thai chicken meatballs with peanut curry sauce

My husband’s hands down favorite make at home meal is classic Italian meatballs–spaghetti optional, as far as he’s concerned. It’s also a meal that I’ve never yet made him myself, and I may never make the attempt. He uses a sacred recipe of his dad’s adapted and improved on over several years, and I’m not about to try and compete with that. His meatball love extends to restaurant eating, and he orders them almost every time we see them on a menu…and consistently prefers his own recipe. Daunting, to say the least. So while I won’t yet make him his favorite veal-pork-beef meatballs with tomato sauce (side note: I will make the tomato sauce), I will happily make him another of his frequent requests: Thai style chicken meatballs, with peanut curry sauce.


Ok, so maybe I don’t make these exactly happily, because making meatballs of any kind is obviously gross. But Hal loves this recipe so dang much that I can get past squishing raw chicken and egg together with my hands, and I promise the end result is very much worth it. And squishing aside, it’s a really simple recipe, perfect for weeknight cooking. Chop up some scallions and cilantro, toss them in a bowl with breadcrumbs, an egg, and the wonderful flavors of red curry and fish sauce (again with the fish sauce!), add the chicken, roll out your meatballs, and then bake them off in the oven. The sauce is equally simple, and just involves a little measuring and stirring. I like to add in and cook down some halved cherry tomatoes, because I like cherry tomatoes in my take-out curry.

I can’t remember what first drew me to this recipe, but it’s probably that I’m drawn to anything with “Thai” in the title. Or with curry. And the recipe reminded me a bit of a meatball version of the awesome Thai style chicken burgers that Laura turned me on to three summers ago–similar flavors, but less mincing. I’m also on the hunt for the perfect Thai-ish peanut sauce, having fallen hard for one served over a veggie and salmon “rice bowl” at a restaurant a few blocks away from my office, so this simple curry+coconut milk+peanut butter sauce definitely appealed. It’s a great compliment to the meatballs, and would also be awesome with shrimp, or un-meatball-ed chicken.


I usually serve these meatballs with zucchini noodles, which makes me feel very virtuous but also hugely bores me. Try as they might, zoodles will never be real noodles, and I should stop expecting them to be. Next time I think I’ll try rice noodles, or maybe a half and half mix. The original recipe recommends rice, which I’m sure would be great, or mashed potatoes, which feels like a fabulous Thai / Swedish mashup. So many ways to meatball!


thai-style chicken meatballs with peanut curry sauce
adapted slightly from jo cooks

for meatballs
1 lb ground chicken
4 green onions, chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

for peanut sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 can (13.5oz) coconut milk–I’ve used both full and low fat, and haven’t really noticed a difference
1 tbsp red curry paste
2 tbsp peanut butter
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of brown sugar
pinch of chili flakes
pint of cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all the meatball ingredients together in a medium bowl. Form the meatballs into small 1 inch balls–I use an ice cream / cookie dough scooper given to me by my awesome aunt Carolyn to keep them uniform. Highly recommend. Place meatballs on prepared baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking away, make your sauce. Heat the sesame oil in a medium sauce pan or skillet. Add the red curry paste and cook for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stir and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down.

Add meatballs to sauce and toss so that the meatballs are fully coated. Garnish with cilantro, and serve over the carb or (or fake carb veggie).


3 thoughts on “thai chicken meatballs with peanut curry sauce

  1. Pingback: uh oh, spaghettiOs! | butter poached

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