Friday, April 21, 2006

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.


Blogger Ilva said...

Sounds and looks nice, I like the description as Thai Swedish meatballs as well!

7:00 PM  
Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Yeay! I actually have ALL the ingredients, yes, including the fish sauce and the red curry paste (which I sometimes use as a marinade for red snapper). I am going to HAVE to make this, Susan! Thanks so much for the sharing the recipe. YUM!

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been seeing quite a few references to peanut/curry/coconut on the Food Network lately and can only agree with how fabulous those flavors come together. Absolutely delicious stuff!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your Greek Easter Lamb... kinda reminded me of the roasted young pig that my dad did for large parties. The rotating spit was a good sized one (it was motorized). He'd be there in the back lot keeping an eye on things and I remember the best part of the pig...when the outer skin gets all crispy, crackling hot. Yummy stuff to pull off and bite into!

6:19 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Ilva, Thanks for stopping by!

Lotus, I hope you like it! It's more of an appetizer than a main dish. You can also put chopped basil on top. Let me know how it turns out.

Rowena, A motor would certainly make things easier! But I like the community aspect of everybody pitching in to help. A whole roasted pig is to me a symbol of Hawaiian cuisine. I thinks it's from watching too much TV, though. Leis, poi and roasted pig. I agree about the skin. I stood outside while everyone else was having salad and ate stray pieces of crispy skin while the guys were chopping.

8:47 PM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

can't wait to try these two thai recipes... the only thing i'm missing is mint leaves. red curry is one of my absolute favorite flavors. thanks, susan, for giving us a recipe that didn't involve spinning a dead goat for a day :)

2:06 AM  
Blogger Tracie P. said...

that sounds heavenly! i LOVE meatballs and i can just imagine how good they are in a sweethotsalty sauce...yum:) but i want to know how do you stay so thin??

3:26 PM  
Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Yes, Susan, I have been wondering the same thing - just how do you stay so slim??

12:14 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hello Melissa, Hey, whadda you got against dead goat anyways? ;)BTW Happy Greek Easter.

Tracie, Lotus, Ugh! Since moving to Italy I've gained about 10 pounds. The only thing that keeps me out of size XXL is that I'm afraid to drive here so I ride my bike everywhere I go, to work, everywhere.

12:39 AM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

oh, you know, we suburban midwesterners just can't wrap our brains around a dead animal roasting on a spit in the backyard! lol! out here where i live now they have a pig pickin'. this involves putting a whole pig on a big grill and slowly roasting on low heat for a day. once it's done, they take the meat, shred it, and make eastern nc bbq-- with vinegar and red pepper flakes. yummmmm!

2:29 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hello Melissa,

Yep, I know. At Greek Easter events I dodge the entrail appetizer and also the traditional Easter vigil entrail-dill soup, eeesh! But that North Carolina BBQ, I've heard of that. How much vinegar and how much red pepper are we talkin?

7:26 PM  
Blogger Sara - Piperita said...

Dear Susan, I can assure, for experience, that a bottle of fish sauce will NEVER go bad! I kept one for years, even outside the refrigerator, and even in its last days was tasting as much rotten as the early days!!! Orrible smell, but wonderful taste in dishes! Love thai food too, and it is a wonderfull experience doing it at home!

8:26 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Amazing... I ended up making much of the same dinner last night... IT's all so yummy and something I rarely see here in Canada.

4:41 PM  

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