Apr 20, 2017

Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
The tender, melt-in-your-mouth meatballs are served in a Thai-style coconut red curry sauce that is full of flavor for an Asian twist on meatballs in red sauce.

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The tender, melt-in-your-mouth chicken meatballs are served in a Thai-style coconut red curry sauce that is full of flavor for an Asian twist on meatballs in red sauce. Rather than baking or frying the meatballs, these are braised in the sauce to keep them extremely light and airy. Don’t be scared that the mixture is sticky – this will keep them from being dense. I like to serve this dish alone or over some rice or zucchini noodles.

Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs

A Note on Curry

For those who are skeptical about curry – not all curry is created equal. There is a big flavor difference between Indian and Thai curry. Just because you might not like Indian curry doesn’t mean you won’t like Thai curry dishes. Indian dishes that include curry tend to use a combination of dry spices while Thai curries are a blend of fresh herbs. Give this recipe a try!

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Chicken – I make this recipe using boneless, skinless chicken thighs ground in a food processor with the rest of the meatball ingredients. This recipe can also be mixed in a bowl using ground chicken or pork.
  • Coconut milk – Coconut comes from the creamy liquid inside mature coconuts. It creates a rich, creamy sauce with a bit of coconut flavor. The coconut milk complements the tender chicken and flavorful red curry sauce.
  • Whole peeled tomatoes – Canned whole peeled tomatoes are extremely versatile. They are picked when ripe then cooked and peeled before they are canned and packed in tomato juice or tomato puree. They have a rich tomato flavor perfect for complementing the red curry base in this recipe.
  • Red curry paste – This meal is meant to have some shortcuts for a quick weeknight dinner. Instead of making my own authentic Thai red curry paste, instead I opt to use a store-bought curry paste. My favorite Thai curry paste brand is Mae Ploy which can be found online here or at most Asian markets or Target.
coconut curry chicken meatballs

How to Make Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs

For the coconut curry sauce:

  1. Sauté the onion. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the peanut oil and heat through. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and tender, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in the curry paste. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute before stirring in the red curry paste and sugar. Let cook until the mixture is fragrant, about an additional 30 seconds.
  3. Make the curry sauce. Add the tomatoes and coconut milk to the pot and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer about 30 minutes.
  4. Blend the sauce. Let the sauce cool slightly then transfer the sauce to a blender. Puree the curry sauce then return to the heat. Stir in the fish sauce.

For the chicken meatballs:

  1. Mix panko and milk. In a small bowl stir together the panko and milk and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the ingredients to a food processor. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment add the chicken, panko mixture, onion, garlic, cilantro, egg, lemon, salt, pepper and oil.
  3. Blend the meatball mixture. Pulse until the chicken is ground but not pureed. The mixture will be sticky. Add the mixture to a medium mixing bowl and freeze for 30 minutes.
  4. Shape the meatballs. Gently shape the mixture into 2” meatballs and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

For serving:

  1. Simmer the meatballs. Add the chicken meatballs to the pot and gently stir to coat the meatballs in the sauce. Cover and continue to simmer, until the meatballs are cooked through and tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Serve. Garnish with the cilantro and ladle into bowls.
chicken meatballs in coconut curry sauce

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the coconut curry sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 packed tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 (13½-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

For the chicken meatballs:

  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup coconut milk (or whole milk)
  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1” chunks and frozen for about 30 minutes
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or other neutral oil)

For serving:

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Instructions:

For the coconut curry sauce:

  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the peanut oil and heat through. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and tender, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute before stirring in the red curry paste and sugar. Let cook until the mixture is fragrant, about an additional 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes and coconut milk to the pot and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer about 30 minutes.
  • Let the sauce cool slightly then transfer the sauce to a blender. Puree the curry sauce then return to the heat. Stir in the fish sauce.

For the chicken meatballs:

  • In a small bowl stir together the panko and milk and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment add the chicken, panko mixture, onion, garlic, cilantro, egg, lemon, salt, pepper and oil.
  • Pulse until the chicken is ground but not pureed. The mixture will be sticky. Add the mixture to a medium mixing bowl and freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Gently shape the mixture into 2” meatballs and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

For serving:

  • Add the chicken meatballs to the pot and gently stir to coat the meatballs in the sauce. Cover and continue to simmer, until the meatballs are cooked through and tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Garnish with the cilantro and ladle into bowls.

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