Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Kevin Crafts
Prep Time
1 Hour
Serves 6 as an appetizer (makes 18 to 20 meatballs)

For extra-crispy meatballs, roll them in panko before pan-frying; you'll need a little more oil.

How to Make It

Step 1

Make sauce: In a bowl, stir together all ingredients until sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Step 2

Make meatballs: In a large bowl, combine egg white, onions, cilantro, ginger, pepper, salt, and cabbage. Stir in panko. Add shrimp and pork, breaking up with your fingers, and mix well with your hands. Chill until mixture is firm enough to shape, about 15 minutes. With wet hands, roll meat mixture into 1 1/2-in. balls.

Step 3

Heat oil in a heavy 12-in. frying pan (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat. Cook meatballs until well browned all over, turning as needed, 8 to 10 minutes total. With a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to paper towels, then to a platter.

Step 4

Serve with lettuce leaves, dipping sauce, and daikon and carrot.

Step 5

Mastering meatballs. They sound rustic, but they're delicate things that suffer from over-handling. Here are tips for making them come out right.

Step 6

Mixing: Always start by mixing the bread crumbs (which keep the meatballs from getting tough), any liquids, and seasonings—then add the meat. Stop when the mixture looks evenly blended; don't overwork it.

Step 7

Forming: Dampen your hands with cold water to keep the meat mixture from sticking while you roll it into balls. If it's still sticky, let it sit for a few minutes in the fridge.

Step 8

Browning: A good crust helps meatballs retain their shape—important if they're going to simmer in a thick sauce. If you plan to eat them on their own or add them to broth, though, a light pan-frying will do the trick.

Step 9

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Ratings & Reviews

KristineA's Review

April 01, 2011
These were delicious! I made it as a main meal, not an appetizer. I only had two (boneless)pork chops in the freezer, but 4 people to feed. I also had a small amount of frozen shrimp- again, not enough for a full meal, so I figured this was the perfect recipe... and it was!! I used my food processor to chop up the pork chops and shrimp and followed the meatball recipe as posted. I made the dipping sauce as well as a peanut sauce I've made for pork balls in the past (we like the peanut sauce better on the meatballs and the dipping sauce better on the brown rice I made to go with this) and served it with brown rice and salad green, as I didn't have any nappa cabbage. We will definitely make this again! It was really good and really easy!

lilmel978's Review

January 12, 2011
This recipe was awesome! I loved the flavors. It was fun and different. It was a big hit at my house.

capentalc's Review

September 14, 2012
Super easy to make and oh so tasty! I never write reviews for food before but my kids and I love this recipe so much I had to let everyone know how wonderful it was. Awesome!

JessicaJJM's Review

February 22, 2014
Very, very good. I changed the recipe a bit by adding yellow curry, Chinese 5 spice and a bit of minced garlic. I also deep fried them in a small (Fry Daddy) deep fryer at 350 degrees for 6 minutes, rather than frying them in a pan per the recipe. That really alleviated any breakage issues and provided nicely shaped meatballs with a nice brown crunchy shell. A little wasabi on the side of the plate made for a fun zing.

bellcomstock's Review

January 11, 2014
We loved this! I was worried about the quantity, but it served 4 nicely as a light dinner. Do NOT skip the sauce -- it tastes just like the sauce in my local Vietnamese restaurant.

Joodeee's Review

April 03, 2010
Outstanding! Used ground turkey instead of pork and regular radishes instead of daikon just because that's what I had. The second time I made it I doubled the recipe, shaped it into logs before chilling, then sliced and sauteed like crabcakes. That saved some time and they disappeared...the dipping sauce is essential.

rviratos's Review

October 31, 2011