Vietnamese Recipes & Cuisines (Meat)

Grilled Pork Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Peanut Sauce Recipe

(Nem Nuong)

A specialty of central Vietnam, these meatballs, nem nuong, are best threaded on to skewers and grilled on a barbecue, but they can also be cooked under a grill. Cooked at home, or in street stalls, they are usually served with noodles and a dipping sauce, You can serve them with the sauce of your choice, although in Vietnam a peanut dipping sauce is traditional. They are also good served with chopped coriander and lime wedges.

Ingredients : Serves 4

10 ml


2 cloves

450 g

30 ml

10 ml

10 ml

115 g

1 bunch

1/4 teaspoon

1/4 teaspoon


For the sauce

10 ml

1 clove


30 ml

15 ml

30 ml

30 ml

60 ml

100 ml

5-10 ml

Groundnut (peanuts) or sesame oil

Shallots, finely chopped

Garlic, finely chopped

Minced (ground) pork

Nuoc mam

Five-spice powder


Breadcrumbs or 30 ml potato starch

Fresh coriander (cilantro), stalks removed


Ground black pepper



Groundnut (peanut) oil

Garlic, finely chopped

Red Thai chili, seeded and finely chopped

Roasted peanuts, finely chopped

Nuoc mam

Rice wine vinegar

Hoisin sauce

Coconut milk



Method :
  • To make the sauce, heat the oil in a small wok or heavy pan, and stir in the garlic and chili.

  • When they begin to color, add the peanuts. Stir for a few minutes, or until the natural oil from the peanuts begins to weep.

  • Add the remaining ingredients, except the sugar, and boil the mixture for a minute.

  • Adjust the sweetness and seasoning to your taste by adding sugar and salt, and set aside.

  • To make the meatballs, heat the oil in a wok or small pan, and stir in the shallots and garlic.

  • When they begin to brown, remove from the heat and leave to cool.

  • Put the minced pork into a bowl, tip in the stir-fried shallots and garlic, and add the nuoc mam, five spice powder and sugar.

  • Season with a little salt and plenty of pepper. Using your hand, knead the mixture until well combined.

  • Cover the bowl and chili in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

  • Soak eight wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, knead the mixture again, then add the breadcrumbs or potato starch. Knead well to bind.

  • Divide the mixture into 20 pieces and roll into balls. Thread the balls onto the skewers. Cook either over the barbecue or under the grill (broiler), turning the skewers from time to time.

  • Arrange the meatballs on a serving dish with coriander leaves to wrap around them, or chop the coriander and use as a garnish.

  • Quickly reheat the sauce, stirring constantly. Transfer it to a serving bowl and serve hot with the meatballs.

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