Virtually every culture has its variation on the concept of savory orbs of seasoned ground meat, fried or baked or grilled or braised. In Southeast Asia, the meat might be pork, made luscious with shallots, fish sauce, sugar, and mint, and cupped in lettuce leaves for eating out of hand. In the Middle East, they might be made of lamb, heady with ground cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, and wrapped like cigars around skewers for grilling. In Mexico, they’re dunked in chile sauce; in Scandinavia, bathed in cream. Point your compass, and you’ll find them wrapped in greens, floated in soup, seasoned and seared, spiced and speared.
Begin on more familiar turf with Mama’s Meatball Sliders and Italian Wedding Soup —our riffs on two Neapolitan-American classics. Then venture east for Vietnamese Pork Meatballs and flavor-packed Lamb Kofta. No matter what global corner they come from or how exotic their accents, meatballs say “home” in the world’s most glorious language—good food.
For more meatball making ideas, see the videos below:
—By Laraine Perri