Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: Thai Turkey Meatballs in a Red Curry Peanut Sauce

Meatballs are one of my favorite things, but I don't make them as often as I'd like. They're not as time consuming as some dishes, but they're also not something I generally feel like making after a long day at work or a busy weekend day running errands.

When I do make meatballs, I stick with the classic Italian variety a lot of the time. I mean, spaghetti and meatballs is total comfort food. However, I also really like to switch it up and experiment with different flavors. (And as I was writing that I realized that I've never posted a recipe for classic Italian meatballs, nor have I even posted any meatball recipes using anything other than turkey. I guess I'll have to change that at some point!)

Today's meatballs once again fall under the turkey category. And, as you probably guessed from what was said above (and the title of this post, obviously!), they're not classic Italian meatballs.

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It's no secret that we love curry in our house. I've only posted a couple of curry recipes in the past (including the ridiculously simple Green Curry Chicken that is Eric's absolute favorite meal), but we make it quite a bit. We also get Thai and Indian food out a lot, and often order different types of curry at those restaurants.

Anyway, the point is that we love curry ... So obviously I'm always very open to trying new curry recipes at home.

I'll admit, though, that I really wasn't expecting to be blown away by this recipe. I thought it would be pretty good, but sometimes peanut sauces are too sweet or overpowering. I wanted to give it a try (mostly because we had all of the ingredients on hand with the exception of green onions, fresh cilantro, and coconut milk), but I didn't know if it would even end up on the blog. 

I have a few other recipes I made a while ago that I still need to post, but I bumped this one up to this week because it was that good. I felt like I had to post it immediately! 

The sauce wasn't very spicy at all (though you can certainly make it spicier by adding more Sriracha), and it was sweet without being too sweet. The flavors of the coconut milk, red curry paste, and peanut butter blended perfectly so that one ingredient wasn't overpowering the rest. Eric even commented that he liked that the flavor of the peanut butter wasn't too strong. You can taste it, of course, but it's not the only thing you'll taste. 

As far as meatballs go, this recipe came together pretty quickly. I read somewhere (probably a food blog, but I can't remember which one) that Asian style meatballs should be blended in a food processor instead of being mixed by hand like a more traditional meatball. I have no idea whether or not this is actually true, but I took that advice and mixed these up in my food processor. I was kind of worried that they wouldn't stay together as I was shaping them because they seemed pretty fragile (and wet and mushy, but that just sounds completely unappetizing), but they were fine after I baked them. 

The sauce was also really simple. It only uses a few ingredients, and is done in just a few minutes. (Clearly a win!)

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Thai Turkey Meatballs in a Red Curry Peanut Sauce

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Jo Cooks.

Ingredient List (Meatballs):
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 3-4 green onions, white parts removed (You can chop these if you want, but since I mixed my meatballs in the food processor, I didn't bother. They'll get chopped up and mixed in with the rest of the ingredients so you really don't need to chop them yourself unless you're planning to mix your meatballs by hand.)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (Again, you can chop this up if you're planning to mix by hand, but otherwise I say be lazy and dump it into the food processor. Why do more work when your kitchen appliances can do it for you?)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions (Meatballs):

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, coat with cooking spray, and set aside.

3.  If you're using a food processor to mix the meatballs, add the ground turkey, green onions, fresh cilantro, fish sauce, red curry paste, Panko breadcrumbs, egg, sea salt, and black pepper to the food processor and blend until everything is combined. (This shouldn't take long.) If you're mixing the meatballs by hand, simply add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and start combining them with your hands.

4.  Once the ingredients have been mixed together, begin shaping the meat mixture into meatballs. I'm not great at making meatballs that are perfectly uniform, but I managed to get a total of 18 meatballs out of this.

5.  Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, making sure to keep them as evenly spaced as possible.

6.  Bake the meatballs in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked and the meatballs are beginning to brown a bit. (30 minutes was the perfect amount of time for mine.)

Ingredient List (Red Curry Peanut Sauce):

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 14 oz. can coconut milk (I used lite coconut milk.)
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 heaping tbsp peanut butter (I used crunchy because that's the variety we always buy. I worried that it might make the sauce too chunky, but I really didn't notice the tiny pieces of peanut while I was eating so I think it blended into the sauce pretty well. You can kind of see the peanut pieces in the pictures, but, like I said, they didn't make the sauce too chunky or crunchy. I say use whatever type of peanut butter you normally like to eat.)
  • 2 tsp Sriracha (You can always adjust the heat of the sauce by adding more or less. I know everyone's definition of "spicy" is a little different, but neither Eric nor I thought the sauce was very spicy at all at this level.)

Instructions (Red Curry Peanut Sauce):

1.  Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

2.  Once the oil is heated, add the red curry paste and cook for about a minute.

3.  Add the coconut milk, brown sugar, peanut butter, and Sriracha, stirring constantly until the peanut butter, curry paste, and brown sugar have blended well into the coconut milk.

4.  Turn the heat to low and allow the sauce to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Since it only takes a few minutes for the sauce to cook, you don't really need to start making it until about 10-12 minutes before the meatballs have finished baking.)

5.  Once the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce and gently stir. Add additional fresh cilantro (if desired), and allow the meatballs to simmer in the sauce for about 3-5 minutes.

I served these meatballs over jasmine rice with a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower. So good!


  1. These sound yummy. We had meatballs in one of the blue apron meals I made a few weeks ago (had a coupon...) and my husband suggested we have meatballs more often. So perfect timing, thanks! :)

  2. i am definitely trying this. i made meatballs once and they were horrid. so now i buy frozen ones because they are less horrid (tasting, definitely worse for you). i am always struggling to find things to make with turkey - we basically make some variation of tacos or burritos and pasta, that's it. gets old fast! so i will be trying this for sure.