Meatball Curry with Green Coconut Cilantro Sauce

Green Meatball Curry 1

They say that some folks are predisposed to dislike cilantro (even Julia Child hated it!).  I am so, so glad that I’m not afflicted.  It’s far too important an ingredient in so many of my favorite foods.   I mean, what other herb would I put in Pico de Gallo?  How would I garnish tacos? Would I have to pick out the cilantro from summer rolls?  A world without cilantro?  It sounds like a scary place.

While I most often use cilantro as a final pop of freshness , color and flavor to many dishes, here the cilantro is the primary flavor and star of the show.   Cilantro, one and a half cups of it to be exact, combines with Indian spices and coconut milk for a rich and creamy curry sauce with extra herb-y goodness.

Green Meatball Curry

It seems like I’m pretty much all about meatballs and/or sliders these days (see here, here and here) and I’m happy to continue the streak with this curry.  Consider this dish the meat equivalent to the Mexican green cilantro rice I made a couple years  back (has it really been that long?).

The first time I made this I was disappointed that the sauce wasn’t quite as vibrant as I expected.  It turned out to more of a green-specked light brown rather than green.  And so the second go-around I threw in a handful or two of spinach into the sauce.  It doesn’t really affect the flavor, but it gives the sauce a little nutritional boost and a nice color.  You can certainly leave the spinach out if you don’t have any on hand.

Green Meatball Curry 2


Meatball Curry with Green Coconut Cilantro Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


* 1 pound ground beef or lamb
* 1 Serrano chile pepper, minced
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* black pepper

* 2 Tablespoons oil
* 1 medium to large yellow onion, chopped
* 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger or ginger paste
* 7 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 Serrano chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
* 13 ounce can coconut milk (approximately 1-2/3 cups)
* 1-1/2 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems
* one or two handfuls baby spinach (optional)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


Mix the ground meat with the Serrano, cumin, garam masala, salt and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper. Do not overmix, as this will toughen the meatballs. Gently form the mixture into 16-20 round meatballs and set them aside on a plate.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softened. Add the ginger, garlic, and Serrano chile peppers and continue to cook until the onions begin to turn golden. Add the cumin, coriander, and garam masala and stir to evenly coat the onion mixture. Add the coconut milk, cilantro and the spinach, if using, as well as the salt. Bring to the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for about five minutes. Use an immersion blender to process the mixture until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil once again.

Carefully add the meatballs and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, gently shaking the pan occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Add the apple cider vinegar and give the saucepan another gentle shake or carefully stir, paying attention not to break apart any meatballs.

Adapted from Anjum's New Indian by Anjum Anand

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4 Responses to “Meatball Curry with Green Coconut Cilantro Sauce”

  1. #
    Brandy — May 29, 2014 at 3:34 am

    I made this last night, and it turned out so well! I’m not a cook, so this was definitely challenging. I don’t like coconut milk or cilantro, but they complimented each other so well I couldn’t taste either ingredient. Thanks!!


    • Cate — October 4th, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

      So glad you liked it Brandy- especially considering you don’t even like two of the main ingredients!


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