Fall is in “full swing” here in Vancouver and it’s the season when we crave for scrumptious and hearty meals; I decided to combine two of our favourite foods together: Meatballs and Thai Green Curry with Zucchini and eggplant.
Almost two years ago I took a cooking class at the Blue Elephant Cooking School in Bangkok, the green curry recipe is a combination of what I’ve learnt at Blue Elephant and a partial adaptation from Andy Ricker’s Green curry with fish and eggplant recipe (from POK POK, see also blogger “Lady and Pup”‘s great adaptation (also pork meatball), it’s a great interpretation and I love the photos!).
Instead of jasmine rice, I decided to serve this dish with a cauliflower “fried” rice, a wonderful recipe (see separate posting) from my friend “PPQ”; it is a great way to include more vegetables into your meals and a very good option for “carb” conscious individuals; the flavors all worked wonderfully together. Enjoy (OO)!
Ingredients for the Lemongrass Meatball:
500 grams organic lean ground pork, 2 garlic cloves (finely minced), 1 stalk finely chopped lemongrass, 1 Tablespoon fresh galangal (or ginger, peeled and finely grated), 3 green scallions (white and green part finely chopped), 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (roughly chopped), 1/4 (up to 1/2 cup) of Japanese panko (as required), unsweetened almond or coconut milk (as required, approximately 1/4 cup), 1 large egg, 2 Tablespoon fish sauce, 1 Tablespoon coconut nectar (optional), 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoon white ground pepper (seasoning can be adjusted own taste).
Ingredients for the Green Curry:
1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 cup Thai green curry paste (store-bought or you can prepare your own), 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (roasted and grounded), 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds (ground roasted), 1 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk** , 1 medium Japanese eggplant (cut into 1 inch pieces), 2 medium zucchini (cut into 1 inch pieces), 1 (or 2) fresh Thai red chillies (sliced, seeds removed), 6 kaffir lime leaves (slightly torn by hand), sweet Thai basil leaves (1/4 – 1/2 cup for garnish), 1 Tablespoon fish sauce (more to adjust taste and seasoning) and 1 – 2 teaspoon grated palm sugar (for seasoning), coconut cream (for garnish), lime juice, chopped cilantro (for garnish).
**Almond milk is my own preference as I do not want the curry to be overly creamy. Andy Ricker’s recipe calls for 1/2 cup coconut cream and the preparation method is different.
To prepare the meatballs:
– In a large mixing bowl, using your hand, combine and gently mix ingredients (except panko and almond milk). Cover with wrap, marinade and refrigerate for at least one hour.
– Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
– When ready to cook meatballs, add panko and almond milk (adjust the quantity pending the
– Lightly oil your hands, shape into 1 inch balls
– (**This step is optional – I “soaked” the meatballs in coconut milk for 20 minutes first, pat them dry then bake in the oven – see picture below).
– Lined your baking tray with foil and space them so they are not touching. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes; then change to “broil” and “brown” for approximately 5 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside.
– Proceed to prepare the green curry once you place the meatballs in the oven.
To prepare the zucchini and eggplant green curry:
– In large 6 quart pan, heat olive oil over medium. Add the green curry paste, ground roasted coriander and cumin seeds, stir-fry until an aroma develops and ingredients are slightly browned.
– Add 1/2 cup of the coconut milk, cook and stir occasionally, allow it to simmer until oil is extracted
– Add the rest of coconut milk and almond milk. Bring to a boil, add eggplant then reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add zucchini and pork meatballs, cook until all vegetables are tender. Adjust the thickness of curry with water if necessary.
– Stir in fish sauce, palm sugar, kaffir lime leaves and chillies. Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
– Remove from heat, stir in the basil leaves and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
– Garnish with a drizzle of coconut cream, fresh sliced chillies (add more if you want more “heat”) and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with rice on the side.
– Omit the pork meatball and this becomes a great vegetarian dish.
***Here’s the recipe for Green Curry Paste from Blue Elephant Cooking School; the class was fun and informative, it’s worthwhile to attend if you happen to visit Bangkok.
10 pieces green birds eye chillies, 1 big green Serrano chilli, 1 coriander (or cilantro) root (omit if you are unable to find, use chopped coriander stems/leaf instead, approximately 1-2 tablespoon), 1/2 tablespoon kaffir lime zest (can use regular lime), 1/2 tablespoon finely sliced galangal (use ginger if you are unable to find), 1 Tablespoon lemon grass (finely sliced), 4 cloves of garlic (peeled), 3 shallots (peeled), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seed, 1/2 teaspoon ground roasted coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon white ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste, 10 sweet Thai basil leaves.
To prepare the green curry paste: Dry roast the cumin seed and coriander seed in skillet until seeds begin to pop, let cool slightly and place them in spice grinder and grind finely. Using the mortar, apply a “pushing” motion and pound kaffir lime zest, coriander root, lemongrass, galangal (1/2 and all chillies together. Add the remaining ingredients (add basil leaves last) and continue to pound until everything is blended into a smooth paste. **If you find this too labour intensive, ready-made Thai green curry paste are available almost everywhere. Unused paste can be kept in an airtight container for two weeks in the refrigerator or last up to 1 month in the freezer.