Spiced pork patties in lettuce leaves

The cool, crisp quality of the lettuce leaves is what makes this dish so pleasing to eat. The point is the contrast of refreshing lettuce leaves to hot, spicy meatballs. Try tucking in a few fresh mint leaves when you wrap the patties in the lettuce.


Serves 4

4 spring onions, roughly chopped
4 small, hot red chillies and their seeds, chopped
A thumb sized lump of ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 thick stalks of lemon grass
The stalks and leaves of a small bunch of coriander
100g slice of smoked pancetta or fatty bacon, roughly diced
500g minced pork
A little vegetable or groundnut oil for frying
16 large, crisp lettuce leaves
A few mint leaves (optional)


Achieving the perfect results

  1. Put the spring onions, chillies, grated ginger, garlic and lemon grass and coriander in a food processor and blitz until all is finely chopped and well mixed.
  2. Scrape out into a large basin and put the pancetta into the processor and whiz until it is a coarse mush.
  3. Add it to the spice paste with the minced pork. Mix everything together, it is easiest with your hands, grinding in some salt and black pepper as you go. Set aside for about half an hour for the flavours to mingle.
  4. Pat the seasoned pork into about 16 small patties.
  5. Pour a little oil into a heavy, shallow pan, just enough to cover the bottom then, when it is hot, add half of the meatballs and let them cook for several minutes over a high heat, turning them half way through. You want them to go nicely brown and sticky on the outside.
  6. Remove them from the pan, which is easiest with a pair of kitchen tongs, and put them on kitchen paper to drain, then onto a warm serving plate.
  7. Carefully wash the lettuce leaves and put them on a serving plate. Put the pork patties on a dish and bring to the table.
  8. Wrap each pork ball in a lettuce leaf to make a little parcel and eat immediately.

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