It feels like we just got home, but we’re already leaving in five days for Thailand! (After that, we’ll head to India, Croatia, Chile, Brazil, and Germany.) We loved Thailand so much last time that we just couldn’t resist going back, even though there are so many other places in the world we desperately want to see. The people were incredibly welcoming, warm, and kind, and of course the food (like these Thai green curry rice balls) was some of the best we’ve encountered anywhere.
While we were there, we spent my birthday in a small coastal town full of monkeys and German tourists. At the weekend night market, we were among the only non-locals trying the various culinary offerings. One of my absolute favorites was a fried curry rice ball. With that as my inspiration, I created this recipe to bring back memories of warm Thai evenings by the water.
Note: after some experimenting, I found that this particular recipe actually works better with basmati rice. The (more expected) use of jasmine rice using this technique of cooking the rice in coconut milk leads to an ultra-sticky finished product, which was too dense for my taste. If you want a stickier, thicker, denser final product with the more typical Thai flavor of jasmine rice, go for it!
If you really enjoy spicy food, and the kick of the green curry paste isn’t enough for you, feel free to finely chop a couple of bird’s eye chilis to mix in with the rice as it cooks. Adding them with the rice helps infuse the flavor throughout, and cooks them enough that you won’t get raw chili bites in the final product.
And let me know what you think of these Thai green curry rice balls in the comments.
- 1 tablespoon flavorless oil
- 1 tablespoon green curry paste (if you’re in the US, I recommend Mae Ploy!)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 3 green onions
- 5 chives
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Make the green curry rice:
- Heat the 1 tablespoon of flavorless oil in a pot with a lid. Add the 1 tablespoon of green curry paste and fry, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 30-45 seconds).
- Add the 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 cup of water, and 1 teaspoon of sugar to the pan. Bring to a boil.
- Add the 1 cup of rice to the pot, stir, cover, and reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on (no peeking!).
- Turn the heat off and allow the pan to sit for 10 minutes.
- Thinly slice the 3 green onions and 5 chives. Mix them into the rice mixture (the heat will soften them slightly).
- Allow the rice to cool until you can handle it.
Prepare and fry the curry rice balls:
- Preheat oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lightly beat the two eggs until smooth. Mix the 2 cups of panko with a couple generous pinches of salt.
- Moisten your hands, then roll a couple tablespoons’ worth of curry rice into a ball. It should be a little smaller than a golf ball or a ping pong ball.
- Gently coat the ball in the eggs, then coat with panko breadcrumbs. Set aside and make a few more. (Tip: rinse your hands when they get sticky, then moisten with water again. This will help keep the balls from sticking to your hands.)
- Deep-fry the balls, a few at a time, in 350 degree oil until golden-brown and crispy. This takes about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Drain. Repeat until you’ve used up the rice.