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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Make Meatball Magic

By America’s Test Kitchen

Boldly flavored turkey meatballs cook up perfectly juicy and tender nestled in a skillet of creamy coconut rice. We packed the meatballs with cilantro, scallions, and ginger for fresh brightness and then added chili-garlic sauce and fish sauce for heat and savory depth. We bound the mixture together and kept the meatballs moist with an egg and some panko bread crumbs. After browning the meatballs, we sautéed red bell pepper in the leftover fat, and then we added rice and cooked it until it was translucent around the edges (a step that added nutty flavor and prevented future clumping). To cook the rice, we swapped out one-third of the water for coconut milk—just enough for a noticeable coconut sweetness but not so much that the finished dish was stodgy. The meatballs and rice finished cooking together in the covered skillet, and we rounded out the meal with the addition of thawed frozen peas. We finished the dish with more fresh herbs, a squeeze of lime, and some chopped peanuts for a welcome crunch. Be sure to use ground turkey, not ground turkey breast (also labeled 99 percent fat-free), in this recipe. We like the flavor of jasmine rice here, though any long-grain white rice will work.

Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Rice, Bell Peppers, and Peas

Total Time:
1½ hours
•  1 pound ground turkey
• ½ cup panko bread crumbs
• 6 scallions, sliced thin, divided
• ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 2 tablespoons Asian chili-garlic sauce, plus extra for serving
• 2 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
• 1 teaspoon table salt, divided
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into ¼-inch-thick strips (2 cups)
• 1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed
• 1½ cups water
• 2/3 cup canned coconut milk
• ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
• ¼ cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped coarse
• Lime wedges

1. Using your hands, mix turkey, panko, two-thirds of scallions, ¼ cup cilantro, egg, chili-garlic sauce, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, ginger, and ½ teaspoon salt in bowl until thoroughly combined. Using wet hands, pinch off and roll 2-tablespoon-size pieces of mixture into balls and arrange on large plate (you should have about 20 meatballs); refrigerate for 15 minutes.

2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown meatballs on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes; return to plate.

3. Add bell peppers to fat left in skillet and cook until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until edges of rice begin to turn translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in water, coconut milk, remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and bring to boil. Return meatballs to skillet and add any accumulated juices. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes.

4. Remove skillet from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Gently stir peas into rice and let sit until heated through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts, remaining one-third of scallions, and remaining ¼ cup cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and extra chili-garlic sauce.

Serves: 4

Reprinted from The Complete One Pot (2020) with permission from America’s Test Kitchen,