Vietnamese Meatballs (Xiu Mai)

Vietnamese Meatballs Xiu Mai

Vietnamese Meatballs Xiu Mai

In Vietnam, there is no distinction between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some dishes that Westerners would normally eat for lunch or dinner, would also be eaten for breakfast. One of those dishes is Vietnamese meatballs or Xiu Mai. Contrary to what Westerners may think, this is a very popular breakfast food in Vietnam. Xiu Mai is made with a mixture of pork, shrimp and chopped-up jicama. The jicama provides a very subtle crunch to the meatballs, as well as serves as one of the components to keeping the meatballs moist. The meat balls are then braised in a flavorful tomato sauce.

You can eat these meatballs in a baguette (Banh Mi Xiu Mai) with cilantro, cucumber and pickled vegetables. You can also eat it alongside a baguette. Simply tear a piece of the baguette and dip it into a warm bowl of Xiu Mai meatballs and all their juices. It's a tasty and hearty breakfast for a long day ahead.

Vietnamese Meatballs (Xiu Mai) Recipe

For the meatballs: 

  • 1/2 lb shrimp (peeled, deveined, minced)

  • 1 lb fatty ground pork

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 teaspoon cooking wine

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon pork seasoning powder

  • Half yellow or white onion (minced)

  • Half cup of chopped jicama

  1. Combine everything together (except oil) and roll the meat into golf-sized balls.

  2. In a large pan, generously coat with vegetable oil and heat on high.

  3. Sear the meatballs until brown on all sides. You may need to do this in batches to prevent overcrowding.

  4. Remove meatballs from pan and drain excess oil on a plate lined with paper towels.

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 garlic cloves (peel and mince)

  • 3 ripe tomatoes (3/4 lb, diced)

  • 1/4 cup water or chicken broth

  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 green onion (slice)

  1. Marinate pork with the above seasoning and roll it out into golf-ball size meat balls. Set aside.

  2. In a large skillet, heat up vegetable oil on medium high. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add tomatoes and saute together with garlic.

  3. Add water/chicken stock. Let the tomatoes simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Season with sugar, fish sauce and pepper.

  4. Add meatballs to skillet. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with green onions and serve with toasted French baguette.