Hello dear reader,
Week two of the new year and everyone is going diet-crazy, whether planning to eat healthier or to lose weight.
When I think of healthy food my thoughts often turn to Southeast Asia, where many dishes are light and low in fat but packed full of flavour by the addition of delicious goodies like chillies, ginger, citrus and herbs.
Vietnam was ruled as a French colony until it finally gained its independence in 1954. There are still many French influences in Vietnamese cuisine and chief of these has to be Bánh Mì, which are Vietnamese baguette sandwiches.
Vietnamese baguettes are lighter, airier and crisper than their French counterpart but are difficult to find, certainly in Scotland anyway. A French baguette makes for a decent substitute, unless of course you are serving them to someone who is Vietnamese!
Here is my quick and easy recipe for healthy, delicious pork meatball Bánh Mì.
Vietnamese-style Pork Meatballs – recipe
1lb lean pork mince
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
1 tbsp soy sauce
grated zest of ½ lime
juice of 1 lime
1 inch root ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded & finely chopped
1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
1) Mix cornflour, black pepper & sugar together in a large bowl.
2) Add fish sauce, soy sauce, lime zest, lime juice, ginger and garlic. Mix well.
3) Add spring onions, red chilli and coriander. Mix well.
4) Add pork and mix again.
5) Form the mixture into about 20 pork balls, each about the size of a golf ball, using wet hands so the mixture doesn’t stick.
6) Place on a lightly greased baking tray and chill for at least half an hour.
7) Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F, Gas Mark 4) for about 25 minutes until golden in colour, turning once during cooking.
Serve with accompaniments of sliced tomatoes, torn coriander leaves, finely sliced spring onion and shredded lettuce.
Add a little bowl of sauce – this could be simple sweet chilli sauce or rustle up this (incredibly inauthentic) quick creamy sweet chilli sauce…
Creamy sweet chilli sauce – quick “recipe”
Mix together 2 tbsp low fat mayonnaise, 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce and grated zest of ½ lime.
If you want to be really healthy, or are dieting, serve with whole lettuce leaves as wraps.
Otherwise serve in baguettes, as Bánh Mì.
Sorry my picture is a bit fuzzy – I was so keen to get to the table to start munching my Bánh Mì that I didn’t take the time for proper camera focusing! Shows you how tasty they are!
Remember healthy, low fat food doesn’t have to be boring. This dish zings with a whole host of fresh vibrant flavours!
P.S. I am entering my Bánh Mì into an exciting bloggers’ challenge run by Chris from Germany. Chris’s blog Cooking Around the World is all about his love of world cuisine. In his Bloggers Around the World challenge he chooses a new country each month for us to explore digitally and the country Chris has chosen for us all to visit this month is Vietnam. I can’t claim my Bánh Mì to be authentically Vietnamese but they do burst with the beautiful flavours of Vietnam.