APPETIZERS/ MAINS

Thai Red Curry Turkey Meatballs

Hello! Welcome to Djalali Cooks. We love meatballs of all kinds and these Thai Red Curry Turkey Meatballs are a great addition to our long list of favorites. Super easy, and pretty quick, they are great over rice, or rice noodles, you could whip up a batch for a tailgate party. Not too spicy, with deep savory flavor, Thai Red Curry Turkey Meatballs are a great alternative to a red sauce and meatball combo. Let’s jump right in!

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Thai Turkey Meatballs

We will do this whole thing in one pan, which always makes for a nice recipe. Let’s start with the meatballs. The meatballs themselves are flavor packed with garlic, onions, fish sauce, chopped fresh basil and Thai red curry paste. I have 2 pounds of ground turkey.

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Combine the ground turkey, kosher salt, sugar, cornstarch, garlic, onions, fish sauce, chopped fresh basil and Thai red curry paste in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients, to thoroughly combine. Be sure not to over mix, or mash the meat mixture into a paste, this will make the meatballs tough. Ground poultry will yield easily to mixing with the ingredients.

Once mixed, use a 1.5-2 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop the meatballs and place on a lined sheet tray. Once all the balls are made, use your hands to roll each ball into a smooth golfball-sized meatball.

Browning the Meatballs

In a large skillet or braiser, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmery, add the meatballs to the skillet. Begin turning the meatballs after about 2 minutes. Then keep turning them to evenly brown all sides. As they cook, they will shrink so you can add the rest of the meatballs to the skillet as you go.

When the meatballs are evenly browned (they don’t need to get cooked all the way through – they will finish in the sauce), transfer them to a clean sheet pan or plate and set them aside. Turn off the heat under the skillet.

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On to the Sauce!

The sauce is going to be a coconut red curry sauce. So gather your ingredients; we have 2 cans of coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of red curry paste, diced onion, garlic, 3 tablespoons lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and kosher salt. Return to the skillet we browned the meatballs in and spoon out all but about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Turn the heat up to medium and add the diced onions. Sauté just until the onions soften then add the garlic and sauté for just 30 seconds more. Then add the red curry paste and stir it into the onions.

Once the curry paste is fully mixed into the onions, pour in the two cans of coconut milk. Stir to combine and emulsify the curry paste into the coconut milk. Add the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar to the curry, stir and turn up the heat to bring the curry up to a low boil. Taste the curry sauce and add a pinch of kosher salt if needed.

As the curry sauce is coming up to a boil, add the meatballs to the curry sauce. When you reach the low boil and all the meatballs are back in the skillet, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cover the skillet. Let this simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Let the meatballs continue simmering uncovered for about five more minutes, just to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir the sauce and meatballs occasionally. Taste the curry sauce and add more kosher salt as needed. After the uncovered 5 minute simmer, cut the heat. Sprinkle with more chopped fresh basil (sprinkle with red pepper flakes if you like!) and we are ready to serve!

Thai Red Curry Turkey Meatballs

Serve these super flavorful meatballs and their amazing red curry coconut sauce over rice, or rice noodles – or, serve them as appetizer snacks for a tailgate spread.

I am serving the meatballs with plenty of red curry sauce over jasmine rice. Garnishing with fresh cilantro leaves and more red pepper flakes.

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I am always excited for a new way to enjoy meatballs. This recipe absolutely does not disappoint. It’s so rich, creamy and flavorful, with no dairy. Definitely give this a go, I think you’ll love it! If you want another one pan, super easy, healthy meatball recipe, try Sheet Pan Sesame Glazed Meatballs. Have a great day, take care and be well! xo Kelly

Key Equipment

Thai Red Curry Turkey Meatballs

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Dinner, Main Course, Appetizer Thai
By Adapted from The Modern Proper Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cooking Time: 30 Minutes Total Time: ~50 Minutes

With deep, savory flavor, Thai Red Curry Turkey Meatballs are seasoned with red curry and fresh herbs, braised in a red curry coconut sauce.

Ingredients

  • Meatballs
  • 2 lbs. Ground Turkey
  • 1/4 cup Diced Yellow Onion
  • 1/3 cup Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Red Curry Paste
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • Red Curry Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Finely Diced Yellow Onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 2 (14 oz) cans Coconut Milk
  • 3 tbsp. Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro Leaves
  • Red Chili Flakes, optional

Instructions

Meatballs

1

Combine the ground turkey, kosher salt, sugar, cornstarch, garlic, onions, fish sauce, chopped fresh basil and Thai red curry paste in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients, to thoroughly combine. Be sure not to over mix, or mash the meat mixture into a paste, this will make the meatballs tough.

