Vietnamese Beef Balls - (Thit Bo Vien)

Recipe by Nat Da Brat
READY IN: 40mins




  • 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, and 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, and 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.