Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce

Thai turkey meatballs with coconut curry sauce. Photos by Keri White

This dish is a great way to use ground turkey which, let’s be honest, can sometimes be on the dry, bland side.

The curry can be made as spicy or mild as desired and, even though it is a bit exotic, meatballs and noodles are quite familiar, so picky eaters may go for it. I opted to make spice paste, but to simplify the preparation and save time, jarred green curry paste is an excellent hack. Use about a third of a cup of curry paste in place of the garlic/ginger/onion/chilis.

This dish was delicious served atop brown rice noodles, but it would be equally swell over rice. I completed the meal with a miso-dressed salad, but the options for veggie sides are nearly limitless — greens sautéed with ginger and garlic, carrots roasted with soy and miso, cabbage sautéed with sesame oil and sesame seeds, et cetera.

Thai Turkey Meatballs in Coconut Curry Sauce
Serves 2 with leftovers or 4 without

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground turkey
½ cup finely minced onion
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh chili pepper
¼-½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ cup plain panko
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients until thoroughly blended. Refrigerate them while you make the curry sauce.

For the curry sauce:
1 whole hot chili pepper
1 small onion
4 cloves garlic
2-inch piece ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 can coconut milk
½ cup chicken broth

To finish:
Juice of 1 lime, plus additional wedges for serving
1 handful chopped fresh cilantro, divided

In a blender or food processor, puree the chili, onion, garlic, ginger and oil. Pour the mixture into a large skillet, and heat until fragrant. Using wet hands, form the turkey mixture into meatballs a bit smaller than a golf ball, and place the meatballs in the skillet — add more oil to prevent sticking.

Sear the meatballs, and turn them over until they are seared on all sides. During this step, scrape the skillet bottom to make sure the seasonings do not burn and to distribute them among the meatballs.

When all sides of the meatballs are seared, shake the can of coconut milk well, and add it to the skillet along with the chicken broth. Stir carefully, making sure not to break up the meatballs. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until done.

Five minutes before serving, remove it from heat, add half of the cilantro and the juice of one lime. Stir, cover and let it sit for a few minutes.

Serve the meatballs over rice or noodles with additional fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

Green Salad with Miso Dressing
Serves 4

1 head romaine lettuce or 1 package baby lettuce
2 carrots, grated
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 scallion, white and green parts, sliced

For the dressing:
Juice of ½ lime
¼ cup miso (any type)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil

Place all the salad ingredients in a large, shallow bowl. Mix the ingredients well, making sure to break up the miso, and thoroughly blend it to an even consistency, either with a fork or a blender.

Toss it over the salad just before serving.


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