Sri Lankan Meatball Curry

Sri Lankan Meatball Curry pinit
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Sri Lankan meatball curry made with coconut milk. An easy one-pot recipe for all meatball lovers. It’s spicy, and creamy, and goes well with bread, rice, and string hoppers.

This creamy meatball curry is a lifesaver for me. I love it because it’s so versatile and very easy to make. I don’t even have to thaw the meatballs. All I have to do is take the packet of meatballs out of the freezer and dump the meatballs into the pot. It’s a quick and easy way to add protein to your Sri Lankan lunch or dinner. And most of all it’s a one-pot dish. Which means, only one dish to wash. Yay!

What you do in this Sri Lankan Meatball Curry recipe is,

  1. temper the aromatics first.
  2. Then roast the spices in oil.
  3. Add the sour ingredients.
  4. cook the meatballs in water to get them tender and infuse them with the spices.
  5. Finally add coconut milk to make the dish creamy and cook it down so your gravy becomes thick, dark, and delicious.

Essential steps, Substitutions, and tips:

  • You can adjust the recipe as per your taste. I personally like the curry to be spicy. So I use red chili powder and green chili, which are packed with heat. If you can’t handle spice, then you can use paprika instead. Or reduce the amount of chili powder you use.
  • Roasting spices in oil is a must. one, it releases the essential oils in the spices to the cooking oil. two, the curry gets darker, and richer in color. three, it adds a nice toasty flavor and aroma to the curry.
  • You can use store-bought curry powder. Or if you can’t find this ingredient, this home-made Meat Curry Powder is a wonderful substitute.
  • You can use any type of meatballs for the curry. I like the homestyle (original) meatballs. The flavored meatballs like Italian style meatballs can alter the taste of the curry.
  • Sour ingredients are a must in most Sri Lankan meat curry dishes. For this one I only use tomatoes. You can use tamarind paste, Goraka or vinegar instead. Or use a combination of sour ingredients.
  • for the curry to get thicker and darker, cook the curry down after you add the coconut milk. But make sure to do it in low to medium-low heat. high heat can curdle up the coconut milk.

I hope you give this Easy (yet sooo delicious) Meatball Curry recipe a try. It’s best to serve warm with rice and curries or with Sri Lankan Coconut roti or Thati Paan (bread). With rice and coconut sambol is my favorite way to eat this Sri Lankan creamy meatball curry. It goes amazing with Yellow Rice as well.

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Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 30 mins Total Time 40 mins
Servings: 5



  1. Crush cardamom, ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle to a coarse paste.

  2. Heat coconut oil in the pan.  Then add the piece of cinnamon, Pandan leaf, and curry leaves.

    breaking the curry leaves before adding them, helps the essential oils to release more into the curry
  3. Then add your freshly made ginger and garlic paste, finely chopped onions. Fry until the onions start to turn brown.

  4. Now lower the heat and add chili powder (reduce the amount of chili powder if you don't like heat), curry powder, turmeric, and some salt. Add a bit more oil if the mixture is too dry. Fry the spices in oil until they become dark brown.

  5. Now add a diced medium tomato and 1 chopped chili. Mix and fry until the tomato gets mushy

  6. Add meatballs to the pan and mix well with the spices. If you're using frozen meatballs, you don't have to thaw them. Make sure to remove the pieces of ice, if any.

  7. Then add water, cover, and cook for about 15-20 mins on medium-low heat. If you use thawed meatballs, about 10mins would be enough.

  8. taste and adjust salt. If it lacks sourness you can add a bit of white vinegar too.

    Tamarind paste and Goraka (Garcinia cambogia) are other popular sour ingredients that we use in Sri Lankan cooking. You use any of these sour ingredients to adjust the sourness of the curry
  9. Add coconut milk, mix well with the meatballs, and cook uncovered for another 15 minutes or until oils appear on the top.

    you can adjust the amout of coconut milk you use, depending on how creamy you want it
  10. Sprinkle some black pepper on the top when it's nearly done. Turn off the heat. Serve hot. 

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  1. Found hubby eating the leftover sauce on the pan with a piece of bread! 😆 So so so good!!! Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!

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