I saw this recipe for Thai beef skewers with basil salad in a magazine and decided to adapt it a little. I made meatballs instead of skewers and cooked them in the oven instead of grilling them; I used more beef; I used less basil in the salad because it would have been overpowering to me; and I served it with rice with gomashio. I would recommend using only 3 teaspoons of fish sauce for 2 pounds of meat, because fish sauce is very pungent and I notice that most recipes call for slightly too much for my taste. As it was, though, the Little Prince had seconds, the Fox eventually agreed to taste them and then ate some, and The Engineer and I really liked it too!
1 ½ lb. ground beef (80% lean; I used 2 lbs.)
½ cup plain breadcrumbs
¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus 3 cups (loosely packed) whole leaves (I had less)
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
4 tsp. fish sauce (I would use 3 tsp. for 2 lbs. of meat)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks or shredded
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
cooked white rice, for serving (optional; I made jasmati rice with gomashio)
In a medium bowl, gently mix the beef, breadcrumbs, chopped basil, egg, ginger, fish sauce, and garlic. Using damp hands, form the meat into 24 balls that are 1 ¼ inches in size (I made mine smaller, with about 1 heaping tablespoon of mixture each, and got a total of maybe 55). Using your palms, flatten the balls into 1-inch-thick disks. Thread the disks onto 8 skewers. (If using bamboo skewers, soak them in warm water for 30 minutes before grilling.)
Heat a grill pan over medium-high. Grease the pan. Grill the skewers, turning occasionally, until the meat is cooked through, 9 to 11 minutes. (Instead, I cooked them for 15 minutes at 375 °F.)
Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, toss the carrots, scallions, lime juice, and basil leaves (I prefer more carrots than basil); season the salad with salt and pepper.
Serve the skewers with the salad, lime wedges, and rice (if using).