Fideos and Spicy Chicken Meatballs Recipe

Toasted fideos and smoky chicken meatballs sop up a bright and tangy tomato sauce in this twist on spaghetti and meatballs.
September 25, 2020, 11:00am
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Serves 6
Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour


for the meatballs:
2 poblano chiles
1 jalapeño 
½ medium red onion
¼ cup|60 ml olive oil 
1 pound|454 grams ground chicken 
1 cup|60 grams panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup|15 grams cup finely chopped cilantro 
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
½ teaspoon cayenne 
½ teaspoon ground cumin 
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1 lime, zested and juiced

for the tomato sauce and fideos:  
1 ½ pounds|685 grams ripe tomatoes (or heirloom if you’re feeling fancy and they’re in season), roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled 
½ medium red onion, roughly chopped 
¼ cup|60 ml olive oil
7 ounces|200 grams fideos or vermicelli
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 tablespoon tomato paste 
¼ cup|60 ml heavy cream 
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
crumbled cotija cheese, to serve
lime wedges and cilantro leaves, for garnish



  1. Make the meatballs: Heat the oven to broil. Toss the poblanos, jalapeño, and onion with 2 tablespoons of the oil on a baking sheet. Broil, flipping once, until charred, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel, discarding the skins and seeds, and finely chop. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with the ground chicken, panko, cilantro, salt, coriander, paprika, cayenne, cumin, garlic, egg, lime zest, and juice.
  2. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on the baking sheet. Form the chicken mixture into about 36 balls and place on the baking sheet. Broil until the meatballs are brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Make the tomato sauce: Purée the tomatoes, garlic, and onion in the bowl of a blender or food processor until smooth.
  4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add the fideos and, working in batches, cook until they are golden and toasted, about 4 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fideos to a bowl.
  5. Add the butter to the saucepan to melt, then stir in the tomato paste. Cook until dark and caramelized, about 1 minute. Add the reserved tomato purée and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, then cook until the tomato purée has reduced slightly, about 8 minutes. Add the toasted fideos and the cream and cook until the fideos are tender, about 6 minutes more. Add the meatballs and their juices and season with salt and pepper.
  6. To serve, divide the fideos among plates and top with a few meatballs. Sprinkle with the cotija and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

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