Thai Meatballs in a Coconut milk, Peanut Curry Sauce (Panaeng Neua)
Otherwise known as Thai Swedish meatballs. This is one relatively simple Thai recipe as it has “only” 11 ingredients. Cooking Thai food requires commitment, not that the dishes are hard or time-consuming to make but that the dishes usually require a pantry stocked with galangal, Keffir lime leaves, red, orange or green curry paste, cilantro roots (yes! the roots), tamarind paste, dried shrimp powder, fish sauce, lemongrass, and so on. Once you have these things clogging up your shelf space and fridge, you often feel the responsibility to use them, not let that bottle of fish sauce go bad. (Can fish sauce, a product made from already fermented fish, actually go bad? What would the definition of rotten fish sauce be?) Anyway, I really like this dish and it quick to make, and it’s not Greek which is probably a relief to some of you! Here’s the dish:
1 lb ground beef
flour for dredging (coating) the meatballs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
2 tbsp plus ½ tsp red curry paste
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp peanut butter (chunky if you have it)
2 tsps sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp chopped chives (or green onions)
1 tsp chopped mint.
Mix ½ tsp red curry paste with the ground beef and form 50 1-inch diameter meatballs. Place some flour in a plastic bag with no holes. Drop 6-7 meatballs in at a time , shake the bag and the meatballs out dusting off any excess flour. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and place the meatballs in. Sautee the meatballs, that is frequently shake the pan to get them moving around and brown on all sides. Music to sautee meatballs by: New York punk classics, The Ramones. "Rock, rock, rock, rock, rock n' roll high schoooool" Actually if you slowed the speed down and took out the guitar feedback, the Ramones would sound a '50s doo wop group. It's true, listen. Once the meatballs have been in the pan for 5 minutes, add the chopped garlic and shake the pan some more. Cook for 2 minutes and remove the meatballs and garlic, reserving some of the oil. Now add the rest of the red curry paste to the pan, stir and spread it with a spatula for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and peanut butter and mix them thoroughly with the curry paste. It will take 3-4 minutes for the ingredients to form a smooth consistency. Now add the sugar and fish sauce, combine and return the meatballs and garlic to the pan. Simmer the dish for another 2 minutes, take off the heat, sprinkle the herbs on top and serve immediately.