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This is my sister’s recipe for Luk sien, meatballs. These are the type of meatballs used in soups, grilled, and drizzled with sweet chili sauce, or deep fried served in a wrap. They are very versatile and are nice to have in the freezer for impromptu pho days or for topping an easy instant noodle weeknight.  My dad enjoys these with his mee mama.

The best part about this recipe is that pretty much all of the ingredients aside from the meat itself are pantry ingredients. If you have meat on hand, you can definitely whip these up fairly quickly. It’s bouncy in texture, but not quite as tight as store bought, which I also like.

Meatballs – craftstocrumbs


Meat – these can be made with beef or pork. I have not tried it yet with chicken or seafood but will update once I do. Use whatever meat is in your budget/diet. Find a fairly lean cut. When you cut the meat into cubes, you could remove the fat if you ended up with a cut that wasn’t lean.

Cold – make sure the water and meat are cold. It will help make the meatballs more manageable/workable. Chill the meat after you cut it and chill it again after you process it.

Batches – this recipe is for one pound of meat. If you plan on making more than one pound at a time. Work with the one pound at a time in the food processer. You can then place all in a container and freezer together before shaping and cooking. One pound of meat yields about 2 dozen 1-inch meatballs.

Par cooked – these are par cooked. Additional cooking is done when you use them in your recipes such as in the soup or grilling.   

Storage – if not using immediately, you can store them in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 to 4 months.

Luk Sien – Meatballs

Yields: approximately 24 1-inch size meatballs

1 lb beef/pork – fairly lean cut – I used beef round eye roast
½ cup cold water
3 ice cubes
1 tablespoon fish sauce
½ tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon white pepper
½ tablespoon vegetable/canola oil
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon MSG (optional)

• Clean and cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. If you are making more than one pound, cut all the meat and divide into one-pound increments. Place them in the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes.
• In a bowl or a large liquid measuring cup, mix all the other ingredients (do not include the meat). Set this liquid mixture aside.
• Place the semi-frozen/chilled meat into a food processor and pulse a few times. Add in the liquid mixture. Process for 1-2 minutes until the meat mixture turns a lighter pink color and is smooth and fluffy.
• Transfer the mixture into a freezer safe container. If you are making more than a pound. Repeat the steps above and processing until you have used all your meats. Place in the container freeze for an additional 45 minutes that the mixture is easier to work with.
• Bring a large pot of water to just before it boils. If it boils, turn down the heat. Keep it on medium-low heat.
• Remove the meat mixture from the freezer and begin shaping it with your hands. You may find it helpful to grease your hands with a little bit of vegetable/canola oil. You will essentially shape the meat into a ball using the palm of your hand and squeezing it to round it out.
• Use a spoon to scoop out the formed meatball from your hand and drop it straight into the pot of water.
• Make sure to stir the meatballs in the pot to ensure even cooking. Let it cook for a minute or two. They are done once they float and are no longer pink. If you do the squeeze test, the meatball should bounce back. If it flattens or becomes misshaped during the squeeze test, it is not quite done.
• Remove the meatballs from hot water with a slotted spoon and place directly into an ice bath.
• **Note that they are only par cooked. If you plan on consuming immediately, turn the pot of water up to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes more or use in desired recipe.
• It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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