Packed with flavor, these Thai basil pork meatballs with peanut sauce are versatile as well. Dip them as an appetizer or bulk them out into a stir fry. Either way, you'll be back for more.
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There are a number of recipe ideas I come up with that come about due to what I happen to have in the house at the time. Normally this is in the sense that I have a few things in the fridge and I start to wonder which of them will go together and then go from there in terms of flavors.
It's one of the things I like about getting deliveries of vegetables and meat - it helps me be a bit more creative in using things I might not otherwise use as well as putting things together.
These Thai basil pork meatballs, however, were kind of a mistake. OK, let me explain.
I bought some Thai basil by accident and then had to think how best to use it. I say by accident, but really I just had a bit of a 'duh' moment and was thinking Thai basil and Vietnamese mint were the same which of course they aren't (the shop had Thai basil but not Vietnamese mint).
So, one recipe went without and I had a pile of Thai basil to use up. A few mind jumps later and I came up with these Thai basil pork meatballs with peanut-basil sauce, and boy, was I glad of my mistake.
I have used pork meatballs here as they take on flavor well and pork's flavor goes well with everything else. Pork is definitely a very versatile meat. I think there is more difference between all the pork cuts than of any other meat and it can be used in many ways. Even in the last few months I've used it in dishes from carbonara to stuffed pork tenderloin and porchetta.
These meatballs are seasoned with lime zest and Thai basil giving them a fresh flavor that goes well with the delicious peanut-basil sauce. They make a great appetizer using the sauce as a dipping sauce, or you can also do as we did and make it into a full meal with some stir-fry vegetables and using the sauce drizzled over everything.
The sauce is so delicious it would be good with other variations of stir-fry as well as being a delicious dressing to an Asian chicken or noodle salad. The list of ingredients may look long, but most of them are in the same quantity and don't take much preparation so it's actually very easy to just put in a bit of each, and the mix of flavors really is worth it.
Tips to make these pork meatballs
Making the meatballs is easy. All you do is mix the ground pork/pork mince with the chopped Thai basil. lime zest, onion. Season, then mix it all up.
As with most meatballs, often the best way to get them properly mixed is to just get in there with your hands. That way, you get all the additions well distributed.
I then used my tablespoon measure to scoop out nice evenly-sized amounts to roll and then cook. They don't take long, just a few minutes each side to brown.
How to serve these tasty meatballs
I've suggested you can have these as either an appetizer, using the basil-peanut sauce as a dipping sauce, or cooking up some vegetables to make a stir fry. We loved them both ways, so it really depends what you have in mind to serve them.
There are no doubt even more ways you could enjoy both these meatballs and the sauce. They would be good with a simple slaw/Asian salad with the sauce as a dressing and the meatballs maybe broken up a bit more. You could serve them as part of an appetizer with other finger foods like Thai corn fritters.
However you have them, these Thai basil pork meatballs with peanut sauce have a nice slightly aromatic flavor and the peanut-basil sauce is packed with deliciousness that makes for some great eating. I for one will be making them all again and hope you'll give them a try. Then come back for more.
Like peanut flavors? Try these:
- Chicken satay with peanut sauce
- Lime peanut sauce stir fry
- Thai-style leftover chicken Buddha bowl
- Chicken satay burgers
- Plus get more appetizer recipes in the archives.
Thai basil meatballs with peanut-basil sauce
For the meatballs
- ¾ lb ground pork 340g pork mince
- 1 tablespoon Thai basil finely chopped
- 1 lime zest ie zest of 1 lime
- ½ onion small, or ¼ large, finely diced
- salt and pepper
For the sauce
- 2 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Thai basil finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemongrass minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced, 1-2 cloves
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar
- To make the meatballs, put the ground pork/pork mince in a bowl and add the Thai basil, lime zest onion and some salt and pepper. Mix well to ensure the seasonings are well distributed - I find this works best getting your hands in there.
- Form the meatballs into little balls - I do this using a tablespoon measure and scooping out slightly heaped spoonfuls then rolling them in my hands to smooth them out.
- Make the sauce by mixing together all of the sauce ingredients and stirring so that there are no lumps and the sugar dissolves.
- Cook the meatballs by heating a large skillet/frying pan over a medium heat and add a little vegetable oil. Fry the meatballs for a couple minutes on at least two sides, but ideally three or four until they go slightly brown but don't burn.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
See all the other porky recipes being shared as part of this month's Foodie Extravaganza:
Pork and Apple Pie by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Pork Chops with Spiced Apples by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Mojo Shredded Pork with Black Beans and Rice by Our Good Life
Parmesan Spinach Stuffed Pork Loin by Cooking with Carlee
Pork Meatball Mini Subs by The Freshman Cook
Chili Verde Pork Posole by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Pork Schnitzel by Making Miracles
Spicy Sticky Pork Ribs by Food Lust People Love
Sweet and Sour Pork by Tara's Multicultural Table