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Sesame Noodles and Scallion Pork Meatballs

Sesame Noodles and Scallion Pork Meatballs 6.000

Renee Comet for The Washington Post; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick

Sunday Supper Jan 12, 2017

In about an hour and a half, you can have this distinctive pasta dish on the table.

When you're preparing the meatball mixture, be sure to knead it a bit before rolling it into balls. The more you knead it, the firmer it will become.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

  • For the sauce
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped scallions (white and light-green parts)
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, or more as needed
  • 6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (unsalted)
  • Kosher salt
  • For the meatballs and pasta
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions (white and light-green parts)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped cabbage, preferably napa cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, mint or basil, plus extra, chopped, for garnish
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated, peeled fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 pound dried linguine
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth


For the sauce: Combine the water, scallions, hoisin sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, the teaspoon of hot sauce and peanut butter in a blender or mini food processor; puree until smooth. Taste and add salt and/or more hot sauce, as needed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs and pasta: Combine the scallions, ground pork, egg, cabbage, the 2 tablespoons of finely chopped herbs, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, toasted sesame oil and  1/4 teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl. Use your clean hands to mix and knead until well incorporated. Shape into 24 to 26 walnut-size meatballs.

Add enough salt to the boiling water so it tastes lightly salty, then add the linguine to the boiling water; cook for about 6 minutes, or just slightly less than al dente. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water.

Heat half the vegetable oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat.

Once the oil shimmers, add half the meatballs, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes, turning them as needed; they should be browned on all sides and give a little when pressed with a finger. They will not be quite cooked through. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining vegetable oil; once it’s shimmering, cook the remaining meatballs the same way, and transfer to a plate. Reserve the skillet.

While the pasta is cooking, add the broth and sesame peanut sauce to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring with a spatula to dislodge any browned bits. Add the drained linguine; cook for 2 minutes, stirring and adding some of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce, as needed.

Return all the meatballs to the skillet and toss gently to coat. Cook for a few minutes, until heated through.

Divide among shallow bowls. Top each portion with chopped cilantro. Serve right away.

Recipe Source

From cookbook author Sara Moulton.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (using 84 percent lean ground pork): 640

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 29g 45%

Saturated Fat: 7g 35%

Cholesterol: 85mg 28%

Sodium: 690mg 29%

Total Carbohydrates: 67g 22%

Dietary Fiber: 5g 20%

Sugar: 6g

Protein: 31g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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