Vermicelli Noodles with Lemongrass Pork Meatballs

published Aug 1, 2019
Vermicelli Noodles with Lemongrass Pork Meatballs

Ken Concepcion and Michelle Mungcal, owners of L.A.’s Now Serving cookbook and culinary shop love this recipe because it lets them use all the bounty from California's farmers markets.

Serves6

Cook10 minutes to 15 minutes

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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

As part of Kitchn’s celebration of all things California, we asked 19 cooks from various disciplines — chefs, photographers, writers — to see what dish they think best embodies California home cooking in 2019. See all the recipes here.

Ken Concepcion and Michelle Mungcal, owners of L.A.’s Now Serving cookbook and culinary shop, love this recipe from Jessica Battliana’s cookbook Repertoire for its high-impact flavor and its versatility — it’s a great way to use up farmers market finds or whatever’s left in the fridge. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Vermicelli Noodles with Lemongrass Pork Meatballs

Ken Concepcion and Michelle Mungcal, owners of L.A.’s Now Serving cookbook and culinary shop love this recipe because it lets them use all the bounty from California's farmers markets.

Cook time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 2 stalks

    lemongrass

  • 2 pounds

    ground pork

  • 1 tablespoon

    fish sauce

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground white pepper

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup

    fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lime juice or distilled white vinegar

  • 1 clove

    garlic, peeled and minced

  • 1

    Thai chile or 1/2 serrano chile, stemmed and minced

For the fried shallots:

  • 2 cups

    canola oil

  • 4

    shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

For serving:

  • 1 pound

    dried rice vermicelli

  • 2

    carrots, peeled and julienned

  • 1

    small cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

  • Shredded romaine, green leaf, or iceberg lettuce

  • Fresh mint leaves

  • Fresh cilantro leaves

  • Chopped peanuts

Instructions

  1. Make the meatballs: Cut the bottom 1/2 inch off each lemongrass stalk and trim the woody top portion of each stalk and discard. Peel until you reach the tender center. Thinly slice the stalks into coins, then very finely mince. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the pork, fish sauce, salt, sugar, and white pepper and mix to combine. Roll into 1 1/2-inch meatballs and set on a rimmed baking sheet. The meatballs can be made beforehand; transfer to a lidded container or tightly wrap the baking sheet with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to cook but no longer than 24 hours.

  2. Make the dressing: In a small jar with a lid, combine the fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, and minced chile. Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside (the dressing will keep, refrigerated, for up to a week, though it gets spicier as it sits).

  3. Make the fried shallots: Pour the oil into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and add the sliced shallots to the cold oil. Line a plate with paper towels and set it nearby. As the oil heats, the shallots will begin to sizzle and bubble; fry, stirring frequently for even cooking, until the shallots begin to brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until they are an even golden brown and crisp (at this stage, they can go from nicely browned to acrid and overcooked very quickly, so be vigilant). Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer the shallots to the paper-towel- lined plate. Let the oil cool, then pour through a fine- mesh sieve into a clean jar. (Do not discard the oil; it’s liquid gold, great for another batch of fried shallots or to add flavor to dressings and sautéed vegetables, and you can also use it to make a batch of aioli.) The fried shallots can be made in advance. Let cool, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. Resist snacking on them; they'll keep for about a week.

  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water is boiling add the vermicelli noodles and cook according to package instructions until tender. Drain, rinse with cold water, and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with a tablespoon of the shallot oil (it’s fine if it’s still warm) and toss to coat.

  5. Preheat the broiler to high. Transfer the baking sheet of meatballs to the oven, positioning it a few inches from the heating element. Broil the meatballs until browned, about 3 minutes, then roll the meatballs to the second side and broil until cooked through, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl.

  6. To serve, arrange the vermicelli on a platter and surround with the carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, mint, and cilantro leaves. Serve the meatballs, dressing, fried shallots, and chopped peanuts alongside. Let the diners dig in, serving themselves some of the noodles, carrots, and cucumbers, garnished with herbs, shallots, and peanuts. Spoon dressing over each serving and top with a few meatballs.

Recipe Notes

Excerpted from Repertoire © 2018 by Jessica Battilana. Used with permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York. All rights reserved.