Red Curry Meatballs – Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that’s perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that’ll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Red Curry Meatballs Recipe

I am a huge curry fan – whether it’s Thai-inspired or Indian-inspired – it’s hard to resist all the wonderful depth and intensity of flavors in curry recipes

These beef meatballs are richly seasoned with Madras curry powder, garam masala, ginger, coriander, cumin, and more. They’re juicy, tender, and pack a whollop of Indian flavors in every succulent bite.

Then there’s the homemade red curry sauce that has so many fragrant and rich dried spices in it, along with dried chili peppers, diced tomatoes, lime, cilantro, and plenty more.

It’s intensely flavored, spicy without being too hot, and is just divine drizzled over rice. 

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Even though you may think this recipe takes hours and hours to make, it really doesn’t! The meatballs are quick and easy, ready in less than 30 minutes. And while they bake, your curry is simmering, and everything comes together in about 1 hour.

Like many ethnically-driven recipes, there are lots of ingredients in this red curry meatballs recipe. There’s no way around it if you want to have an authentic-tasting curry meatball recipe. 

Despite the long list of ingredients, nothing is too tricky to find and you should be able to find everything you need in the ethnic section of most well-stocked supermarkets. If you can’t, Amazon links are provided for anything that may prove tricky. Amazon is also probably more budget-friendly.

Tip: Finally, this was a long post to write, and I explained a lot of details and “trivia”, but if you just want the recipe. Scroll past all my chatter right down to the recipe card section where you’ll find just the recipe.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

What is the Difference Between Indian and Thai Red Curry?

This is one of those questions that everyone will have a slightly different answer and everyone will swear they are correct!

In my opinion, Indian curries tend to be:

  • Less spicy overall
  • Use dried spices rather than curry paste
  • Use ghee or dairy 
  • More stew-like and less soupy or thin
  • Use tomatoes or a tomato base with sauteed onions
  • Served with Basmati rice
  • Never served with noodles

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

On the contrary, Thai curries often are:

  • More spicy in general
  • Use a curry paste rather than dried spices
  • Made coconut milk
  • Soupier, thinner, and brothier 
  • Fresh lemongrass, ginger, lime, or shallots used in place of tomatoes and onions
  • Served with jasmine rice
  • Never served with bread

Source

That being said, the beauty of making curries at home is that you can combine elements from various countries and cultures and tweak things until you get the flavor profile just perfect, for you.  

I’m less concerned about whether something is totally “authentic” from one country or region and more concerned with do I love how it tastes and would I make this again?

And yes, I would definitely make this Indian-leaning red curry with meatballs again and again!

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Ingredients in Beef Meatballs 

For the meatballs, you’ll need the following easy to find fridge and pantry ingredients including the following:

  • Lean ground beef
  • Jalapeno pepper
  • Egg
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • White onion
  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Garam masala
  • Fresh ginger
  • Madras curry powder
  • Salt
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Pepper

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Note: All ingredients amounts are listed in the recipe card section when you keep scrolling down.

Ingredients in Homemade Curry Sauce

In order to make homemade red curry sauce, you’ll need the following fridge and pantry ingredients:

  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • White onion
  • Garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • All-purpose flour
  • Madras curry powder
  • Garam masala
  • Turmeric
  • Coriander
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Tomato paste
  • Beef broth
  • Canned petite diced tomatoes
  • Canned full-fat coconut milk
  • Dried red chiles (Indian kashmiri chili peppers or Mexican chiles de arbol – these are spicier)
  • Bay leaf
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Basmati rice, for serving

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Note: All ingredients amounts are listed in the recipe card section when you keep scrolling down.

How to Make Beef Meatballs

Making the beef meatballs for your beef meatball curry recipe is super easy by following these basic and straightforward steps:

Step 1: To a large bowl, add all the ingredients.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Step 2: Mix everything together lightly.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Step 3: Scoop our your meatballs with a small scoop.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

 

Step 4: Bake for 20 minutes or until just done. 

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Tip: While the meatballs bake, get started on your curry sauce!

