Prep 30 mins
Cook 30 mins
Mark Bittman Cooking time is a guesstimate.
- 2 tablespoons oil (neutral)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 lb ground pork
- 10 cups chicken stock (or beef stock)
- 1 teaspoon ground aniseed
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- one 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1⁄4 cup nam pla
- 11 tablespoons sugar
- 1 lb dried rice vermicelli
- 1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed
- 10 fresh cilantro stems
- 10 fresh basil (preferably Thai basil or mint stems)
- 2 fresh chilies, preferably Thai, stemmed, seeded and minced
- 2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- Set large, flameproof casserole or stockpot over medium heat; add oil. A minute later, add garlic and chopped onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine pork and minced onion with a large pinch of salt; form into about 20 small meatballs.
- When onion is cooked, remove with slotted spoon. Add meatballs to pan. Turn heat to high; brown quickly, about 5 minutes. Return onion to the pan along with the stock, anise, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nam pla and sugar.
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the seasonings have married.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles in boiling salted water until tender, just a few minutes. Strain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.
- When meatballs are cooked, add noodles to the broth and reheat them. Divide noodles and meatballs among 6 - 8 serving bowls and pour in the broth. Garnish with bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, chiles and scallions. Serve, squeezing lime juice over all.
This was quick and easy and tasty too! The dish is a little sweet for our tastes (not the fault of the recipe, the fault of our palettes), so next time I would use less sugar. I did enjoy the subtle nuances of flavors from the spices.