Sushi, Indian, and Thai. These are my favorite cuisines for eating out. Mainly because I tend to be intimidated by these recipes. There are so many ingredients, somewhat complicated steps, and patience. Patience is a virtue…one I constantly work on.
Recently I decided I needed more yoga in my life, to a) clear my mind b) appreciate my body c) teach me breathing exercises d) improve posture and flexibility e) increase that patience. I bet we could all use a little yoga in our lives?!? Since I had this revelation I have only made it to one yoga class, but thankfully Seattle has an abundance of yoga studios and most of them offer free classes for first-timers. That means I can shop around for a little extra zen ;)
Moving on to the star of this blog post. Skinny Thai Meatballs. I was inspired to create this dish by a recent date night adventure. Andrew, my rock and number one fan, clearly knows the way to my heart. For my birthday he surprised me with a gift certificate to Hipcooks in Seattle. Hipcooks is this awesome twist on cooking classes. The classes are small group, specific cuisine (from Moroccan to Sushi and everything in between), include an entire dinner menu, cook without measuring cups, and you enjoy the meals family style. Then you get an email with all the recipes and where to shop for ingredients. I know, I am one lucky girl :)
Well my birthday was in errr November and we just went in March (things have been kind of crazy). But I knew I wanted to go to the Thai Cooking Class from the start. Spring rolls, coconut shrimp rice balls, pad thai, red and green curry, forbidden rice dessert…are you salivating yet?!?! This class helped me overcome some of my Thai cooking fears. The flavors are sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and savory. Most of the ingredients you have on hand or at your local grocery store.
Good food tastes even better, when you know it’s a bit healthier. So inspiration from thai cooking class meet amateur food blogger who is always trying to prove that healthy tastes damn good too! I decided to use ground turkey as the protein source, but you can always substitute ground chicken. I also minimized the oil in the recipe, threw in some peanut butter (because I have a peanut butter addiction), and subbed light coconut milk for coconut cream or full fate coconut milk. The trick is to buy light coconut milk and look at the ingredients. The label should say coconut milk and water. I buy my light coconut milk from Trader Joe’s. If you can’t find the good stuff then use less regular coconut milk and thin it out with water. You will get the creamy coconut flavor and your waist line will be thankful!
You can serve these meatballs over quinoa, rice, cauliflower rice, spinach, lettuce, or just eat them plain. The red coconut curry peanut sauce is AMAZING. I might have scraped the pan clean with the spatula to make sure a drop of sauce was not wasted.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 20-25 meatballs
For the meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 C panko break crumbs
1 T fish sauce (alternatively substitute soy sauce)
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped (alternatively substitute thai basil)
1/3 C diced red onion (~1/4 of a large red onion, alternatively substitute scallion)
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced, divided
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 T peanut oil
For the curry sauce
2 t peanut oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
**Second half of ginger from meatball recipe
2 T red curry paste
14 oz can light coconut milk
2 T creamy natural peanut butter
1 T fish sauce
1-2 t sriracha (alternatively minced thai chiles)
1-2 T brown sugar
optional: lime wedges as garnish
- Combine all the ingredients for meatballs, except for peanut and sesame oil, in a medium mixing bowl. Mix, using your hands, until well incorporated.
- Shape into meatballs (~size of golf balls) and set aside.
- In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the peanut and sesame oil ~1 minute. Slowly add the meatballs to the hot pan. Cook, rotating the meatballs until all sides are browned. When all sides are browned, transfer the meatballs to a separate plate. (Note: I used chopsticks to gently rotate the meatballs, cook time 6-8 minutes total)
- To your hot pan, add peanut oil, garlic, ginger and cook for 1 minute. (Note: Do not burn the garlic, you want to infuse the oil)
- Add the remaining curry sauce ingredients, whisking until well-combined. Taste and adjust to desired sweetness (brown sugar), saltiness (fish sauce), and spiciness (sriracha or thai chiles).
- Transfer the meatballs back to the pan containing curry sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover pan with lid, and allow meatballs to simmer for ~10 minutes. (Note: The sauce will thicken as the meatballs cook)
- Serve the meatballs warm, with freshly squeeze lime juice, over rice or desired base. Store meatballs in an airtight container refrigerated.