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Thit Bo Vien (Beef Balls)

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ready in: over 5 hrs
serves/makes:   60

recipe id: 104868

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1/4 cup Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam), PLUS"PLUS" means this ingredient in addition to the one on the next line, often with divided uses
1 tablespoon vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam)
1 tablespoon potato starch, PLUS"PLUS" means this ingredient in addition to the one on the next line, often with divided uses
1 teaspoon potato starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
2 pounds trimmed boneless beef hind shank
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon oriental sesame oil
vegetable oil -- for shaping meatballs


In a shallow dish, mix the fish sauce, potato starch, baking powder, sugar and white pepper.

Slice the meat into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Add to the marinade and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Before proceeding, transfer the meat to the freezer for 30 minutes. Work with half of the beef at a time; do not overload the work bowl.

In a food processor, combine half of the beef with half of the garlic and sesame oil. Process to a completely smooth but stiff paste, about 3 minutes.

Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. The completed paste should spring back to the touch. Transfer the paste to a bowl. Process the remaining beef, garlic and sesame oil the same way.

Rub some vegetable oil on one hand. Grab a handful of the meat paste and close your hand into a fist, squeezing out a small portion of the mixture, about 1 teaspoon, between your thumb and index finger. Keep rolling and squeezing the same portion between your thumb and index finger until you obtain a smooth rounded ball. Scoop out the meatball with an oiled spoon. Repeat until all of the paste is used.

Pour 1 inch of water into a wok or wide pot. Place a steamer rack or bamboo steamer over the water. Arrange the meatballs without crowding in a single layer on the rack. Cover and steam for 5 minutes.

Serve as an appetizer with chili sauce. These beef balls can also be added to a well-seasoned beef broth, sprinkled with chopped scallions and white pepper and served as a soup (noodles may be added).

NOTE: These meatballs may be frozen. Thaw them thoroughly, then steam or simmer in boiling water until just heated through.

From: Nicole Rauthier, "The Foods of Vietnam"

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Nutritional data has not been calculated yet.

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