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Vietnamese Pork Meatballs - Nem Nuong 

2 T fish sauce 
1 T vegetable oil 
2 t sugar 
1 small shallot, peeled and minced 
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced 
Freshly ground black pepper to taste 
1 pound ground pork 
2 T potato starch 
Bamboo skewers, soaked for 20 minutes and drained 

Whisk together the fish sauce, oil and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved, stir in the shallot and garlic, season with pepper and stir the meat into the marinade until evenly coated. Refrigerate and marinate for 1 hour. 

Place the pork between the palms of your hands and squeeze tightly to get rid of the excess liquid, then put in a container set in the freezer for 1 hour. Put the partially frozen pork in a food processor and pulse to loosen the meat, about 2 minutes. Add the potato starch and continue pulsing until mixture has a firm, paste-like consistency, about 5 minutes. 

Pinch off about 1 T of the pork paste and form it into a ball, repeat until you have used up the paste (makes 20 meatballs). Cook on a well oiled grill pan over medium high heat by rolling the meatballs around in the pan until they are cooked through (5-7 minutes) and browned. Serves 4-6 

Nuoc Leo (Peanut Dipping Sauce) 

1 T peanut oil 
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced 
1 or more bird's eye or Thai chilies, seeded and minced 
3 ounces unsalted roasted peanuts, finely ground 
1 c chicken broth 
1/3 c unsweetened coconut milk 
1 T hoisin sauce
1 T fish sauce 
1 T sugar 
1 T chopped unsalted roasted peanuts for garnish

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and when hot, add the garlic and chiles and stir fry about 5 minutes until fragrant, add the ground peanuts and stir fry 5 minutes more. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, hoisin sauce, fish sauce and sugar, and bring just to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the oil from the peanuts starts to surface then transfer the sauce to a heatproof serving bowl, garnish with reserved chopped peanuts and serve. Makes about 2 cups.