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Meatballs in Peanut Curry Sauce

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Serves 8

Yields 32 to 40 meatballs.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 44

Thick canned coconut milk tames the fire in this curry. The brand Chao Koh is recommended because it develops a thick, creamy layer on top if you don’t shake the can before opening it.

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. ground beef, medium lean (80 or 85%)
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil; more if necessary
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. red curry paste (I like Krung Gaeng Ped brand); more to taste
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (refrigerate the can, don’t shake it, and use the thick cream at the top)
  • 2 Tbs. chunky peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce (nam pla) or to taste
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. sugar or to taste
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh mint or basil leaves for garnish

Put the flour on a plate. Put the beef in a bowl, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and mix well. Shape the beef into small, firm balls about 1 inch in diameter; you’ll get 32 to 40. Roll the meatballs in the flour, dusting off the excess.

Line a plate with paper towels. In a wok or frying pan, heat the oil on high until it’s hot. Fry the garlic until browned, about 1 minute; remove and set aside. Add the meatballs and sear them on high heat, stirring and tilting the pan, until they’re browned evenly and cooked through, about 5 minutes; do this in batches, if necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to the paper towel-lined plate to drain.

If no oil remains in the pan, add 2 tsp. and fry the red curry paste so it releases its aromas, about 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking. Add the reserved garlic and the solidified coconut milk and then stir in the peanut butter. Cook and stir to get a smooth, uniform consistency, about 1 minute. Taste and add fish sauce, sugar, or more curry paste to taste; the sauce shouldn’t be too sweet.

Meatballs in Peanut Curry Sauce Recipe

Return the meatballs to the pan with the sauce and simmer over low heat until they’re hot, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the mint or basil sprinkled on top.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Basmati Rice.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per meatball; Calories (kcal): 50; Fat (g): fat g 3.5; Fat Calories (kcal): 30; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2; Protein (g): protein g 3; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 3; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 110; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 5; Fiber (g): fiber g 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Honestly, we cook from Fine Cooking 3-4 times per week, on average, and are rarely disappointed. On hectic weeknights, a dish such as this one is a pleasant way to unwind once we both arrive home. There is lots of complex and warming flavor- just enough kick to provide that nice zing. Brown the meatballs really well and use a good red curry paste and coconut milk, as recommended. My husband doesn't care for peanut butter, but loves these meatballs.

This was disappointing. The sauce was heavy and dull. I added more red curry paste, but it didn't help.

delicious asian appetizer!!!

I made this with high hopes from the picture. In the end, I think I added too much peanut butter (and definitely too much salt). The flavors were muddled. The sauce broke as soon as it started to simmer, so I had to add a bit more peanut butter to smooth it out, but it was too thick in the end. I live in Poland, where good ground beef is a pain to find, so I used ground pork instead. The meatballs weren't particularly flavorful. If I make this again, I'll take a page from my Grandma's book and add garlic to the meatballs. On the whole, I think it's a recipe with potential, but I think I personally messed it up. I'm sure I'll try it again in the future.

How could you not like this recipe. I've served it many times and always receive rave reviews. Gloria Fleck

I was very disappointed with this recipe. The photo in the magazine looked so good; it prompted me to give it a try. I bought the red curry paste and coconut milk that I didn't have on hand, thinking I was going to be making something delicious. The meatballs are nothing but ground beef with salt and pepper...makes for little, no flavor, hockey pucks when cooked. My husband ate a couple of the meatballs and said "Don't make this again". The kids tasted the sauce and wouldn't try the meatballs. I had doubled this recipe and had to throw it all in the garbage. It was as waste of good ingedients.

A great way to use ground beef for a simple week night dinner. This a favorite of my three young boys. We eat it with rice and a steamed veggie.

I cheat and use frozen meatballs. The sauce is a nice combo of spicy, salty and sweet. A good make ahead appetizer.

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