Red Thai meatball curry

Red Thai meatball curry

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(59 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 20 mins


Serves 4
A colourful, zingy curry that the whole family will enjoy

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal371
  • fat26g
  • saturates13g
  • carbs4g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre2g
  • protein31g
  • salt0.79g
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  • 500g pack lean beef mince (10% fat)



    The classic choice of meat for a British Sunday roast. Beef is full of flavour, as…

  • 2 red chillies, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
  • thumb-size piece ginger, grated



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1-1½ tbsp Thai red curry paste, depending on how spicy you like it
  • 400ml can reduced-fat coconut milk
    Coconut milk in a glass, with half a coconut

    Coconut milk

    ko-ko-nut mill-k

    Coconut milk is not the slightly opaque liquid that flows from a freshly opened coconut –…

  • 225g can bamboo shoots, drained
    Bamboo shoots

    Bamboo shoots

    bam-boo shoo-tz

    As expected, these are the very young shoots of many types of

  • 140g fine green beans, trimmed
  • juice 1 lime, plus extra wedges to serve



    The same shape, but smaller than…

  • 20g pack basil



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • basmati rice or rice noodles, to serve


  1. Put the mince into a large bowl with the chopped chilli, ginger and egg, then season generously. Mix well with your hands, then shape into 20 meatballs. Can be made and chilled up to a day ahead.

  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, then brown the meatballs for 5 mins. Tip onto a plate. Add the curry paste, fry for 1 min, then pour in the coconut milk and half a can of water. Bring back to the boil and stir to make a smooth sauce.

  3. Return the meatballs to the pan with the bamboo shoots and beans. Simmer for 5 mins until the beans are just tender and meatballs cooked through. To serve, season the sauce with salt, pepper and lime juice, then tear in the basil leaves. Scatter with sliced chilli and serve with rice or noodles and more lime wedges for squeezing over.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Suzanne Schellenberg's picture
Suzanne Schellenberg
31st Aug, 2018
As written, this is a middling 3 stars. But if you're willing to experiment, and know your Thai seasoning pallet, this is a knockout starting point for a killer recipe. Since I follow a very low (keto) carb diet, I made a number of modifications to accommodate that requirement. I used 1/3 portion of my standard low carb meatball recipe (I use 2 Tbsp ground flax seed bloomed in 1/4 cup chicken stock + egg and seasonings as a binder to 3.3 lbs ground meat) and added ginger, cumin, soy sauce, and extra finely minced chili pepper to it, then shaped and simmered the meatballs in a broth seasoned with more ginger, garlic, cumin, and kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass until just cooked enough to hold together. For the sauce, I used full fat coconut milk and instead of water, I added the strained broth I cooked the meatballs in. I also added more ginger, garlic, kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass, all finally grated or minced. My lime was very juicy, so I found I needed to balance the sour with some sweet and some salt, so I added 2 tbsp (to taste) zero carb sweetener (erythritol), some tamari sauce, and a dash of worcestershire (you could also use coconut aminos). I used haricots vert since they are small and tender, and subbed out the bamboo shoots with asparagus. I simmered the veggies until barely tender, added the meatballs, and simmered until all were done. I served with shirataki noodles that I'd rinsed very thoroughly and boiled for 10 minutes in very salty water, then added to the sauce to sit for 10 minutes to absorb the flavor and convert the texture to a standard tender noodle (shirataki noodles are zero carb kelp noodles and are crunchy until they absorb a fatty sauce and become tender. They also have a fishy scent/flavor unless rinsed very thoroughly, and I find soaking in salted water helps a lot to dispel that). Never hesitate to swap out veggies with similarly textured subs to your taste. This is YOUR recipe base and you can do whatever you want to make it your own. I certainly did, so apologies to all who dislike reviews that discuss substitutions. :-) This was raved about by all, and I plan to make it again soon! As others have said, this is a thin sauce as it should be. I simmered the sauce before adding veggies and meatballs until it was the thickness I wanted. The rice or noodles help soak it up, or if you omit those, just use a spoon to get all the lovely sauce. Bravo to those who went as written. I seem constitutionally unable to not mess with recipes. But often it works out for the best, to my pallet at least. But the summary is: try this out! adjust seasonings as you see fit, and you'll likely enjoy this as much as we did.
16th Mar, 2018
Made it with lean turkey mince and it was v tasty - would make again. Agree with a previous comment - Thai curries are meant to be slurpy /almost like soup - so this recipe is spot on
8th Jul, 2016
We all loved this recipe. Went down very well with 2 adults and 2 teenagers on a Saturday night :)
10th Feb, 2016
Disappointed. Rate as 3 star. Meatballs need more chilli to give it more "bit". I added baby corn and left out the bamboo shouts. It looks good but does not deliver. Will not be cooking again.
19th Jun, 2015
Very tasty. Didn't add the water so was perfect sauce
25th Aug, 2016
Did again and used chicken meatballs and added spinach and was delicious
28th Mar, 2014
Made this for dinner for friends and I tonight and we loved it. I will definitely make this again. I used turkey mince for the meatballs as it's leaner (and that was what I had in the fridge). Initially when shaping the meatballs they were very wet and I wasn't sure if I should have added some breadcrumbs to them but on cooking they stayed solid (they did go a little flat/squashed when I turned them but that's ok) and tasted lovely. I added full fat coconut milk as I couldn't get low fat. Instead of bamboo shoots and green beans I added some red and yellow peppers, mangetout, baby corn and chopped spring onion. Instead of basil I used coriander. The lime juice really added to the depth of flavour. I served mine with thai jasmine rice which soaked up the lovely sauce as it was originally a bit runny. All in all a simple, relatively quick (took about 35 mins) and delicious meal :)
25th Sep, 2013
Really tasty, I added a bit of corn flour to thicken but otherwise followed recipe. Would definitely make again.
24th Oct, 2012
Really simple and tasty. I've also made with turkey mince to make it a bit healthier and it worked well.
dysphoria's picture
8th Sep, 2012
even better the next day, cold!


9th Jan, 2016
This looks and sounds like a great recipe. I have recently bought a slow cooker and am wondering how it would be cooked in that. Would give all the lovely flavours plenty of time to meld together. Any opinions or has anyone tried it in a slow cooker?
goodfoodteam's picture
12th Feb, 2016
Thanks for your question. We haven’t tried it, but we don’t see why not. Try 6-8 hours on the low setting. 
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