Five-Spice Meatballs with Rice Noodles & Honey Lime Sauce
Baking these spiced meatballs on a rack allows the fat to drip away, which keeps them from sitting in their own juices and becoming greasy. For easy cleanup, line the baking sheet with foil to catch the drippings. Be gentle when mixing and shaping the meatballs – packing them tightly makes them too dense and tough.
8 oz brown rice Pad Thai noodles (TRY: Annie Chun’s Pad Thai Brown Rice Noodles)
2 cups matchstick-cut carrots
5 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, roughly chopped or whole leaves
4 tsp black sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Arrange an ovenproof rack on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet; mist with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together pork, ginger, garlic, five-spice powder, pepper and salt until combined. Shape into balls 2 tbsp in size, making about 20 meatballs. Arrange 1 inch apart on prepared rack. Bake, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until no longer pink inside and an instant-read thermometer reads 160˚F when inserted in center, 30 to 34 minutes. (NOTE: If using ground turkey or chicken, cook meatballs to an internal temperature of 165˚F.)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, tamari and oil until combined. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in carrots and cook until tender-crisp and noodles are al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Return to pot and heat on medium-low. Add onions and lime juice mixture and cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
Divide noodle mixture and meatballs among bowls. Sprinkle with cilantro and seeds, dividing evenly.
Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups noodle mixture and 5 meatballs
Curry paste brings the heat, and a little goes a long way – add it a teaspoon at a time until it’s at your desired spice level. For a garnish, make a simple relish of diced mango dressed with lime juice, honey and sliced serrano chiles.
Take a tip from Thai street vendors and have all your ingredients lined up next to the stove so you can work quickly and continue to move the ingredients around in the wok nonstop. Unsalted peanuts would make a crunchy topper to this dish for added texture.