Thai Green Curry With Spicy Sweet Brown Rice Balls (gluten free & vegan)

Thai Green Curry with Sweet Spicy Brown Rice Balls
Some of you, who follow this blog, may know that I am part of a recipe exchange group. A small (but growing) group of food bloggers led by CM of Burwell General Store. In this group, we revamp vintage recipes from a combination cookbook/hymnal that CM found at a swap meet. The first recipe was a piece of cake, literally! This time, things didn’t go quite so smoothly.

You see, I’m a couple of weeks into a cleanse. My diet these days is vegan and gluten free. We’ve been eating incredibly delicious dishes, but I have not been doing a whole lot of baking unless you included my yummy oat cookies and the dog treats I’ve been making for Ruby, This month’s recipe? Grandma’s Chicken Pie with Drop Biscuits.

So, I’m thinking, “Sure, I’ve got this. No problem”. I settled on Southwestern veggie stew with cornmeal biscuits. The stew was divine, thick and rich with butternut squash, sweet potato, carrot, and just a little apple. It was really spicy from the roasted chiles, and that cornmeal biscuit was going to soak up the liquid beautifully. Soak, now that was funny, that corn meal biscuit was not going to do anything but crumble. Back to the kitchen for a little more gluten free alchemy. Each try was either crumbly or hard as a brick. The last try was actually crumbly AND hard as a brick. Finally, I wrote the group and said I’d be back next month.

But then, I just couldn’t let it rest. Perhaps I’m not the best gluten free vegan baker. Perhaps, gluten will be the first thing added back to my diet when this cleanse is over, but damn it, I am NOT a quitter.

Thai Green Curry with Sweet Spicy Brown Rice Balls
It was at Whole Foods that the idea for Thai Green Curry with Brown Rice Balls hit me. Excited by the sight of fresh galangal root, I thought, “Oh, I need to make something with this,” it was a quick jump to green curry, and that’s when I thought of using the sweet potatoes to thicken the curry and rice balls to sop up the spicy goodness.

I thought I was going so far out on a limb doing this curry dish, and even asked CM if it was too much of a stretch from grandma’s chicken pie, but it turns out a couple of my fellow swappers did curry dishes too.

And speaking of my fellow swappers, don’t forget to check out the incredible array of food bloggers and awesome recipes. I’ve listed everyone at the bottom of the page.

  • Ingredients Green Curry

  • 2 Chinese eggplant cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 acorn squash cut into rings
  • 1 large sweet potato cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 cup small potatoes (I used red, purple, and gold) cut into bite sized pieces
  • can of bamboo shoots
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 2 tablespoons green curry paste
  • thumb-sized knob of ginger finely grated
  • ½ inch slice of fresh galangal (optional) finely grated
  • 1 (15oz) can of coconut milk
  • olive oil for roasting veggies
  • finely ground sea salt and pepper


Thai Green Curry with Sweet Spicy Brown Rice Balls

  • Ingredients Brown Rice Balls

  • 1 1/2 cups sweet short grain brown rice cooked in 2 cups water, 1 cup coconut milk (cooled)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¾ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • ½ -1 tablespoon hot chile powder of your choice, I used paper lantern chiles, habenero or cayenne would work well. (Optional)
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal (ground flax seeds)
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • coconut oil for pan-frying the balls
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt


  • Instructions for green curry

  • Preheat oven to 400º, line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Toss eggplant and squash with olive oil, a heavy pinch of sea salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, turning periodically so veggies brown on all sides.
  • Parboil potatoes and sweet potatoes. Starting from cold water, add potatoes and sweet potatoes and bring to a rolling boil. Cook only about 5-7 minutes from this point, they should be just soft on the outside, not cooked all the way through.
  • Bring coconut milk, chile, curry paste, ginger, and galangal to a simmer in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium flame then add eggplant, squash, potato, and sweet potato. Simmer for about 10 minutes, sweet potatoes will start to break down and thicken the curry so it’s stewlike. If it becomes too thick, you can add a bit of water.
  • Remove from heat, stir in the bamboo shoots and allow them to warm up before serving.


  • Instructions for Brown Rice Balls

  • Pulse oats, coconut, sea salt, and chile powder in a food processor six to eight times in one second pulses. Check consistency- it should be like breadcrumbs.
  • Bring water and flax seeds to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high flame. Lower heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and whip up like an egg. This is our egg replacer, the glue that holds the rice balls together.
  • Add rice, oats mixture, and flax seeds to a bowl and mix very well with your hands. This will be super sticky. That’s good!
  • Form rice into 1 inch balls. Again, it’s sticky, but it helps to keep your hands wet
  • Add one tablespoon virgin coconut oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Pan fry the balls for a minute or so on each side until golden brown all over. Serve atop the steaming hot curry.



