It was many years ago when I traveled to Singapore that I was introduced to the magical flavors of green curry and coconut milk. It was at a hawker stall in the middle of the night and I was waiting for my flight back to Narito, Japan. At the time, I had met a journalist and he insisted on taking me to this outdoor food court full of local street food. Local is a subjective term when it is used with Singaporean cuisine as Singapore is a diverse country with cuisine from many cultures including Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Thai and others.
Little did I know then, that I would eventually (20 years later) have the privilege of racing half way around the world for Singapore as part of the Clipper Round the World Race. But, that is a story for another blog.
One of the reasons I enjoy this Thai meatball recipe so much, is that it balances the spiciness of the green curry with the creaminess of the coconut milk. I also like adding the tofu, which is optional, as it is great at absorbing the flavors from the delicious sauce. I can actually say that this dish could easily stand on its own without the meatballs, and just tofu. And, that’s being said by a devoted meat lover!
I find this an excellent meal to cook on a sail boat while underway. The heat from the green curry provides a nice warmth on those cold nights at sea when standing watch.
Thai Coconut Curry Meatballs (with Tofu)
- 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. ginger, grated
- 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. green curry paste
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
Coconut Curry Sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. grated ginger
- 2 Tbsp. green curry paste
- 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 can coconut milk (13 ounces)
- 5-6 ounces firm tofu, cubed into 1/2″ pieces
- 2-3 cups baby bok choy, roughly chopped
- Green onions, angled slices to garnish
- Combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, fish sauce, curry paste, scallions and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients until combined.
- Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high and add oil. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the mixture and form into small- to medium-sized (1″-1 1/2″) meatballs and cook for 5 minutes in the skillet, turning until nicely brown on all sides.
- Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set aside. Saute minced garlic and grated ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add green curry paste, mix well. Add chicken broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to minimum, add meatballs back to the skillet and simmer for 15 minutes. Add tofu and let simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Add roughly chopped baby bok choy and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Serve over hot rice. I actually like to serve this over sprouted rice (brown, red and black), as it adds a nice texture and a nuttiness to the dish. To garnish, sprinkle chopped scallions over the plated dish.