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Thai Turkey Meatballs with Lemongrass Coconut Sauce


Flavorful Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce


  • Meatballs:
  • 1.5 lb package ground turkey
  • 1 Tbls olive or peanut oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass white part only chopped fine
  • 1.5 Tbls grated ginger
  • 1 Tbls Shoyu soy sauce
  • 2 Tbls good quality fish sauce
  • 1.5 tsp Sambal Oelek chili paste
  • 1/2 Cup panko breadcrumbs (can also substitute gluten free breadcrumbs)
  • 3 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a little pepper
  • Coconut Sauce:
  • 2 Tbs olive or peanut oil
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass, trimmed
  • 3 cardamom pods lightly cracked
  • 3cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1.5 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and cut into 3 pieces
  • 1.5 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 points of a star anise pod
  • 1 14.5 oz can of coconut milk with full cream
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and lemon grass and cook for one minute longer. Take the pan off of the heat and set aside so that the shallot mixture can cool down a little.
  3. Transfer the ground turkey to a bowl and create a well in the center of the ground turkey. Add the ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili paste, bread crumbs, cilantro and salt and pepper along with the reserved shallot mixture to the well. Mix with your hands or a spoon until just combined. Dampen your hands and shape the mixture into meatballs. This will make 18 to 20 2” meatballs.
  4. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for about an hour. This step will give the flavors time to meld and help the meatballs stay together while you cook them.Heat the remaining 2 Tbs of oil over medium-high in a large skillet. When the pan is hot add the meatballs and brown on all sides.
  5. Bruise the lemon grass with a mortar and pestle and add to the skillet. Give the cardamom pods a light tap with the pestle and if you don’t have one you can use the back of a knife. Add the cinnamon stick, turmeric, ginger pieces, coriander seeds, star anise points, coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
  6. Slowly add the chicken stock and simmer the meatballs over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes. Add the fresh squeezed lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Garnish with lime zest and cilantro. You can enjoy as an appetizer, or turn it into a meal and serve over rice or rice noodles.