  1. says

    Bravo to you Sabrina! I can't imagine being focused on a cleanse, eating specially and throwing a Southern baked chicken pie redo into the mix! I'm so glad you found something that worked and in your current 'genre'. The recipe looks really delicious. I love curry and don't make it enough. I'm glad to now have your wonderful recipe to add to the mix. The rice balls sound and look really great! Awesome job!

    • sabrinamodel says

      Thanks Toni! I don't make it enough either. The rice balls; however, will be going into permanent rotation.

  2. says

    Sabrina, Love It! The photography, the recipe, everything. Thanks for participating again, I always love to see your creations, my friend. I am looking forward to the next swap!

    • sabrinamodel says

      Thanks, CM. It was a really fun one- if a bit of a challenge for me. Thanks for all that you do.

  3. Chef Dennis says

    Wow!! what a great interpretation of the recipe! You really thought outside the box on this one, your curry does look delicious and I love the rice balls, my girls would love this dish!



  4. says

    OMG! This was delicious! I'm one of the lucky peeps that got to eat this dish the night it was made. I could not believe it was both gluten-free and vegan. It was so hearty and filling. Warmed up my bones!

  5. says

    Excellent Photography! And super creative – I definitely don't think that this recipe is too much of a stretch for the Recipe Swap, this is the exact thing that I am looking for … pure creative genius – thanks for thinking out of the square!

  6. says

    Sabrina! I am SO glad you didn't give up on this. Those brown rice balls look heavenly. I love that you used unconventional ingredients and were not afraid to try something totally different. I can't wait to try this dish. I have no idea what Chinese Eggplant or galangal is but it would be fun to try it out.

  7. says

    This looks like an elegant solution for the vegetarian eater trying to adapt traditional "comfort foods," too. I am sure that I would enjoy this dish. I can't get over how lovely the photos for this post are. The little green pots are darling! And the curry looks even more exciting in them.

  8. rosemarried says

    I think I mentioned this before, but as of Weds, I'm essentially vegan until the end of April. I will be leaning heavily on your recipes! I love that you went for it on this swap and made it work with your cleanse.

  9. Negar says

    Sabrina, this looks absolutely fabulous. Not to mention your blog is absolutely beautiful. So glad you're part of the swap. I could learn a few things from you; I really need a cleanse.

  10. AdventuresomeKitchen says

    LOVE the rice balls! And your tenacity! The green curry looks absolutely delish! Curry of any kind is one of my go-to comfort foods!

  11. yamamichibassett says

    My mouth is salivating. I love Thai green curry and the rice balls you add are such a nice touch! Thank you for sharing – can't wait to try it out.

    • says

      We are really loving the cleanse, surprisingly enough. I was veg for 10 years and tried to be vegan when I was very young, but that was before I cooked so much. This has been awesome. The gluten- eh, I can’t wait to eat a slice of rustic bread again.

  12. says

    This look so interesting and tasty! I love the little pots they're in too. Your blog is so great, I just found it and can't wait to check out more of your recipes.

    • says

      Thank you so much. I love those little post too. What a fun find they were. I snatched up every single one they had (only four) I hope you do try the curry. We definitely enjoyed it.
      Take care,

  13. ThatsNotVegan says

    You have to be careful calling this vegan – most green curry paste includes fish products. Vegans should be careful & check the ingredients of any curry they buy.

  14. Lara says


    This may be a really dumb question but is it 1.5 cup uncooked rice or 1.5 cups after being cooked?! Looks delicious


    • says

      Not dumb at all. So it's 1.5 cups uncooked rice. You cook it with two cups of water and one cup of coconut milk. It will come out to about 4 cups of rice, once cooked.
      So sorry for the confusion. I'm going to rewrite that recipe :)


  1. […] The absence of the two aforementioned deeds, both necessary components of recipe experimentation, have contributed immensely to the exponential growth of my “Recipes to Try” Word document, as I haven’t crossed off a single recipe in quite some time now. However, with monumental excitement and gratitude, I finally cooked a satisfying, wholesome dinner with my like-minded dormmate, and could thus partake in a bout of recipe experimentation once more, this time with Sabrina’s Thai Green Curry with Spicy Sweet Brown Rice Balls. […]

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