Serves a Crowd

Thai Meatball Poppers with Creamy Peanut DippingĀ Sauce

October 17, 2013
0 Ratings
  • Makes 18-20 mini meatballs
Author Notes

These meatballs are very juicy and full of bright, Southeast Asian flavors. It's a super simple recipe to prepare with a big wow factor. They make a great cocktail party food too. The peanut dipping sauce is a breeze to make and compliments the assertive flavors of the meatballs. The sauce is also good with chicken kabobs or broiled chicken.

I use organic ground beef here, but I you can swap it for ground turkey or ground chicken for lighter meatballs. Adjust the cooking times accordingly. These beef meatballs cook very fast. They're broiled for about 8 minutes. It's important to really run your knife over the scallions and chili pepper, almost mincing them. This way, the veggies will cook along with the meat.

Thai Kitchen brand of coconut milk is a favorite of mine. I usually find it in the Asian section of my grocery store.

Thai bird's eye peppers come in red and green. They're very hot but I love them. I also find them in my regular supermarket. Use all or part of whatever kind of chili pepper floats your boat. If you don't want to seek out a fresh chili pepper, swap it for sriracha sauce. If feeding children, you can omit the chili in the recipe and serve sriracha sauce on the side.

Thai basil has a strong flavor and is just delicious, but regular basil will work just fine here too.

You can round out this meal by steaming some jasmine rice and making my lime-kissed Persian chopped salad or by chopping some baby cucumbers and dressing them with a little sea salt and lime.

Makes 18-20 mini meatballs
Jilly Inspired

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound of ground beef. I used grass fed, organic, 85% lean. You can swap it for ground turkey or ground chicken (see notes)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • All or part of one tiny Thai bird's eye pepper or jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 4 scallions, diced very finely
  • 2-3 limes, zest half of one and use the zest in the meatballs. Slice the limes into wedges for serving.
  • Handful of Thai basil and fresh mint. Regular basil will work too.
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut milk from one full fat can. I like Thai kitchen brand. Try to take some of the coconut cream from the top of the can. You can also use light coconut milk.
  • Tiny drizzle of honey or pinch of sugar (optional)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Neutral tasting oil or coconut oil for cooking
  • For Serving: Thai basil, lime wedges, cucumber salad or Persian salad, rice, peanut dipping sauce
  1. For the Peanut Sauce You'll Need: 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter. I use an all natural brand without salt. 1 lime 1 cup of coconut milk, lite or regular. I use full fat Thai Kitchen brand. Sea salt to taste Prepare the peanut dipping sauce by putting the peanut butter in a large bowl and vigorously stirring it with the coconut milk. The large bowl ensures there won't be any spattering. At first, it will look lumpy and watery. Eventually, the 2 ingredients combine into a smooth sauce. Add a few squeezes of lime juice from one lime. Stir in a good pinch or two of salt if you're using a no salt peanut butter. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the broiler on high. Line a large baking pan with tinfoil. Spray the tin foil with cooking spray or coat with a drizzle of neutral tasting oil. In another large bowl, add all the meatball ingredients up to and including the salt. Combine the ingredients without overmixing. Wet or oil your hands and form the meatballs into round balls the size of large marbles or walnuts. Place on the prepared baking tray and broil them for about 8-10 minutes. The inside should be cooked through but still very juicy. Serve with the peanut satay sauce, fresh lime wedges and other suggestions. Enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Vera Kern
    Vera Kern
  • Claudia Feit Phillips
    Claudia Feit Phillips

2 Reviews

Vera K. September 19, 2015
I made these today and loved them. I left out the ginger because I don't like it very much and added a tiny bit of dried lemongrass because I had it around. I also pan friend them. The meatballs and the sauce tasted great. I served them on Vietnamese rice noodles with a sauce of fish sauce and lime.
Claudia F. July 12, 2015
I made this yesterday. They sound absolutely delicious, but they weren't. They had an odd "powdery" texture. I can't figure out what in the world would cause that. Very weird. My friend who is an avid cook is stumped. Also, the meatballs did not hold together well. Seems like they need a binder of some kind.