Thai Meatballs with Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • Active Time 30m
  • Total Time 30m
  • Rating ****

Serves 4

Everything about this recipe-the flavors, aromas and combinations of ingredients-will transport you to Southeast Asia, and give you a warm and exotic feeling even if it is fall outside. WINE RECOMMENDATION: A wine of quality and strength, such as a Chianti Classico from Italy, a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Medoc in Bordeaux or an Hermitage from the Rhône Valley.


  • For Meatballs:
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean high-quality ground beef
  • 1 red jalapeno or Fresno chile, seeded and finely minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced scallions
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely minced lemongrass, or 1/2 teaspoon finely minced lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon peanut, macadamia nut or vegetable oil
  • For Sauce:
  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass (about 3 stalks)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (or 1 teaspoon chopped lime zest)
  • 2 cups minced cilantro
  • 1/3 cup finely minced basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water (optional)
  • 4 servings cooked rice


TO PREPARE MEATBALLS: Thoroughly combine the beef, chile, ginger, scallions, lemongrass, cilantro, salt, pepper and sesame oil in a mixing bowl. Divide the mixture evenly into 16 (or 20 smaller) balls. Heat the peanut oil in a sauté pan and cook the meatballs over medium-high heat, turning occasionally until browned on all sides, for 10 minutes (for medium), or to desired doneness.

TO PREPARE SAUCE: Place the coconut milk, peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, onion, shallots, garlic, curry paste, lemongrass, lime leaves, cilantro and basil in a large saucepan. While stirring, bring just to a simmer over medium-low heat; do not boil. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat, adjust the seasonings, and strain before serving. If you wish a thicker consistency, combine 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water, stir to dissolve, and mix into the sauce until thoroughly combined; continue to cook until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.

TO SERVE: Divide the rice among serving plates and top with the meatballs and sauce.

HELPFUL TIPS: Sticky rice or jasmine rice are good choices, but if you prefer, use regular long-grain white rice. We call for 1/4 cup of curry paste in this recipe, but you can reduce this amount or increase it by a tablespoon or so, depending on your heat tolerance.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.

RecID 5256

nutrition information per serving

1290 calories; 88g total fat; 62mg cholesterol; 1902mg sodium; 79g carbohydrates; 11g fiber; 61g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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