Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
12 Mar

Curry Meatballs (with a Little Offal) in Creamy Tomato-Coconut Sauce

As we mentioned earlier this week, offal is an acquired taste for many people, and if you haven’t acquired it yet there’s nothing wrong with using a little culinary magic to slip an organ or two by your taste buds unnoticed. The trick to sneaking offal into a dish is using it in moderation, adding bold flavors to mask any unpleasantness, and combining it with other mainstream meats. On Tuesday we listed several types of dishes that make this possible –  stew, chili, and meatza to name a few – and today we’d like to bring your attention to one more meal that lends itself to sneaking in a little offal: the humble meatball.

The meatball, a well-loved edible orb of blended meat spiked with bold seasonings, is the perfect secret delivery system for offal. Combine a little pureed liver (or heart, or tongue) with ground pork and beef, add some seasonings and fresh herbs and you’ve got yourself a tasty morsel packed with all the health benefits of offal and none of the offal flavor. Smother the meatballs in creamy, buttery curry sauce flavored with fresh tomatoes, garlic and ginger, top the whole dish with fresh mint and suddenly you’ll find yourself craving offal instead of avoiding it. Or rather, you’ll find yourself craving meatballs that just happen to have offal in them.

Ground pork and beef dominate, so the addition of just 1/2 pound of offal (we used liver, but you can use whatever you like) adds richness, but no noticeable flavor. This recipe is just a starting point – over time, adjust the ratio of beef, pork and offal to your comfort level. You might find that you can add more offal than this recipe calls for without even noticing it in the meatballs. If you do add more offal you can up the seasonings a little too; a pinch more curry powder, another handful of parsley, maybe even some red pepper flakes.

This is a dish that tastes even better the next day, so we’ve made the serving large enough to supply leftovers. Maybe some of you find it hard to believe you’d happily eat offal twice in one week, but we’re willing to bet these Curry Meatballs (with a little offal) in Creamy Tomato-Coconut Sauce are just the thing to change your mind.

Makes 24 Meatballs


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom)
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 8 Romas)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • salt to taste


  • 1/2 pound of liver (or other type of offal)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground meat (try a combination of beef or bison and pork)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • large handful fresh parsley
  • small handful fresh mint leaves


Melt butter in a deep saucepan. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Saute a few minutes until the onion is just beginning to soften then add spices.

Add tomatoes and simmer on medium-high for five minutes.

Add coconut milk and carrots and simmer on medium, stirring occasionally, while you make the meatballs.

In a food processor combine all the meatball ingredients until well blended. Using your hands make 24 meatballs – the meat will be a bit wet and gooey, so don’t worry about forming it into perfectly shaped balls.

In a hot skillet over medium-high heat, brown meatballs for three minutes on each side (add a little oil to the pan if necessary).

Pour the coconut sauce over the meatballs and continue to simmer at least 15 minutes more, or until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through.

Serve over grated, steamed cauliflower and garnish with fresh mint.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. This looks absolutely fantastic. What a great way to eat more offal. I am not sure how this will settle with 3 family members I live with.

    My bro is becoming more and more interested in the primal way of eating and will be visiting from Chicago next weekend. Shall I make these ahead of time and tell him to try my delicious meatballs?

    I think I might go for it!

    Primal Toad wrote on March 12th, 2011
  2. Seriously this is great, I need to try to include more offal, this is a fantastic way to do it!

    Brendan wrote on March 12th, 2011
  3. You’ve done it again! This looks absolutely delicious. You may have just changed my mind about offal :)

    Alex "Dude Where's My Muscle" Siddy wrote on March 12th, 2011
  4. I have always wondered, if the offal is the healthiest part, why isn’t it also the tastiest?

    Dave wrote on March 12th, 2011
    • Have you tried grilled chicken heart? They are so tasty grilled with a little bit of simple homemade marinate.

      Jacq Davis wrote on March 12th, 2011
      • Seriously? You just grill it like a steak? Does it taste similar to you?

