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Thai Coconut Curry Meatballs

Written By Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole On December 15, 2010

coconut_curry_meatball2Santa Claus is coming to town and he’s hungry. There’s an app for that.

The ubiquitous hearthside plate of cookies may be steeped in tradition and cold milk, but doesn’t this careworn hero of dauntless international travel deserve better?

A comforting crock of spicy meatballs has long been a party fave. Over the years, we’ve paired them with kitschy concoctions of grape jelly, drunken bottled barbeque sauce and frilly toothpicks. We love the ease of their do-ahead status, simmering away in mid-century crock-pots, the savory bite-size bliss of something so complete.

And yet we can’t resist trying something new. A diva do-over that’s equally as pantry friendly, but with an exotic twist: a naughty-but-nice, warm n’ creamy snack guaranteed to keep Santa in a generous mood.

Thai Coconut Curry Meatballs

Makes 2 to 3 dozen meatballs

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 pound ground beef or turkey
Coarse salt, to taste
2 tablespoons red or green curry paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Fresh basil and thinly sliced red chilies, to garnish

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the coconut milk to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally until it is slightly thickened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Season the meat with salt to taste and shape into balls, using about 1 tablespoon per meatball.

Add the curry paste to the coconut milk and simmer about 3 minutes more, stirring to dissolve the paste until smooth. Add the meatballs, tossing gently to coat.

Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a gentle boil. Add the fish sauce and brown sugar, stirring carefully. Cook until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is smooth, about 5 minutes. If sauce is too thick, thin with 1/4 cup water, or more, to taste.

Serve hot or warm, garnishing with fresh basil and thinly sliced red chilies.

Diva confession:  Are we getting enough green on our plates? Even if you lack the stamina for a pure vegan lifestyle, it positively impacts the environment (and your health) each time you replace an animal-derived product with a vitamin rich, plant-based dish. So, go green leafy. We love a crisp-tender sauté of chard or spinach in extra-virgin olive oil with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice—but perhaps it’s time to turn over a new leaf. Bok choy, a mild cabbage found in many Asian cuisines, has a light sweet flavor and crisp texture, is low in calories and tips the scales with Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium. Stir-fry in a bit of oil for 2 or 3 minutes, seasoning with minced fresh garlic and soy sauce, to taste. Serve sprinklee with toasted pumpkin seeds.


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