Looking for a twist on the classic Banh Mi? I have a twist that is going to knock your socks off! Banh Mi Meatballs served over top of rice is currently my new favorite Asian dish.
Don't know what Banh Mi is? I didn't either until about 5 years ago when we were out in Portland visiting some friends. They told us to go to this little Asian market and to make sure we got the Banh Mi sandwiches. My husband and I agreed and man am I glad we did!
Translated literally, Banh Mi means bread in Vietnamese. Typically Banh Mi is served on a baguette sliced lengthwise filled with some type of meat and vegetables. The vegetables are traditionally cucumber slices, cilantro, pickled carrots and radish, then some type of spicy chilies on top.
I've never actually made Banh Mi myself because I just didn't think I could do it justice. The few times I've had it I've found it to have so many different flavors that blend together into the perfect sandwich. So when I saw a recipe for Banh Mi Meatballs I figured I could have all of those flavors in a unique recipe that would be so different from the sandwich version it wouldn't matter if it didn't taste exactly the same.
I'm so glad I made these meatballs. The recipe I found used store bought meatballs but I made mine from scratch and used the carrots, cilantro, and soy sauce found in the Banh Mi sauce which really brought the whole dish together. Do yourself a favor and make the pickled onions because it only takes a few minutes but it takes this dish to a whole other level.
I made the pickled onions as the meatballs cooked. They are easy to make and you can leave them in the refrigerator for a week or two to use on other things such as salads and sandwiches. It's just red onion, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and salt.
The sauce is so simple to make. It's just sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and fish sauce. That's it but it makes a sticky and delicious sauce that is awesome over top of homemade meatballs.
Finally you top the meatballs with the sticky sauce, shredded carrots, pickled jalapenos, pickled red onions, and fresh cilantro. Place everything over top of rice and you are finished!
My husband and I gobbled these up! The flavors were amazing. When I make these again I'm making a double batch so we can have plenty leftover for the next day.
Pro Tips & Substitutions:
- You can add shredded carrots and radishes to the vinegar mixture with the onions to make them pickled as well.
- You can use store bought meatballs if you are in a pinch but it will affect the flavor.
- Want to turn this into a sandwich? Put the meatballs, pickled onions, carrots, and cilantro on a baguette.
For the Meatballs:
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 T. sweet chili sauce
- 1 T. soy sauce
- 3 T. breadcrumbs
- 1 T. cilantro, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
For the pickled onions:
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 c. vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
- 2 T. sugar
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
For the sauce:
- ½ c. sweet chili sauce
- ⅓ c. teriyaki sauce
- 1 T. fish sauce
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 1 c. shredded carrots
- ¼ c. cilantro, chopped
- 2 T. pickled jalapenos
- 4 c. cooked jasmine rice
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs and mix until just combined.
- Roll the meatballs into 1 ½ inch balls and place on 2 baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes, flipping them over after 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Meanwhile, make the pickled onions by placing all ingredients for the onions in a small saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the meatballs to the saucepan with the sauce and toss to coat.
- To serve divide the rice between 4 dishes. Divide the meatballs between the 4 plates and place on top of the rice.
- Sprinkle the meatballs with the carrots, jalapenos, cilantro, and pickled onions.
Recipe adapted from A Farmgirl's Dabbles
Remaining pickled onions can be put in a jar and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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