        Primal Toad wrote on March 12th, 2011
    • I’ve definitely found that the flavour reflects the quality of the animal. We got half a cow this year and the liver is absolutely to-die-for good! But beef liver from the store, even the fancy Whole Foods stuff…meh.

      Sue wrote on March 12th, 2011
    • A spoonfull of sugar makes the medicine go down! Try barbeque sauce or other strong flavors with your offal. Organs are cleansing bodies, made to secrete unique horomones and compunds, filter toxins and help the body grow. They are rich in vitamins and rare minerals, which is what makes them so healthy. However, because of their natural functions they taste totally funky! Preparation is key to enjoying organs. The tradition is to soak organs in salted water or milk to leach the bitterness out. Try soaking beef liver in two changes of milk over 6 hours, then remove the large veins and tough flesh with a paring knife. Season with worcestershire sauce and fry in butter. It is totally mild and delicious made this way.

      Iris wrote on March 26th, 2011
  5. Sweet. This looks so delicious! What a great way to “disguise” something new and different into a scrumptious dish, especially for my little ones. Thanks, Mark!

    Lauren wrote on March 12th, 2011
  6. What exactly is the purpose of “slipping” offal into meals?

    Is this some kind of weird sex thing?

    rob wrote on March 12th, 2011
  7. I’ve been thinking more and more about offal, but am just having such a hard time getting over my psychological boundaries. This is a great way to start. :) Thanks, and that sauce sounds delicious!

    Karen P. wrote on March 12th, 2011
  8. While I think this recipe looks great, I hate to waste good liver in a dish that hides the taste! But hey, I like diced heart in my scrambled eggs so what do I know.

    Linda wrote on March 12th, 2011
  9. I guess I still find it strange to hide offal, especially beef liver. I love liver. The trick for me was learning to cook it very lightly (in butter). Like 45 – 60 seconds on one side and 30 seconds on the other. It’s very rare, but has very little of the taste I find disagreeable in overcooked liver.
    I learned because, at one point, when my income was very low, beef liver was very cheap.

    Jim wrote on March 12th, 2011
  10. Too bad about the word “offal” Maybe it sounds too much like “awful” to me! I did have some awesome foi gras tonight at a restaurant, though, and I actually like the taste of liver, so…this recipe looks like something I would try.

    Mercuria wrote on March 12th, 2011
  11. I was thinking: we are eating animals that have been raised for human consumption, i.e. to be plump and fatty, whilst Grok was eating wild beasts which were far leaner. Shouldn’t we take that into account?

    Lele wrote on March 12th, 2011
  12. Fantastic recipe. This was the first time I’ve eaten any kind of offal, and it won’t be the last. My first batch of meatballs was too runny, so I made them again without the egg and it turned out a little better.

    Warwick wrote on March 12th, 2011
  13. I want to start eating offal. I tried some liver for the first time at a restaurant a few weeks ago and it was delicious. Then more recently I saw some bones packed full of mushy marrow in a bag in the fridge and ate all the marrow out of one, thinking it tasted decent and remembering how nutritious it is, and it turns out my parents got them for the dog!

    Tim wrote on March 12th, 2011
  14. Thanks man, I’ve really been trying to introduce more gross shit into my diet.

    Shaun Grey wrote on March 13th, 2011
    • LOL!

      cindy wrote on June 11th, 2011
  15. Wow,

    That looks absolutely mouth-watering. Fantastic recipe there Mark. The offal addition makes it even more interesting. Must try this recipe and see how it turns our to be 😀

    Bryan wrote on March 13th, 2011
  16. Looks pretty tasty. But I have never heard of “offal” before 5 minutes ago.

    D R @ Motivating Minutes wrote on March 13th, 2011
  17. Mmmmm…just made it, and it’s delicious!! I love it when I happen to have all the ingredients on hand for a recipe.

