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Vietnamese Kebobs with Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese kebobs baked on sticks dipped in a potent dipping sauce with a little heat.

Get the kids involved

Economical and fun to make, this ground meat dish is a little exotic.  Get the kids involved in shaping the kebabs.  Once baked, let them have fun dipping and eating the meat on a chopstick.  Change this up by using this kebob technique with other meat mixtures.

If your running behind and don’t have time to bake a meatloaf, this kebob method cooks in short order.

Recipe: Vietnamese Kebobs with Dipping Sauce

Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 17 Minutes per Batch | Yield: 24 Kebobs | Level: Easy

Vietnamese-Kebobs-with-Dipping-SauceKebob Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, smashed
  • 1 tsp fresh Thai chili pepper, finely chopped

Meat Sticks

  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp lime zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp fresh Thai chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 12 chopsticks
  • lettuce
  • basil and cilantro leaves

1 Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2 Pull apart the chopsticks to make 24 sticks and soak in water for 20 minutes.

3 In the meantime, in a small bowl combine fish sauce, water, lime juice, sugar, vinegar, garlic and chili stirring to dissolve sugar.  Set aside to let flavors meld.

4 Puree onion and garlic in food processor and place in large bowl.  Add beef, pork, bread crumbs, milk, egg, zest, basil, cilantro, chili and pepper.  Mix with large spoon or fingers until just combined.  Don’t over mix.

5 Form meat into narrow loaves (about 1/4 cup each) and slide onto chopsticks.

6 Bake on non-stick foil lined baking sheet at 450 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

7 Place kebabs on lettuce leaves and garnish with basil and cilantro leaves.  Serve with dipping sauce.

When buying fish sauce, buy a good quality bottle.  It only costs a few dollars but it will be worth it.  It keeps well and makes a good base for a fish marinate.

Unseasoned rice vinegar does not have sugar or salt. To substitute seasoned rice vinegar reduce the sugar to a scant 2 teaspoons.  If too salty, add a few drops of water to balance flavor.

Fresh Thai chili are small, red peppers that pack a fair amount of heat.  The color is festive in the dipping sauce and the kebobs.  Chop up the chilis for both the dipping sauce and the meat mixture at the same time.  Use more or less depending on the amount of heat preferred.

Onion and garlic may also be grated.  Use a box grater for the onion and a microplane grater for the garlic.

24 skewers may also be used in place of chopsticks.

Freeze uncooked kebabs for later use by laying them on a wax paper or parchment lined tray.  Once frozen put them in a freezer zip bag.  Thaw in fridge overnight and bake as directed or bake frozen kebabs for 20-23 minutes or until done in the center.

Roll meat mixture into meatballs and bake in the oven on a baking sheet for 15-17 minutes or until cooked through. Serve as an appetizer with dipping sauce.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange Thai chili peppers for jalapenos.
  • Use all pork or all beef.

InspirationMartha Stewart
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: May 18, 2012

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3 Responses to Vietnamese Kebobs with Dipping Sauce

  1. helenhorton May 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Enjoy the Vietnamese dipping sauce. It is low in calories.

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