This recipe comes from my new cookbook Cooking With Essential Oils, now available in paperback on Amazon or in digital download. I just love cooking with essential oils. This recipe uses lime, ginger, and basil essential oils in the sauce and lemongrass and bay laurel oils. You will be hooked once you try them. The oils just add so much flavor.

Buy the cookbook here!

My wife thinks she doesn’t like Thai food until I make it at home. After her weight-loss surgery, we ate a lot of ground meats because they were easier to digest. These lemongrass and ginger meatballs have unexpected flavor from a traditional Italian or Swedish meatball. The recipe as written calls for ground beef. Understand that when I buy ground beef, I usually buy organic, grass-fed and grass-finished. I believe that you should buy the best quality ingredients you can afford and simply eat less of them. You can also substitute ground turkey or chicken in this recipe for the beef, if you prefer. However, if you do that, I strongly recommend using dark meat so the meatballs are not too dry. – Chef John

Thai Red Curry Sauce

Curry Ingredients:

¼ cup coconut oil or olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)

1 large red onion, cut in half and sliced into ¼ inch strips (about 1½ cups)

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger (about a 2-inch nub of ginger about the size of your thumb), divided in half

3 cloves garlic, crushed

3 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 each red and green bell peppers, sliced into thin 1/2 inch x 2-inch long strips

2 carrots, peeled cut in half and sliced about ¼ inch thick (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cans (14 ounces) regular full fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon tamari

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

5 drops lime essential oil

3 drops ginger essential oil

4 drops basil essential oil

¼ teaspoon salt (more to taste)

Garnishes/sides: handful of chopped fresh basil or cilantro

Thai Red Curry with Lemongrass and Ginger Meatballs cooking over the stove in a Le Creuset dutch oven pot.

Heat a large skillet with deep sides on medium high over medium heat. Once it is very hot, add the oil, carrots, onion and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the ginger and garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds, while stirring continuously.

Immediately add the bell peppers and cook 3-5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Dissolve the curry pasted into the vegetable stock and add to skillet. Cook for about 2 minutes continually, stirring slowly. Bring to a simmer.

Add the coconut milk and stir to combine while the mixture simmers slightly over medium/low heat for about 20-30 minutes. Stir often so as not to burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.

Remove the pot from the heat and season with tamari and lime juice. Add salt to taste. If the curry needs a little more rounded flavor, add ½ teaspoon more tamari. For greater acidity, add ½ teaspoon of additional rice vinegar or lime juice.

Lemongrass and Ginger Meatballs

Meatball Ingredients:

4 pounds very lean ground beef

2 ounces fresh ginger, minced

2 ounces fresh lemongrass, finely chopped

2 ounces garlic, minced

15 drops lemongrass essential oil

15 drops bay laurel essential oil

3 tablespoons salt

4 tablespoons black pepper

1 tablespoon white pepper

1 quart vegetable oil

Heat vegetable oil in a deep pot heated to 400 degrees. I use a high temperature candy thermometer for temperature regulation.

Mix all ingredients in a very large mixing bowl. Squish all together—I used my hands—for at least 2-3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors absorb and blend.

Spray two cookie sheets with nonstick spray. Using a small ice cream scoop, form meatballs and place on cookie sheet. Place 10-12 (no more than that) into the heated oil for frying. Adding too many will drop the oil temperature too much and they will absorb the oil versus creating a crispy outer crust. When brown, lift out of oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or on a paper bag.

You can freeze the leftovers and they will keep for at least a month. If you use a vacuum sealer, the meatballs will keep for 4-6 months. I usually double the batch when good grass-fed beef is on sale and freeze in a vacuum sealer.

To serve: Divide meatballs evenly into 5 or 6 bowls and place about a ½ cup Cilantro Lime Rice (recipe herein) in each bowl and ladle curry sauce on top. Garnish with chopped cilantro or fresh torn basil leaves.

Written by Chef John O'Neil