    Renee wrote on March 13th, 2011
  18. Wowzers!!! These recipes lately are freakin amazing! There better be another cookbook in the works with these in it. and mark me down for one (or more)

    Peggy wrote on March 14th, 2011
  19. I haven’t made this recipe, but I did attempt to hide liver in the same proportions in some burgers a while ago. Works really good. I could taste it somewhat but only because I knew what to look for in the aftertaste. The rest of my family gobbled it up without a second thought, and they CAN’T STAND the taste and smell of liver.
    Definitely will try this recipe next though.

    chocolatechip69 wrote on March 14th, 2011
    • I haven’t tried this myself, but I have heard that if you soak liver in lemon juice for a few hours before cooking it removes much of that “liver-y” taste. I read about it in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, which I don’t have in front of me. Otherwise, I’d give you the exact instructions.

      Celeste wrote on March 29th, 2011
  20. I made these tonight. AWESOME!! I shared them with my boyfriend and a friend and they loved them too. I didn’t have a big enough food processor to incorporate all the meats at once so I processed them individually and mixed them together with the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Works well too!
    Definitely recommend. 😀

    Adrienne wrote on March 14th, 2011
  21. My non-primal husband LOVED the Butter Chicken Recipe, so I can’t wait to try this one! I never thought I would be able to get him to eat curried anything, but he’s been more open to these recipes than I ever dreamed..Primal rules!

    Christina wrote on March 15th, 2011
  22. You da man, Mark. Your recipes rock! Thanks so much for putting them all out there!

    Larry wrote on March 21st, 2011
  23. Didn’t work out too well as a “ball” for me. I ended up just smashing it all up and adding the sauce. I think the kidney I added was too wet.

    Tyler wrote on March 21st, 2011
  24. Holy Grok-a-moly! This recipe is delicious.

    I made a few modifications to speed things along a bit.

    1. I used canned whole plum tomatoes and cut them into chunks (no juice… I drank that). In the growing season, I’ll use fresh but I have this thing with out of season store bought tomatoes. They stink, no matter how you slice it.

    2. I used a prepared curry paste (an Indian mild vs. Thai), available at my natural grocer, and eliminated the spices (kept the garlic and onion).

    3. I pureed my sauce as some eaters in my home don’t like cooked tomato chunks. I left the carrots in chunks, however.

    4. I used sheep liver, as I usually buy 4-5 lamb from a local farmer each year and have him keep the liver and heart.

    5. I didn’t use any of the fresh herbs, as I didn’t have them on hand.

    6. Instead of grating the cauliflower, I buzzed it in the food processor to a cous cous consistency. Just saves time.

    This dish is easy and excellent. I buy my beef and lamb each year by the whole animal and often run out of ideas relative to the ground meat. I’ll be adding this recipe to my regular rotation list.

    Two thumbs up!

    Celeste wrote on March 29th, 2011
  25. The meatballs in this recipe would also be tasty as dumplings.

    Make some homemade beef broth, bring to a boil, drop meatballs from this recipe in and simmer for about 15-20 mins. Garnish with cilantro or slivers of green onion.

    Would be a nice warm breakfast soup, too. Especially if your family is tired of eggs and you believe in starting the day with protein.

    Celeste wrote on March 29th, 2011
  26. Just tried this recipe and it’s fantastic! For all you rice lovers out there, the grated cauliflower really eases the cravings for that O’ So’ anti-nutritious grain and is a great substitute.

    Rocky Dean-Shoji wrote on May 3rd, 2011
  27. Any idea what I could use instead of tomatoes? They upset my digestion. Maybe apples?

    I Run For Bacon wrote on May 12th, 2011
    • Try making a mushroom sauce instead – omit all all the curry and add creme fraiche & a splash of white wine to the meatball-and-mushroom-cooking-juices for a stroganoff mojo.

      Milla wrote on November 17th, 2011
  28. I’m making this tonight, with ground pork & chicken livers, and Thai red curry paste. Adding shiitake mushrooms – thai curry & shiitake – the bomb! Accidental mushroom got in my curry yesterday and hence the discovery!

    Milla wrote on November 17th, 2011
  29. It is in point of fact a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    MALT Lymphoma Symptoms wrote on December 2nd, 2011

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