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Red Curry Meatballs with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

by Jeanette on October 17, 2010 · 2 Comments
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Red Curry Meatballs with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

I was inspired to make Red Curry Meatballs with a Vietnamese Dipping Sauce after trying a spicy meatball recipe from Monica Bhide’s Everything Indian cookbook, and seeing Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Thai-Inspired meatball recipe. I’ve been on a Southeast Asian kick lately, and have been experimenting with Thai red curry, so why not try them in meatballs.

In coming up with this recipe, I was reminded of the spiciness of Monica’s meatballs and the low-fat cooking method in her recipe. Likewise, I love Kaylyn’s idea of eating the meatballs in a lettuce wrap with a dipping sauce. Not only is this presentation pretty to look at, but it’s also fun to eat.

I thought of incorporating the flavors of the popular Thai snack, Tod Mun, typically made with fish. The typical ingredients for Tod Mun include red curry paste and kaffir lime leaves.

I wanted to lighten up the dish, so instead of deep-frying the meatballs, I followed Monica’s method of cooking the meatballs in some water first, and then browning them in a little oil afterwards. What resulted were juicy, tender meatballs. 

To add some crunch and tang to the meatballs, I decided to serve the Red Curry Meatballs with Boston lettuce, and a traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce, Nuoc Mam Chanh, made with garlic, chilies, fish sauce, and lime juice.

Red Curry Meatballs

Inspired by Monica Bhide’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Chicken Kebabs, and Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Thai-Inspired Turkey Mini Meatballs

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon red curry paste
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground turkey or chicken
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil

Put shallots, lime leaves, curry paste, egg and salt in a food processor. Process until smooth. Combine well with ground turkey, cornstarch and cilantro.

Wet both hands and make small meatballs, about 1″ in diameter. Heat 1/2 cup of water in a deep saucepan. Gently place meatballs in pan, and cook until water is just evaporated, turning meatballs after a few minutes to color all sides. Heat oil in a skillet. Brown meatballs and cook through.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Chanh)

1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek chili sauce
1 Thai bird chili, chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar
finely shredded carrots, for garnish

Mix all ingredients together.

To serve, place one or two meatballs on each lettuce leaf. Spoon sauce on top and eat!

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  1. Your meatballs sound delicious. I do like that trick of cooking them in water, then browning. I hadn't seen that before. Too bad the three of us don't live on the same street, then we could invite each other over for dinner!

  2. Thanks for the inspiration Kalyn. Cooking the meatballs in water first keeps them moist, it's a good trick. Wouldn't it be fun to have a bunch of foodies on the same street!

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