I am not sure how authentic the meatball recipe is–the flavors are spot on, even though I came up with this on my own. Somehow I doubt they would use bread in a meatball, but it tastes like something you would get in Thailand. The green curry is authentic.
If you want to explore some other Thai coconut milk curries click:
Thai Red Curry แกงเผ็ด
Massaman Thai Curry with Beef Shortribs แกงมัสมั่นเนื้อซี่โครงสั้น
For the meatballs:
- 2-2.5 pounds of ground chicken or ground pork or a mixture of the two
- 2 stalks spring onion, the green part very thinly sliced, the white part finely chopped
- 1.5 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 3 slices of fresh white bread, crusts removed and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 4 Thai chilies, finely chopped (the small, really hot ones. This is optional)
- 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
- 1 egg, beaten
For the curry sauce:
- 4 oz green curry paste (I like Maesri or Mae Ploy brands the best)
- 1 can of coconut milk (14 oz)
- 6-10 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 handful of Thai basil or 2 teaspoons of dried, regular basil.
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (can use white, or palm sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar or lime juice
- Fish sauce to taste
This really is two recipes: One for Asian meatballs; and one for green curry. The green curry won’t be a proper one, however, as I am not going to use any vegetables but I will give you instructions at the end on how to make a proper green curry. This particular dish is put together as a party food. After you’ve baked, fried or boiled the meatballs and rendered the curry, put both into a slow cooker to finish cooking and keep warm. I started writing this on New Year’s Eve 2012 to take to a party. They were a big hit.
Another common way this type of meatball would be eaten in Thailand is with “Thai Sweet Chili Sauce” (น้ำจิ้มไก่) or any type of sauce. This recipe is also perfect for Asian noodle-soups or any Asian recipe that calls for meatballs. For this dish, I will fry or bake them to get some nice browning going on–but you can also boil these. If you boil them, the taste and texture are a bit different. I must admit that I prefer these pan-fried. But that can take a long time–especially if you are making a large batch. If I am making noodle soup, I fry half the meatballs and boil the other half. Then I use both kinds (plus other meats, generally) in the soup–but that is another recipe. I’ll put a link to that here once it’s published.
One other optional ingredient. Cilantro. You could add one to three tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves). This however makes a very, very different meatball as cilantro is intense. However, I would not use cilantro with a green curry. For noodle soups or stir-fried noodles I might add cilantro–sometimes to just half of the batch to get basically another ingredient.
Start with the chopped white bread by placing it in a bowl and cover with cold water. Wait at least five minutes before adding to the meatball mixture. To prepare the aromatics (white part of spring onion, garlic, ginger and chili peppers) I just chucked them all into my food processor and pureed. You can grate the onion, garlic and ginger while finely chopping the chili peppers if you don’t have a processor. Add all the ingredients (except the ones list under “For the curry sauce”) while trying to squeeze out excess water from the bread. Mix well. Put the mix in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Now take a small amount of meatball mix and make a small, thin, “burger” shaped patty. Fry it on the stove top and eat it so you can test for seasoning. It should be about as salty as an Italian meatball but less salty than a sausage. If it’s not salty enough, add more fish sauce. If it’s too salty, tell this author he needs to adjust his recipe and add more ground meat if you have any. 🙂
Keep your meatball mixture in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. Preheat your oven to 500 Fahrenheit/260 Celsius. Wet your hands and form 1 inch, bite-sized meatballs and place on a baking sheet–and go ahead and crowd them up on your pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until done. Internal temperature should be north of 160.
Moving on to the curry sauce. Using a 2.5 quart pot over medium-high heat, put 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil while heating. Once hot add the curry paste and fry rapidly for a minute then add 1/4 of the can from the think part of the coconut milk. You want to fry it until oil is separating out of the mixture–just like the picture below. Next, add all the remaining coconut milk. plus one of that can’s worth of water, the kaffir lime leaves, 2 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of fish sauce. Bring back to a boil and simmer for at least 5 minutes. Taste. It should be a little sweet and a little salty. Add more sugar and fish sauce if necessary. BTW, green curry really shouldn’t be very green in color. More like yellow with a slight green tint. If you’ve had green curry before and it was properly green, they had put in green food coloring–a very common practice, even in Thailand, especially in the tourist areas where people expect green curry to actually be green.
In your slow-cooker, place the meatballs and cover with the curry sauce. Set your cooker on high until the sauce is boiling again. Then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. After that you COULD serve them, but if you have the time, leave them cooking for one or two hours or even more as the flavor and texture improve with a longer cook. After one hour total in the slow-cooker, remove all the lime leaves and you can let the rest remain cooking.
For any guests who have never had a green curry before, you might want to make sure they do not eat the lime leaves. They are not dangerous (outside of a choke hazard, I guess) but are tough and really can’t be chewed.
Final note on the curry. In the picture at the top of this post, you can clearly see an “oil slick” floating on top. That is actually the sign of a properly made Thai curry. If you don’t like that much oil, either skim it off with a spoon or use paper towels to soak some off the top. Don’t remove it all! So just know, if you get oil breaking out of your curry, you’ve done it right!
If you want to make a proper green curry, simply follow my Thai Red Curry แกงเผ็ด but use green curry paste, skip the pineapple & tomatoes, and double the amount of sugar and Thai sweet basil. The basil is not really optional for green curry!