4 shiitake mushrooms
1½ lbs. ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
2 tsp. minced ginger
2 tsp. Thai green curry paste, or more to taste
2 Tbsp. Asian fish sauce (nam pla nuoc nam; substitute soy sauce with a dash of Worcestershire sauce or anchovy paste if desired)
1 tsp. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
¹⁄3 c. green onions, white and green parts finely chopped
¼ c. chopped cilantro
salt to taste
2 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 recipe Spicy Asian Dipping Sauce (optional, see recipe below)
Pour boiling water over mushrooms to cover and soak at least 30 minutes (up to 3 hours) to soften. Remove and discard stems, and finely chop mushrooms.
In a medium bowl, combine mushrooms, turkey, ginger, curry paste, fish sauce, sugar, egg, green onions, and cilantro. Fry up a sample and taste. Add more curry paste and salt to taste. Mix until well blended and form into 1-inch meatballs.
Heat peanut oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook until all sides are nicely browned, about 10 minutes total. Serve as is or with Asian Dipping Sauce; replace ¹⁄3 cup soy sauce with ¹⁄3 cup Asian fish sauce.
Green Curry option:
You can also serve these meatballs in a Thai green curry sauce. Once meatballs are done, remove from pan and set aside. Add ½ cup finely chopped onions and 1 teaspoon minced garlic to the fat in the pan. Over medium heat, stir mixture until soft, about 5 minutes. Add a 13½-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk and scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Whisk in 2 or more tablespoons Thai green curry paste and ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice. Taste and add curry paste and lime juice if more is needed. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and add back meatballs. Simmer 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl or chafing dish. Garnish with 12 to 15 fresh basil leaves. Serve over rice or as an hors d’oeuvre.
Spicy Asian Dipping Sauce
¹⁄3 c. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
½ tsp. sesame oil
½ to 1 tsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. minced green onions
¼ c. chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
1 to 2 tsp. Asian chile sauce, such as Chinese chile/garlic paste or Thai chili sauce (Sriracha)
Stir soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, and green onions together in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Stir in optional cilantro, and add chile sauce to taste.