Thai Meatballs in Red Curry

Thai Meatballs in Red Curry combines moist seasoned pork and beef meatballs, full of Thai flavors, with a vegetable-filled red curry enriched with coconut cream.  Comforting and refreshing, this curry hits many of the right flavor notes of Thai cuisine.  Start with an appetizer of our Sicilian Orange Salad or our Wilted Arugula Salad, then enjoy Thai Meatballs in Red Curry as a main course.  We recommend serving this curry in small bowls, as pictured, as it is quite rich; those with a larger appetite can always have a second serving.

Thai Meatballs in Red Curry

Meatballs Prep Time: 1 hour, Cooking Time: 50 minutes. Yields approximately 42 meatballs.

Curry Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cooking Time: 1 hour.  Serves 4.

Support Cook and Eat at Home. Purchase a PDF of the Thai Meatballs in Red Curry recipe for $1.00


For the meatballs:

  • 4 large Shallots
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 8 Makrut Lime leaves*
  • ½ cup roasted salted Peanuts
  • 1 ½ Tbs Lemon Grass powder*
  • 1 ½ Tbs Fish Sauce*
  • 3 or 4 Tbs Water (more if needed, see preparation)
  • 1 lb ground Pork
  • 1 lb ground Beef
  • 1 large Egg, beaten

For the curry:

  • 4 Tbs Cooking Oil (Peanut/Canola Oils blend recommended)
  • 1 cup chopped Onion
  • 3 Green Bell Peppers rinsed, trimmed, cored and cut into bite-size pieces
  • ½ lb Green Beans, rinsed, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 lb Zucchini/Italian Squash, rinsed, trimmed and cut into ½-inch thick rounds
  • 4 oz Red Curry Paste*
  • 14 oz Coconut Cream*
  • 14 oz Water

Thai Meatballs in Red Curry


  1. Peel and trim the shallots and garlic cloves; if necessary, cut them into pieces and place in a food processor.
  2. Remove the center ribs from the makrut lime leaves, slice each leaf into 3 or 4 pieces and add to the food processor.
  3. Add the peanuts, lemon grass powder, fish sauce and water to the food processor and process until a thick paste forms; if needed add another tablespoon or two of water. The resulting paste should be thick and not runny, so add any extra water with caution.
  4. Place the ground pork and ground beef in a deep mixing bowl. Spoon the paste into the bowl and add the beaten egg.  Mix with your hands until combined but not over-mixed or compacted.
  5. Form the meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs and place in a sealable container, placing a layer of waxed paper over each layer of meatballs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Rinse, trim and cut up the onion, peppers, green beans and zucchini; combine the onion, peppers and green beans in one bowl and the zucchini in another.
  7. Remove the meatballs from the refrigerator and pour the cooking oil to a 5-quart Dutch oven over a medium heat.
  8. When the oil is hot, add one-third of the meatballs to the Dutch oven and fry, uncovered, until browned on all sides. Remove the browned meatballs to a deep bowl and continue browning the remaining meatballs in two batches, adding the browned meatballs to those already in the bowl.
  9. Once the meatballs have all been browned, spoon the curry paste into the Dutch oven and sauté uncovered for one minute, adding additional cooking oil if necessary.
  10. Add the onions, peppers and green beans to Dutch oven, stir to mix with the curry paste, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add the coconut cream and water to the Dutch oven, stir, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  12. Add the browned meatballs and any juice to the Dutch oven, gently stir to mix everything together, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  13. Add the zucchini to the curry, stir to mix, cover and cook until the zucchini has softened.
  14. Stir the curry, remove it from the heat and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
  15. Serve Thai Meatballs in Red Curry in deep bowls, accompanied by steamed rice if you like.

Thai Meatballs in Red Curry


  • Makrut Lime Leaves are available fresh or fresh/frozen in bags in Asian specialty markets; never buy dried makrut lime leaves.  If unavailable, you can substitute the zest of 1 lime.
  • Lemon Grass Powder is available at Asian supermarkets and specialty stores and on-line.
  • Fish Sauce is the clear, brown liquid given off by salted, fermented anchovies; it’s likely very similar to “garum” which accompanied all meals in ancient Rome. A little of it goes a long way and it makes a very convenient substitute for mashed anchovy fillets in recipes. Fish Sauce is ubiquitous in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines.  We recommend 3 Crabs brand; the flavor is perfectly authentic, not overly salty and it does not contain caramel or any other coloring agent.
  • Red Curry paste is usually sold in four-ounce cans, though I’ve also seen it available in larger resealable plastic containers. It can be found in most Asian markets and the Asian/International foods aisle of your supermarket.
  • Coconut Cream is thicker and creamier than coconut milk and is preferred when making southeast Asian curries. It is available in cans in supermarkets, Asian supermarkets and specialty stores and on-line.  It is not recommended that you use “Lite” Coconut Milk for this recipe.