Most people who have tried these at a restaurant will tell you that beef balls are an acquired taste. It’s not not even the taste so much as the texture. Rubbery, and almost crunchy is the first thing to come to mind… making one wonder what exactly these “balls” are made of.
They’re widely used in soups and noodle soups and are probably the cheapest meat product you’ll find in the freezer section of an asian grocery. While I’ve acquired the taste for them, I’ve always wondered if I could make them better at home. Since I was planning to make Thai beef noodle soup for dinner, I thought it would be a great chance to try my hand at it.
I’m pleased to report that even you beef ball haters should find these agreeable (provided you’re not a beef hater in general). They’re soft, slightly fluffy with just enough elasticity to give them some texture. I flavored them with some garlic and cilantro so they’re even good on their own with a little squeeze of lime.
For the photo, I just sliced up some avocado, and made a sauce out of Thai sweet chili sauce, fish sauce and some lime juice that I drizzled on top.
1 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic crushed
a couple sprigs of cilantro
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp finely ground white pepper
1/4 Tsp kosher teaspoon salt
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs vegetable oil
Just toss all the ingredients in a food processor and process until it’s a smooth paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times.
Boil a large pot of water. Rub some oil on your hands then start making the meat balls. I actually start dropping them strait into the water, but if you do this, it’s a good idea to have someone watching and removing them as they cook. Otherwise you can place them on parchment paper until you’re ready to add them all to the water. They cook in about 5 minutes (depending on how big you make them) and you’ll notice that they grow in size and float as they cook (due to the baking powder).
Serve them as an appetizer or as a main with some rice. They’re also marvelous in noodle soups. If you think you won’t be able to get through all of them in a few days, you can freeze some once they’ve cooled off.