Ginger-Sesame Meatballs with Lemongrass Broth



45 min


55 min



Ginger-Sesame Meatballs with Lemongrass Broth

Photography by Christie Vuong; Food Styling by Sage Dakota; Prop Styling by Madeleine Johari.

This soup is an adaptation of bun cha, a Vietnamese noodle salad with meatballs. Adding a fragrant, flavourful broth—thanks to lemongrass, spices and umami-rich soy and fish sauces—warms up this dish, making it perfect for cold weather. While the ginger meatballs are traditionally made with pork, you can substitute with chicken, beef or a plant-based protein as needed. —Joshna Maharaj


  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • soy sauce , to taste
  • fish sauce , to taste


  • 454 g ground meat , (pork, chicken, beef or plant-based subtitute)
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 400-g pkg rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • chili crisp or other chili oil , for garnish


  1. Broth: Trim and peel lemongrass to remove the fibrous outer layer. Using the back of your knife, smash lemongrass in thickest part to release flavour. In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, combine lemongrass, broth, coriander seeds and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer on medium. Simmer until reduced by about a third, 5 to 8 min.
  2. Meatballs: Preheat oven to 425F. To a large bowl, add meat, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and salt. Using your hands, gently mix to combine. Form into meatballs, using about 2 tsp per ball, making 20 total.
  3. Heat canola oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. Add meatballs and cook until browned, 2 min per side. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake until meatballs are cooked through, 10 min. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place noodles in a medium heatproof bowl. Cover noodles with boiling water and set aside until softened, stirring occasionally and checking to ensure noodles stay submerged, 10 to 15 min.
  5. To the pot with broth, add a splash of soy sauce and fish sauce, adjusting to taste. (Look for a nice umami punch from the fish sauce and soy sauce.)
  6. Roughly tear mint and cilantro. Divide cooked noodles among 4 bowls and place 5 meatballs over each pile of noodles. Ladle broth over meatballs and top with fresh herbs and chili crisp.

Kitchen tip

While I prefer to use canola oil in this recipe, any neutral vegetable cooking oil (such as grapeseed or sunflower oil) will work. However, avoid using olive oil, as it has a stronger flavour that will interfere with the taste of the soup.

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