Coconut Curry with Air Fried meatballs and crispy tofu

This fragrant curry offers up everything: umami-rich meatballs, tender vegetables and crispy tofu. The air fryer is a great tool for quickly cooking meatballs and getting your tofu extra crispy. Of course you could always use a regular oven to cook the meatballs and pan fry the tofu.

This recipe is based on Food + Wine’s Ginger-Braised Pork Meatballs in Coconut Broth by Jenn Louis.


1 brick extra firm tofu


1 pound ground pork

1 green onion, white and green parts minced

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tablespoon peeled, grated ginger

1 egg

2 tablespoons panko

2 teaspoons fish sauce

salt and pepper, to taste


1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed and chopped into 3-inch pieces

2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced

1, 13.5-ounce can coconut milk

2 cups chicken stock

1 serrano chile, sliced lengthwise and seeds/pith removed

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

zest and juice of 1/2 lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon sugar

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup julienned carrots

1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets, stalks julienned

1/2 orange bell pepper, julienned

fresh mint, Thai basil, and cilantro, for serving

jasmine rice, for serving


Press the tofu: Slice the tofu brick in half like a hamburger bun and place in a clean dish towel on a baking sheet. Place a cutting board on top and set a heavy pot on the cutting board. Let the tofu drain like this for 30 minutes then cut into cubes and set aside.

Make the meatballs: In a bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients and mix well. Heat an air fryer to 400F. Spray the trays with cooking spray. Form small meatballs and place them on the trays; air fry for 7 minutes. Turn the meatballs and air fry another 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the curry: Place the lemongrass and ginger in a gauze drawstring bag (or let them be loose in the curry and fish them out later). In a medium dutch oven, add the coconut milk, chicken stock, lemongrass/ginger, garlic, serrano, lime juice and zest, fish sauce, ground turmeric and sugar and heat until simmering. Turn down heat, cover and let simmer until meatballs and tofu are done. Add salt to taste.

When the meatballs are done in the air fryer, add them to the curry and continue to simmer while tofu crisps up.

Clean off the air fryer trays and spray them with cooking spray. Add the tofu to the trays and spray the tofu with cooking spray; sprinkle on some freshly ground pepper if you’d like. Place tofu back into the 400F air fryer and cook 6 minutes. Turn tofu pieces and cook another 6 minutes or until tofu is browned and crispy.

When there’s 5 minutes left on the tofu, place the carrots, broccoli and bell pepper into the curry and let cook until veggies are tender. Remove the lemongrass and ginger pouch and discard.

Serve curry with steamed rice topped with tofu pieces and sprinkle on chopped fresh herbs such as mint, Thai basil and cilantro.

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