Pork and LemonGrass Meatballs in Lettuce Cups

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Recipe courtesy of: Nancy Josland Dalsin

Ingredients:

1 pound ground pork
...1 lemongrass stalk, bottom 5 inches only, smashed with rolling pin, then minced
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

Dipping Sauce and Assembly

1 lemongrass stalk
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons coarsely grated carrot
4 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar (needs it to balance the sour and salty flavours)
2 teaspoons minced green Thai chile or serrano chile with seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 head of butter lettuce leaves separated
1 small Cucumber, thinly sliced

*Fish Sauce can be found in the Asian foods section of most supermarkets.

Meatballs Directions:

Chill pork in freezer while making lemongrass paste. Combine lemongrass, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining ingredients in processor; pulse until paste forms. Add chilled pork; pulse to blend. Shape into 24 balls (each about 1 tablespoonful0> Place on rimmed baking sheer. Cover; chill at lease 1 or or overnight.

Dipping Sauce and Assembly
Cut bottom 3 inches from lemongrass. Smash with rolling pin, then mince. Measure 1 tablespoon and place in small bowl (reserve the rest for another use). Add lime juice, fish sauce, cilantro, carrot, sugar and chile to bowl; whisk until sugar dissolves.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs; brown until cooked through, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer to 1 side of large platter.
Arrange lettuce leaves and cucumber on platter with meatballs. Allow guests to place meatballs in leaves, garnish with cucumber and drizzle dipping sauce over.
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