Sweet, salty and bitter are the flavors of Thai food that highlight chicken, beef, pork or tofu in bowls of soup, vegetables and stews. Herbs like lemongrass – light yellow herbaceous stalks – add citrus notes, along with Kaffir lime leaves, to many Thai dishes. These unique Asian flavors accentuate basic ground meat, especially poultry into memorable meals.
In Los Angeles we have a few casual Thai restaurants that make really nice food. Night + Market is located in West Hollywood and Venice, and Night + Market Song in Silver Lake are creating some authentic Thai street food. Chef Yenbamroong has a cookbook called, “Night + Market,” which is loaded with his creative recipes. Recently my husband and I attended a dinner at Night + Market where Chef Chris and his grandma were cooking in the kitchen – what a treat!
If you love Thai food and want to ease your way into making this cuisine at home, these Thai Chicken Meatballs are quite a delight. Ground chicken is mixed with spices and formed into balls, then cooked on the stove top in an easy pan sauce and served piping hot over a bowl of steamy rice.
I think these meatballs make a great dinnertime meal, but you can prepare them as an appetizer for a party too. These fragrant meatballs are deliciously quick and can be made ahead and reheated right before serving.
1 pound ground chicken
2 stalks lemongrass
1/2 cup cilantro, divided
1 clove garlic
1 Thai or Serrano chili, seeds removed
1/3 cup soy sauce or coconut aminos
1/3 cup chicken broth
salt & pepper
cooked brown rice, optional
1. Remove outer layers off stalk of lemongrass. Slice tender ends and mince finely. Mince cilantro, garlic, scallions and chili. Zest lime and set aside.
2. Remove chicken from packaging and place in a bowl with lemongrass, half of cilantro, scallions, garlic, chili and lime zest. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Mix gently with hands until combined.
3. In a large saute pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and place over medium high heat. Roll meat into balls and place in pan to brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove meatballs and place on a plate.
4. In a measuring cup, mix together soy sauce, broth and juice of lime, pour into pan. Increase heat to high for 3 minutes and let sauce reduce slightly. Add meatballs back into pan and toss with sauce. Continue to cook for 4 minutes or until cooked through. Ladle meatballs and sauce over brown rice and top with other half of cilantro. Enjoy!