2

Once mixed, use a 1.5-2 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop the meatballs and place on a lined sheet tray. Once all the balls are made, use your hands to roll each ball into a smooth golfball-sized meatball.

3

In a large skillet or braiser, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmery, add the meatballs to the skillet. Begin turning the meatballs after about 2 minutes. Then keep turning them to evenly brown all sides. As they cook, they will shrink so you can add the rest of the meatballs to the skillet as you go.

4

When the meatballs are evenly browned (they don't need to get cooked all the way through – they will finish in the sauce), transfer them to a clean sheet pan or plate and set them aside. Turn off the heat under the skillet.

Red Curry Sauce

5

Return to the skillet we browned the meatballs in and spoon out all but about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Turn the heat up to medium and add the diced onions. Sauté just until the onions soften then add the garlic and sauté for just 30 seconds more. Then add the red curry paste and stir it into the onions.

6

Once the curry paste is fully mixed into the onions, pour in the two cans of coconut milk. Stir to combine and emulsify the curry paste into the coconut milk. Add the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar to the curry, stir and turn up the heat to bring the curry up to a low boil. Taste the curry sauce and add a pinch of kosher salt if needed.

7

As the curry sauce is coming up to a boil, add the meatballs to the curry sauce. When you reach the low boil and all the meatballs are back in the skillet, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cover the skillet. Let this simmer covered for 15 minutes.

8

Let the meatballs continue simmering uncovered for about five more minutes, just to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir the sauce and meatballs occasionally. Taste the curry sauce and add more kosher salt as needed. After the uncovered 5 minute simmer, cut the heat. Sprinkle with more chopped fresh basil (sprinkle with red pepper flakes if you like!) and we are ready to serve!

9

Garnish with cilantro leaves and more red pepper flakes, if desired.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Mari
    September 14, 2022 at 9:48 am

    We love meat balls too, and this will be a great addition to the rotation. It’s always lovely to have a change, and this is a welcome one. It’s always nice when a recipe pops up that calls for things I already have on hand. It’s also nice to see a recipe this time of year that doesn’t call for apples or pumpkin. I have been inundated with recipes calling for pumpkin and chocolate chips. No thank you! I do not care for that combination. My family isn’t into sweet breads, although they like muffins, but generally apple spice or blueberry, or corn. I can’t wait to make these meatballs, but I have to do them tomorrow because today is already planned. Today I have the sads because we used up our last Wagyu beef hamburger patties and everyone is out of stock, but I live in hope and check every store’s in stocks online every day. All that aside, Happy Wonderful Sun Shining Wednesday to my favorite Djalalis and Terry. ☀️🕶🥰

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      September 14, 2022 at 9:59 am

      Hello Mari, Wagyu burgers are great! I hope you are able re-stock soon. I am sure you will enjoy these meatballs, so fresh and flavorful. It is hard to not get overwhelmed with Fall recipes the moment September arrives. I like to challenge myself with hunting down new and interesting ways to use the typical Fall ingredients…Hopefully I will come up with some good ones to share! Have a great day, xo Kelly

  • Reply
    Sally Burke
    September 15, 2022 at 1:37 am

    Hi Kelly, curried anything suits me, and particularly Thai curries. We have a Kaffir lime tree which is handy and also a Curry Tree, albeit it is a bit slow in growing, probably would be better in the garden except it might take off and be a monster. I did have coriander growing and it is time to plant more seeds now the soil is starting to warm up a bit, although how lucky are we that the supermarkets have stock of it all the time, it being grown in hot houses, although it doesn’t have quite the depth of flavour as that grown in your own garden, not sure why. I would probably use chicken mince as I’m not sure our local supermarket sells a Turkey mince, anyway I am sure they would be just as good . Tomorrow night is the night for the chicken dish you had recently so I will let you know how I go with that.
    Happy cooking 🧑‍🍳
    Sally 🤗

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      September 15, 2022 at 10:03 am

      Hi Sally, how wonderful to have a kaffir lime tree and a curry tree! I tried to grow coriander last year and it was a bust. Ground chicken will work out just as well as turkey, I am sure you will really enjoy this recipe! Have a great day! xo Kelly

  • Reply
    Holly
    September 18, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    Kelly, once again, you hit it out of the park. The meatballs were a big hit. I don’t have a lot of Asian cooking ingredients, so I made due with substitutions: soy sauce for Fish Sauce and tomato paste mixed with pepper flakes for Thai Red Curry Paste. Also, I baked the meatballs in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes instead of pan frying them. It was delish and the fam wants me to make it again. Thanks

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      September 19, 2022 at 7:55 am

      Hi Holly! I am so happy this was a hit with your family. And way to get creative with the substitutions! It sounds like a dish to put on repeat. Have a great week! xo Kelly

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