened hands and a scant tablespoonful for each meatball, roll the meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet.
  2. Heat some of the peanut oil in two large skillets over medium heat. Add half of the meatballs. Sauté until brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes; turn the meatballs often and lower the heat if the meatballs are browning too quickly. Remove to two paper-towel-lined plates to cool. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.
  3. Serve with sautéed greens and rice as a main dish, or as the meat filling for Banh Mi sandwiches. You can also use this recipe as the filling for Potsticker Dumplings.


If you don't want to deal with the mess and hassle of frying, simply preheat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange the meatballs as soon as you form them on ungreased baking sheets (or baking sheets lined with silicone baking mats). Bake the meatballs for 16 to 18 minutes, until browned, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time.