The Austin Chronicle

There's a Seat for Everybody at This Table

By Mick Vann, November 22, 2013, Food

Turkey Meatballs in Green Curry Broth

Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free
Yield: 32 meatballs

Looking for a creative way to use your Thanksgiving leftovers? This Thai adaptation with turkey can be thrown together in a half-hour or less. The meatballs can be prepped ahead of time and reheated, and the sauce takes only a few minutes. The variables in flavor are the balance of fish sauce salt against the heat of the curry paste, with a little sugar to round it all out. It can be made without the lemongrass and makroot, since both are already in the prepared curry paste, but the dish tastes much better with them included. Ground chicken, beef, or pork can be substituted for the ground turkey. Note: The meatballs can be prepared in advance and refrigerated or frozen; allow them to come to room temperature before adding to the broth.


2 pounds ground turkey

2 eggs, beaten slightly

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1½ teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup almond or cashew meal

1 teaspoon sea salt

1) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2) Combine all ingredients except half of the almond or cashew meal, mix completely, and use your hands to form into 2½-inch diameter balls.

3) Roll the meatballs in the reserved ½ cup almond or cashew meal coating and place them on a non-stick cookie sheet.

4) Bake 20-25 minutes, until browned and cooked all the way through. Reserve.


2 cans (13.5 fl. ounce) Thai coconut milk, Chaokoh brand preferred

4-5 tablespoons Thai green curry paste, Mae Ploy or Maesri brands preferred

2 shallots, minced

2 cups rich turkey or chicken broth

1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 2-inch segments, smashed to bruise

5 fresh Thai lime leaves (makroot), center rib removed, shredded finely

2 teaspoons light brown sugar


¾ cup bamboo shoot strips, canned: Chaokoh brand, rinsed and drained, or fresh (from Asian market)

¾ cup zucchini, julienned

Sliced Thai chile

3 tablespoons lime juice (to taste)

2 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (to taste): Thai (Tra Chang or Golden Boy brands), Vietnamese (Red Boat)

Cilantro or Thai basil leaves or sprigs for garnish

1) Do not shake the cans of coconut milk before opening, so that the thick cream remains on top. Spoon this thick cream into a medium-sized saucepan and heat over medium to high heat. Reduce until smooth and bubbly and until the oil begins to separate from the cream.

2) Add the curry paste and shallot and fry in the cream for a few minutes to release the aromas.

3) Add the remaining milk, turkey broth, lemongrass, lime leaf, and brown sugar and bring to a boil.

4) Add the reserved meatballs and reduce to a simmer and, if using, stir in the bamboo shoot strips, zucchini julienne, and/or the Thai chiles.

5) Let simmer just to heat the optional ingredients.

6) Do a final taste for seasonings: more lime for tartness, more fish sauce for saltiness, more sugar to balance the lime.

7) Place 4 meatballs and about ¾ cup of the broth in each bowl, and top with cilantro or Thai basil leaves. If serving as an entrée, accompany with a bowl of steamed Thai jasmine rice (admittedly non-paleo).


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