This is a famous dish along the Yangtze, with regional variations.
In Shanghai, the sauce will be sweet and sour. In Chongqing, it
will be hot and spicy. And in Wuhan…well, it will depend on the
season and the mood of the chef.
Makes 10 meatballs, for 5 main-dish or 10 appetizer servings
1 cup “lite” coconut milk
2 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 pound lean ground pork or beef
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup minced leek, white and pale green part only
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons seeded and minced fresh chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium head Boston or iceberg lettuce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or Thai basil
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1. Combine coconut milk, soy sauce and curry powder in a large saucepan. Set aside.
2. Place pork (or beef), scallions, leek, cornstarch, flour, sesame oil, ginger, chile, salt and pepper in a
large mixing bowl. Knead by hand until thoroughly combined and the mixture becomes sticky. Divide
into 10 equal portions, about 1/4 cup each. Roll each portion into a ball.
3. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat the sides. Add the
meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate
lined with paper towels.
4. Bring the coconut-milk mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs; cover, reduce
heat to low and cook for 8 minutes.
5. Line a serving bowl with lettuce leaves. Arrange the meatballs on top. Garnish with basil and lemon
zest. Serve hot with the coconut-milk sauce drizzled over the top or on the side for dipping.
Per meatball: 115 calories; 7 g fat (3 g sat, 1 g mono); 26 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrate; 10 g protein;
1 g fiber; 297 mg sodium; 83 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (15% daily value).
0 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 1 1/2 lean meat, 1/2 vegetable
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate the meatball mixture (Step 2) for up to 2 days.