How To Make Tempeh Meatballs with Thai Curry Sauce
How To Prepare Shallot Mixture
In a medium-hot pan, saute the finely chopped shallots, minced garlic, and diced rehydrated shiitake mushrooms together. Cook for about 2 minutes and set aside to cool down.
How To Make Tempeh Meatballs
Using a food processor or a blender, process the cubed tempeh until you get a crumbly consistency. Add in the dry ingredients and Thai red curry paste. Process until fully combined. Using a spatula or spoon, combine the tempeh mixture, shallot mixture, and cornstarch together. Shape your meatballs to a ping pong ball size or around 2 inches in diameter. Using a non-stick frying pan, put some vegetable oil and fry your tempeh meatballs until both sides are golden brown. Set aside until ready to use.
How To Prepare Thai Red Curry Sauce
In a medium heated pan, stir continuously the Thai red curry paste for about 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add in the coconut milk and coconut sugar and cook for 5-7 minutes. Don’t forget to taste to make sure the sauce has a good balance of spiciness, sweetness, and saltiness.
How To Assemble Tempeh Meatballs With Thai Red Curry Sauce
Add in your cooked tempeh meatballs to the same pan of your prepared Thai red curry sauce. Turn the meatballs until fully coated with the sauce. When ready to serve, you can garnish with a drizzle of coconut milk, some chopped fresh basil or fresh parsley, sesame seeds, and sliced fresh red chilies.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Tempeh - If you are not sure what tempeh really is, you should look into it immediately.
Tempeh is a traditional Javanese food made of fermented soybeans. It’s a powerhouse plant-based protein, loaded with fiber and probiotics. Tempeh has more nutritional benefits compared to its soybean cousin tofu and is also way lower in sodium. If you are looking for a protein-packed meal that will also improve your gut health tempeh should be on your menu!
Given the meaty texture of tempeh, it’s the perfect meat substitute for this vegan meatball recipe.
- Shallots - a sweeter variety of the onion family with a hint of sharpness. If shallot is not available in your pantry, you can easily substitute it with yellow onions.
- Shiitake Mushrooms - we chose shiitake mushrooms for their strong flavor and intoxicating aroma. Portobello or porcini mushrooms can be great substitutes if shiitake mushrooms are unavailable.
- Ground Coriander - an aromatic spice with an earthy, slightly sweet, spicy, and citrusy flavor. A perfect spice for curry dishes, it can intensify the flavors and add a bit of tart.
- Dried Basil - although we love the fresh basil, we recommend using the dried version for this recipe. Dried basil has a more intense and concentrated flavor and is mintier than its fresh version.
- Thai Red Curry Paste - contrary to common belief, red curry paste is not the spiciest in the Thai curry section but it has a richer and deeper flavor. You can also make your own Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste and adjust the heat to your liking. We’ll be using this paste for both tempeh meatballs and curry sauce.
- Coconut Sugar - tasting similar to brown sugar, coconut sugar has a hint of caramel to it. This is a great option for any vegan or plant-based diet recipe. However, if you’re not following a certain diet, you can substitute this with regular granulated sugar. We’ll need coconut sugar for both our meatballs and sauce.
- Coconut Milk - if you’re familiar with Asian curries and Caribbean flavors, surely you’re not new to the rich, sweet, and nutty coconut milk flavor. A staple ingredient in curry recipes to create a thicker texture and deeper flavor. Make sure to leave some for the garnish.
- Cornstarch - usually used as a thickening agent, cornstarch will be used as a binder in forming the tempeh meatballs.
Tips & Suggestions
- Serving styles - with the rich, creamy, and spicy flavor of this curry dish, it’s quite a challenge not to pair it with some pita bread or rice. You can make your own vegan-friendly Psyllium Flatbread or opt for low-carb DIY Cauliflower Rice to serve with this tempeh curry dish.
- Taste your curry - we recommend tasting your curry paste first to check its spice and saltiness level.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Make Tempeh Meatballs Ahead?
Yes, absolutely! You can refrigerate tempeh meatballs for up to 3 days, or freeze and store them for up to a month. Keep it in a sealed airtight container or freezer bag.
What Else Can You Do With Tempeh Meatballs?
Knowing the basics for making tempeh meatballs, you can experiment with different flavors.
Replace the curry flavor with tomato sauce and Italian herbs and you will have vegan Italian meatballs. Try making your next meatless meatball sub with these. Or take them as a base for vegan Swedish meatballs and adjust the flavors.
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