Vietnamese Meatball Soup

Vietnamese Meatball Soup

Vietnamese meatballs, also known as “bun cha” are a popular street food served in Hanoi. You may be familiar with other types of popular Vietnamese cuisine such as pho, banh mi, and rice paper rolls. Now you can add bun cha, Vietnamese pork meatballs, to your list.

The classic Vietnamese meatball is usually seasoned with a little onion, ginger, garlic, and fish sauce and grilled or baked until caramelized. Some brands of fish sauce can be very salty. Taste the fish sauce before adding any additional salt to this recipe. These savory pork meatballs can be served over noodles or in a broth to create this soup that I modified from a recipe by Christopher Kimball.

The pork meatballs are seasoned and then formed into small balls and refrigerated. Rather than baking or grilling, the meatballs are dropped directly into a steamy hot herbaceous broth and poached or simmered for a few minutes until they are cooked through. Once the meatballs are firm and cooked, I add five cups of fresh baby spinach and some basil leaves. This recipe creates a substantial and filling soup that can be served as a main course or an appetizer. It takes only about 15 minutes to prep for this meal and 30 minutes to cook.

Once you learn this easy method of making the Vietnamese pork meatballs, you can bake or grill them and serve them over noodles, in lettuce cups or create a bowl. You may choose to line the bowl with salad greens, some cooked rice vermicelli noodles, perhaps grated carrots, and herbs such as mint, cilantro, and basil. Serve a traditional nuoc cham sauce with the Vietnamese meatball bowl.

Any way you cook them, poaching in a broth, or browning in the oven or on the grill, these savory Vietnamese meatballs are guaranteed to become a family favorite.

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