Reprinted from Blue Apron
This Vietnamese dish is traditionally served with a plate of fresh herbs, which usually include cilantro, Thai basil and bean sprouts. To these, we’re adding shiso leaves, a Japanese herb with a slightly minty, spiced taste. This array of greens transforms the dish, each herb adding distinctive fragrances and flavors. Feel free to customize your meal and try different combinations.
Serves 2; about 670 calories per serving
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Peel and mince the garlic and shallot. Pick the cilantro and Thai basil leaves off the stems.
In a medium bowl, combine ground pork, Panko breadcrumbs and half of both the shallot and hoisin sauce; season with salt and pepper. Roll the mixture into 18 small (golf-ball-sized) meatballs.
In a small pot, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the garlic, bird’s eye chili and remaining shallot, and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Stir in the rice vinegar, brown sugar, 2 cups of water and remaining hoisin sauce, and cook 3 to 5 minutes to develop the flavors and dissolve the sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the medium pot of water is boiling, add the rice noodles. Cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
While the noodles cook, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. (You can easily test the meatballs by removing one and cutting it in half.) Transfer to a plate.
Rinse the cooked rice noodles under hot water to loosen them, then divide between 2 bowls and top each with half of both the meatballs and sauce. Garnish with the bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil and shiso (tearing the leaves before adding, if you’d like). Enjoy!