How to Make Red Curry Sauce

Making your own Indian-inspired curry sauce doesn’t have to be intimidating. In fact, by following my easy steps, you’ll look like a curry-making pro!

Step 1: To a large saucepan, add the oil, onions, garlic, ginger, and saute for 3 to 4 minutes.

Step 2: Add the dried spices, salt, pepper, flour, and toast for 1 minute.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Step 3: Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

Step 4: Add the beef broth, diced tomatoes, and stir to combine with the spiced onion and flour mixture.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Step 5: Add the coconut milk, red chiles, bay leaf, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Step 6: Add the cooked meatballs to the curry, stir to combine and coat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 7: Remove the bay leaf and chiles if desired, add the lime juice, cilantro, taste, and serve with rice or as desired!

Can I Make Meatballs with Ground Chicken or Ground Turkey?

Yes you sure can. You can use either ground chicken, ground turkey, ground pork, or mix-and-match them with the ground beef.

The leaner the protein, such as ground chicken and turkey, the faster the meatballs will dry out so make sure not to overbake them in the least because they will continue to cook as they simmer in the curry sauce.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Can I Use Frozen Meatballs for Red Curry Meatballs?

For anyone short on time or energy, and you don’t want to bother with making your own meatballs, you can use frozen meatballs that have been previously cooked.

Thaw them and add them directly to your already simmer red curry. You can skip the baking step since they’ve already been cooked. 

Tip: I love Trader Joe’s frozen turkey meatballs (they also have frozen beef) for anyone looking for a frozen option.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Serving Suggestions for Beef Red Curry Meatballs

The obvious choice for me with red curry meatballs is a side of basmati rice. Spoon some of that glorious curry sauce over the rice and let it absorb right in.

If you’re short on time or energy, you can always use a few packets of Basmati Ready Rice

For those looking to enjoy your curry meatballs with a curried vegetable, this Roasted Curried Cauliflower with Chickpeas is fabulous. 

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Can I Make the Meatballs in Advance? 

Yes you can. There are a few make-ahead options for this beef curry meatballs recipe including the following:

  • Form the raw meatballs up to 24 hours before you plan on baking them. 
  • Assemble and cook the meatballs as instructed and then store them airtight in the fridge. Within the next 2 to 3 days, make the curry sauce, drop the meatballs into it to warm them and simmer. Note – Freshly made meatballs that are warm from the oven will absorb the curry sauce better and will be more tender overall. However, if there’s a reason you need to prepare the dish in components like this, it’ll be fine.
  • Make the entire recipe as instructed, let cool, and then freeze for later. 

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Storage Recommendations for Meatballs with Red Curry Sauce

Extra red curry sauce meatballs will keep airtight for up to 5 days in the fridge or up to 4 months in the freezer.

One great thing about curries is that the flavors tend to marry and meld together as time passes so your meatballs and red curry may taste even better as leftovers!

Generally speaking, meatballs (and curry sauces) freeze and thaw very well so you can even use this as a batch-cooking recipe.

Double it and eat half within the first few days and freeze the other half.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Tips for the Best Red Curry Meatballs

Spiciness: This curry has a pretty good kick to it, but it’s balanced, and quite honestly I think a proper curry should be a little bit spicy. However, there are ways to reduce the spiciness by:

  • Seeding the jalapeno or using half of one (or none).
  • Use Indian kashmiri chili peppers rather than Mexican chiles de arbol because kashmiris are less spicy.
  • Also, remove the chili peppers at the end when you remove the bay leaf. If they stay in with the dish, their heat will seep out into the curry broth and increase the overall heat factor as time passes.
  • Use a mild Madras curry powder. There are literally thousands of types of curry powders so make sure you know what you’re buying from mild to wild and everything in between based on your ultimate goal for the spicy factor.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Various dried spices: There are a some dried spices such as garam masala and Madras curry powder that you may not have in your cupboard for this recipe. However, they’re essential and can’t be omitted. Other spices such as coriander, turmeric, or cumin are not quite as essential and if you’re short by one (or two) there’s enough else going on that your red curry meatballs will survive. For best results though, follow the recipe as written. 

