Vietnamese Meatballs

wrapped in fresh basil

Ripasso is enriched by the remaining fruit from production of the luxurious Amarone wines of Valpolicella.  Thus a flavoursome accompaniment required.  These meatballs are zingy with the Asian flavour of fish sauce (it may sound awful but they are really good!), rich from the beef and a fresh basil leaf finish – the proof is in the pudding!

Watch the video below for a real life ‘how to’!

Vietnamese Meatball


  • 1 pack minced beef – or even better get a sirloin steak minced at the butcher.
  • 3-6 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil – nice big leaves ideally
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Sprinkle of Chinese 5 spice if you have it
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handfuls of peanuts
  • Tip your minced beef into a large bowl and break it up.  Aside from the basil leaves, add all the ingredients and ‘mush’ with your hands, as though you were kneading in the flavours.
  • Even though you have the soy in the mix, I’d still add a couple of sprinkles of salt – canapés are dinky and you need flavour.
  • Roll the meatballs to smaller than a ping pong ball but larger than a marble.  Let’s say a small Brussel sprout.
  • Crush your peanuts in a pestel and mortar or use a rolling pin.  Dry fry them in a pan until they are slightly brown and then transfer them to a clean bowl. NB.  Nuts can burn easily, so keep any eye.
  • Heat a few drops of oil in a frying pan – ground nut is good, or vegetable – it’s going to get quite hot so I wouldn’t use olive oil  (but it’s not going to ruin it if you do).  Place your meatballs in the pan (10 or so at a time so they have space to roll around and cook all over). 4-6 mins in the pan should do it.
  • Once they are browned and a little crispy all over, remove to rest and do the next batch. Cover the resting meatballs so they stay warm.
  • Now (and most importantly), wrap your meatballs in a basil leaf and skewer with a cocktail stick – or just serve the meatball on top, as we did.  Finally, sprinkle over the roasted peanuts and Bob’s your uncle!

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