Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs

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. 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 zucchini noodles.

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.



For the coconut curry sauce:

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 cup chopped white onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon minced 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 Asian fish sauce


For the chicken meatballs:

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

½ cup 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 egg

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


For serving:

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro



For the coconut curry sauce:

Heat a medium saucepot 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.


Serves 4, makes about 12 meatballs.



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