Ground beef substitute: Ground beef is what I used for my meatballs with red curry sauce. However, you can also use ground chicken, ground turkey, ground pork, or a mix-and-match combination of any of the aforementioned.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Breadcrumbs: Make sure to use panko breadcrumbs rather than regular breadcrumbs. They’re Japanese-style bread crumbs and help give the meatballs some texture.

If you’re wondering what to do with the rest of your box of panko bread crumbs, check out these other great recipes using panko bread crumbs

Shaping the meatballs: Scoop our your meatballs with a small scoop. Not only does this ensure that they all visually appear the same, but it ensures they will all cook at the same time and rate.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Baking the meatballs: These are small meatballs and can dry out quickly so make sure not to overbake them.  It’s fine if they are slightly underbaked and a bit pink in the center as they will continue to cook through as they simmer in the red curry sauce after baking.

Taste your red curry: Curry of any kind always varies in terms of exact flavor profile, spiciness, saltiness, and so forth. Make sure to taste yours as you go, making sure it’s what you want. Don’t be afraid to add salt. The finishing touches of lime juice and cilantro really add great depth of flavor so don’t skip them. And if your curry sauce is at all bitter from the tomatoes, lime juice, or chiles, a pinch of sugar to balance it out is a good trick.

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!
Yield: 6

Red Curry Meatballs

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Red Curry Meatballs - Indian-spiced beef meatballs are simmered in a homemade red curry sauce that's perfectly spicy, savory, and so comforting especially when served over a bed of basmati rice! Learn how to recreate this ethnic dish that'll IMPRESS your family and friends and have everyone begging for more!

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced small (use 1/2 pepper or none if concerned about heat level)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon madras curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Red Curry

  • 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced small
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger 
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups reduced sodium beef broth
  • one 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (lite may be used but curry will be thinner)
  • 3 dried red chiles (Indian kashmiri chili peppers or Mexican chiles de arbol - these are spicier)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely minced; or more to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
  • Granulated or brown sugar, optional and to taste
  • Lime wedges, optional for serving
  • Basmati rice, optional for serving

Instructions

  1. Meatballs* - Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with heavy-duty nonstick aluminum foil for easier cleanup (optional but recommended), spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. To a large bowl, add all ingredients, and using your clean hands or a wooden spoon gently mix all the ingredients together, taking care not to overmix or meatballs will be tougher.
  3. Using a small scoop, form 1-tablespoon sized meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until just done, making sure not to overbake. Tips - It's okay to pull meatballs when they're slightly pink in the center because they'll continue to cook when they simmer in the curry sauce. While meatballs are baking, start making the curry.
  5. Red Curry - To a large skillet, add the oil, onion, garlic, ginger, and saute over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring nearly constantly.
  6. Add the flour, Madras curry powder, garam masala, turmeric, coriander, salt, pepper, and toast for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  7. Add the tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  8. Add the beef broth, diced tomatoes (do not drain), and stir to combine.
  9. Add the coconut milk (I highly recommend full fat rather than lite, use canned coconut milk, not refrigerated), Indian kashmiri chili peppers or Mexican chiles de arbol (these are spicier), bay leaf, and simmer over medium-low for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. When the meatballs have finished baking, carefully drop them into the curry, stir to combine and coat evenly, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the bay leaf and optionally remove the chile peppers (remove them if you're concerned about the curry getting too spicy as it sits), add the lime juice, cilantro, stir to combine, and taste your curry. Don't be afraid to add salt, additional spices as desired, and if your curry is bitter, I find that 1 teaspoon of sugar takes the edge off and balances the dish but this is optional.
  12. Optionally serve with lime wedges, basmati rice, or as desired. Curry and meatballs will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat gently before serving.

Notes

*Frozen meatballs may be used. Thaw them and add them directly to your already simmer red curry. You can skip the baking step since they’ve already been cooked. 

You can also make meatballs with ground chicken, ground turkey, ground pork, or mix-and-match with the ground beef. Take care that you don't overbake them especially with very lean protein like chicken and turkey.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 448Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 1173mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 30g

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