These Coconut Curry Meatballs require minimal ingredients, but have SO much flavor. They’re packed with garlic, ginger, onion and cilantro, browned until crisp, and bathed in a luscious coconut curry sauce. Only 30 minutes from start to finish!
Coconut Curry Meatballs
Let’s embrace the sad truth that spring temperatures are reflecting more of a end-of-winter than a beginning-of-summer vibe and get a little cozy with Coconut Curry Meatballs.
Curry Meatballs are one of those feel-good meals that instantly makes your internal temperature just a little bit warmer, even in the absence of steaming broth. This is due in part to the fact that all meatballs are comfort food, and therefore, the perfect thing to eat on a cold dreary day. But it’s also because the irresistible coconut curry sauce packs a slight punch, leaving your tastebuds just a little tingly after each bite. And your cheeks a little rosy as well.
The meatballs themselves are made with pork and brimming with garlic, ginger, and just a touch of red curry paste. The sauce, which is a rift on our Curry Salmon, is slightly sweet, full of curry, and just a touch spice.
Ingredients in Coconut Curry Meatballs
Ground pork. Even though I’m a sucker for a classic beef meatball, I love changing things up with ground pork. It has quite a bit of fat in it, which means it crisps up beautifully and stays super moist.
Red curry paste. Curry paste has become one of those versatile ingredients I almost always keep on hand. I find myself reaching towards some sort of coconut curry sauce on the fly, just about every week. I’ve made it so much, it’s become almost second nature, so I can throw a pretty stellar one together with just about any combination of ingredients I have on hand.
Garlic + onion. We really pack in the garlic and onion in the meatballs. Usually we will grate the onion to keep the meatballs moist, but because ground pork has a good amount of fat, we don’t need it.
Breadcrumbs. Usually I’m a stickler for the particular breadcrumb I use, but here you can use either fresh breadcrumbs, panko, or whole-wheat. Just make sure they are UNSEASONED.
Milk. I like to soak the breadcrumbs with a little bit of milk before mixing the pork with the other ingredients which helps to keep the meatballs tender and moist.
Cilantro. I love a good cilantro moment and these coconut curry meatballs are packed with it.
Coconut milk. Can’t have a coconut curry meatball without the addition of coconut milk. We’ve tried these with full-fat coconut milk, light coconut milk, and coconut cream.
Agave. You can also use honey or brown sugar.
Peanut butter. Even though I’m a big proponent of natural or organic, here, go with the processed stuff.
Let’s make Coconut Curry Meatballs!
Make the coconut curry meatballs. Add pork, salt, onion, ginger, cilantro, bread crumbs and milk to a bowl. Mix just until it’s combined.
Fry ’em. Add a little bit of canola, olive, or coconut oil to a screaming hot skillet. Swirl the pan to coat it. Add all of the meatballs. Sear until they’re brown and flip.
Make the sauce. Take the meatballs out and set aside. Add the onion. Sauté for a few minutes and then add the garlic. Cook for another minute or so. Add the curry paste, cook for one minute. Add the coconut milk, agave, salt, and peanut butter. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, then add the meatballs back in to cook for a few more minutes until they’re cooked through.
Serve! We serve over brown rice with chopped cilantro and unsweetened coconut.
What I’m loving about this recipe
- As aforementioned, there’s minimal ingredients for the amount of flavor you get
- Everything is cooked in one pot.
- Fast! From start to finish, this takes about 30 minutes. Especially if you buy frozen brown rice, like I did.
- Toddler, baby, and husband approved!
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Do NOT over mix the meatball mixture. If you over mix, you risk dense, hard meatballs.
- When browning, the meatballs should naturally release when they are brown, try not to turn them before.
- You can use full-fat or low-fat coconut milk
- If you’re in a bind, heavy cream can also work in place of coconut milk
- Ground beef, ground turkey or chicken will also work in place of pork.
- If you like your sauce on the sweeter side, use more agave!
- If the sauce gets too thick, add a splash of chicken stock at the end.
What to serve with Coconut Curry Meatballs
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1 small onion, divided (1/2 grated for meatballs, 1/2 sliced for sauce)
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2 large garlic cloves, grated and divided
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 13.5 oz can light coconut milk
- 2 tbsp agave
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut
- brown rice
- Add ground pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 small grated onion, ginger, 1 grated garlic clove, cilantro, bread crumbs and milk to a bowl. Use hands to mix until combined. Do not over mix! Use a small cookie scoop to form into meatballs. You should get about 21-23 meatballs.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Once oil is hot, add meatballs. Cook until brown on top and bottom, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan, and set aside.
- Add remaining olive oil to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion, sauté until slightly softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, cook another 30 seconds. Add curry paste, cook 30 seconds. Whisk in coconut milk, agave, remaining salt, and peanut butter. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until thickened, about 7-8 minutes.
- Add meatballs back to the sauce and simmer another 2-3 minutes. Garnish with more cilantro, and coconut. Serve with brown rice.