Spicy, tangy, and deeply savory, this dish channels my favorite things about Thai food. Traditionally made with chicken thighs, chicken breast was used for the meatballs making them feel light in calories and well balanced with the broth.
Serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 pound ground chicken breast meat
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried Thai basil
Kosher salt, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh lemongrass
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup well-shaken canned coconut milk
1-1/2 cups fresh cilantro sprigs, more for garnish
1/2 cup small fresh basil leaves, more for garnish
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 1/2 cups julienne carrots
Add the chicken cumin, coriander, and salt, a to a large mixing bowl and mix well. To form the meatballs, set a small bowl of cold water nearby and, occasionally moistening your hands, gently roll 1 1/2-ounce portions of the meat between your palms into balls; you should get 16.
Over medium-high heat in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or a heavy bottom pot, heat the oil until shimmering. Add half of the meatballs, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, undisturbed, until browned on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and brown the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, and repeat with the remaining meatballs.
Add the shallots, jalapeño, lemongrass and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the pot; cook, stirring, until the shallots soften, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Stir in half of the cilantro and the basil, and remove from the heat. Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a regular blender, purée the mixture. Return to the pot if using a regular blender. Add the meatballs, lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the meatballs cook through (165°F), 15 to 20 minutes, adding the carrots during the last minute or two to cook until crisp-tender.
Divide the meatballs, carrots, and broth among bowls. Garnish with the remaining cilantro and basil leaves and serve.
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