I've never thought of, nor wanted to, change the basic premise of the recipe until I came across the idea of adding lemongrass to the meatballs in "Secrets of the Red Lantern: Stories and Vietnamese Recipes from the Heart." I used my recipe instead, of course. Then I remembered Kirk of Mmm-yoso's Tamarind Cooking School pictures from his trip to Luang Prabang, Laos.
Lemongrass pork-stuffed lemongrass skewers!
Nem Nuong Xa (Vietnamese Lemongrass Grilled Pork Patties)
Inspired by Kirk of Mmm-yoso's Tamarind Cooking School pictures in Luang Prabang, Laos and "Secrets of the Red Lantern: Stories and Vietnamese Recipes from the Heart" and adapted from my recipe for Nem Nuong (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Patties)
For about 8 skewers, you'll need:
About 9 or more lemongrass stalks
1 lb ground pork (Sometimes I do a mix of half pork and half turkey. Grind your own pork if you prefer a firmer, leaner patty. Or just be lazy like me and buy it pre-ground.)
1/2 medium onion, pureed until almost mushy. There should be no visible chunks of onion. (You'll want to omit the onion though if you want your patties to be firm. The water in the onions will soften the meat.)
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pureed with the onions
1 lemongrass stalk, white parts only, finely sliced and pureed
1 tblsps sugar or honey
1 tblsps Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Finely slice and then puree 1 lemongrass stalk, white parts only.
Puree the onion and garlic until fine. Add the lemongrass, onion, and garlic to 1 lb of ground pork, 1 tblsp sugar, 1 tblsp fish sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp ground black pepper. Set aside in fridge.
Clean and wash lemongrass stalks. Trim off roots and tops, saving about three inches of leaves for presentation.
With a sharp knife, cut into the stalk between the roots and tops like the photo below. Turn the lemongrass stalk and keep cutting about every 1/4-inch.
If you separate the cuts, it should look like the photo below.
Stuff the ground meat in between the layers of lemongrass stalk as much as you can. Each stalk should hold about 2 tblsp of meat. Extra meat can be frozen and used later, or rolled into meatballs or patties and cooked on the grill as well.
Grill until cooked.
Pretty cool, yeah?
You can serve the meat patty-filled lemongrass stalks to the guests, or remove them from the stems. Serve with rice or rice paper to be rolled up like my usual nem nuong recipe.
Other dishes from this dinner:
Baked Goat Cheese on Pesto and Tomato Sauce
Sup Ca Chua Dau Xanh (Vietnamese Green Bean and Tomato Egg Drop Soup)
Bo Nuong La Lot (Vietnamese Grilled Beef with Wild Betel Leaves)
Nai Luc Lac (Vietnamese Shaking Venison)
1 year ago today, goi buoi tom (Vietnamese pomelo salad with shrimp).
2 years ago today, best of 2007 recipes from Scallops and Pea Shoots to Tra Atiso (Vietnamese Artichoke Tea).
3 years ago today, dim sum at Restaurant Peony - Oakland.