For some reason I’ve been in the mood for Asian food and have been waiting for the opportunity to try some new recipes. We hosted a dinner party this weekend and for once I didn’t cook Italian food! We started with the pork dumplings that I’ve written about before along with these lettuce cups filled with a diminutive chicken meatball.

This recipe was inspired by one I saw in an old edition of the British magazine Olive. They suggested serving it with a sweet chili sauce and I launched quite a search for a recipe. Before I found one I spied a bottle of this exact thing on a shelf at Trader Joes and decided to go with that instead of making my own.

Vietnamese Chicken Balls

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemongrass,finely chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil for sauteing
Lettuce leaves
Sweet chili sauce

Cut chicken thighs into chunks and process to a fine mince in a food processor. Combine in a mixing bowl with garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and fish sauce. Refrigerate the mixture for at least a half hour. Form into 1-1/4″ balls. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Fry meatballs for about 4 minutes until evenly browned, making sure that they are cooked through (go ahead and try one to make sure). Serve on lettuce leaves and top with sweet chili sauce.

Getting back to the food of Italy-join me in Lucca September 28 to October 5. You will have a ball!

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