Thai-inspired meatballs with coconut slaw, 97p (MICROWAVE)

Bear with me folks, because this baby sounds a lot posher and more complicated than it actually was. You can make it go further by blitzing a slice of bread in the blender or grating it, and mixing it with the mince to pad it out. There’s a scarce amount of onion and garlic in this, because of the short cooking time, so can be left out if you don’t have them lying around, I just always add them to my meatballs because that’s the way my Grandad taught me to do it. I’ve recently fallen in love with the small cartons of coconut cream in the World Food Aisle at the supermarket, especially since coconut milk seems to have doubled in price over the last few years. Coconut cream is cheaper, and condensed to a thick paste so it goes much further – bit of a no-brainer once you know what you’re looking for! I only use a small amount at a time, so freeze the rest in an ice cube tray for handy portions to use in the future…

Serves 1 for a light lunch, 97p

100g turkey mince, 70p
1 clove of garlic, 3p
20g onion, 1p
a very scant barely-there pinch of chilli, <1p

For the slaw:
Green leafy veg, cut very very very finely – I used green cabbage, but not the outer leaves, 8p
2 tbsp coconut cream (cheaper than coconut milk as it’s condensed so goes further), 11p
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice, 3p
pinch of salt <1p

First combine all of your slaw ingredients and get that sitting in the fridge or on the side if you’re going to eat it within the next 20 minutes. Finely mince ¼ garlic clove – you really don’t need that much of it as it’s going to be raw so will taste super strong, leave it out if you’re nervous but I love it… Mix it with the coconut cream and lime juice. Very very very finely slice your leaves. The easiest way to do it is to roll them up in your hand, then slice from one end the the other like you’re cutting the world’s thinnest, greenest Swiss Roll. Note it’s a slice, not a fancy-bollocks chopping action – slow and steady wins all your fingers left at the end here. Mix the coconut cream sauce with the greens, and stand to one side. You’ll see in the pic that I served the sauce and greens separately, but actually then I mixed them all up and it was YUMMY so scrap the separate thing and ignore the pic.

In a bowl, mix the mince with the garlic and very finely sliced onion, and the pinch of chilli flakes. Mash it all together in your hands to evenly distribute the ingredients; you don’t want to end up with one blow-your-head-off meatball and the rest bland and flavourless. Divide your mixture into 6-8 balls, erring on the side of smallness as they’ll cook quicker! Pop them on a plate and microwave at full power for two minutes. Leave to stand for a minute to calm down, then microwave at a slightly lower power for two more minutes. Leave to stand for another minute – stuff carries on cooking for a bit once it’s come out of the microwave. Drain off all the juices that come out, cut one in half to see if it’s cooked through (it should be, unless it’s ENORMOUS) – if it is, serve it with the slaw, and if it’s not, well, pop it back in for a minute.

And enjoy! This is my favourite so far. I had it for a light lunch, but if you want something more substantial it would be delicious with some rice (any colour, we aren’t prejudiced about our rice round here, it depends on what your budget is.) Cook the rice first and get it out of the way – basic white rice takes around 8 minutes in a bowl in the microwave covered in water and clingfilm, in 2 minute bursts to stop it from exploding. Remember to pierce the clingfilm to let steam escape and peel it off carefully to prevent steam burns. You can pop the meatballs in for the last few minutes of the rice cooking, but remember the more things there are in a microwave the longer they take to cook because the ‘micro waves’ need to work a little harder to get round everybody. Phew. This is definitely requiring a lot of thinking. Who knew?

Prices based on my most recent Sainsburys shop and correct at the time of blogging. It’s worth noting that I use free range meat (which is why I don’t eat very much of it and where all the veggie and vegan recipes come from) – if this is something you don’t do yourself then you will find much cheaper options available.

Free range turkey thigh mince £3.50/500g. Basics garlic 35p/2 bulbs. Basics onions 85p/1.5kg. Chilli flakes £1/32g. Green cabbage, 80p . Coconut cream 90p/250ml. Lime juice 55p/250ml.

I’ve given up my oven for Lent and am cooking in a microwave. It’s like learning to cook all over again. You can follow my progress at or on Instagram at and Twitter at


  1. Hmmm. You refer to a picture, but I can’t see one. Is this something to do with my computer settings, or has the ether eaten the picture? (I’m sure it looked delicious, so wouldn’t be surprised!)

  2. If you’re going to use coconut milk often and coconut oil I really really reccomend searching out your local Asian supermarket. The powdered coconut milk is about a pound for a massive box that makes pints of the stuff and the oil is about the same. In fact if you plan a lot of ethnic cooking the spices and ingredients are a fraction of supermarket prices for ten times the volume. And it all keeps for a long time. Xx

    • if you don’t have an Asian supermarket nearby, I bought a box of Maggi coconut powder with my supermarket shop to try to cut costs – not as cheap as Jools mentions above as it isn’t an enormous box, but I think it will make far more than the equivalent price in cans even those from the pound shop (when they have them) and no waste if you only need part of a tin. Though I freeze leftovers, but freezer space is limited. You can make it thick or thin which I’m assuming would equal coconut cream or milk depending.

      • I do one of my weekly plans using KTC creamed coconut. It is even more concentrated than the stuff in a small carton, and can be dissolved in warm water to make coconut milk of whatever strength you want. I haven’t got any in at the moment, but I think 1 76p/200g pack makes the equivalent of 4 tins of coconut milk

  3. Have you thought about using garlic powder whilst using the microwave? It would certainly be easier to use very small amounts and may cook out better

      • Smear an unpeeled garlic clove with a smidgen of butter or oil. Heat in microwave for a few seconds. You can then push the clove out of it’s skin with ease plus it will have lost that ‘pungent’ bite.

      • Smear an unpeeled garlic clove with a smidgen of butter or oil. Heat in the microwave for a few seconds. You can then push the clove out of it’s skin and it will have lost that ‘pungent’ bite.

  4. Another fantastic recipe which goes onto the list of ‘Jack’s things to try’. Again, many thanks.

    I can’t see a photo, did you remove it. Also the link for following your progress through microwave cooking says page not found. That might be my PC, of course. It’s not quite as old as I am but seems to be catching up rapidly! 🙂
    J x

  5. sounds gorgeous!!! Thats a good tip about the Asian supermarkets & coconut cream. I love looking in Asian supermarkets but we don’t have one close. I’m sure ages ago I had a recipe for a meal that had coconut milk & tinned tomatos as a base. Would that work?

    PS I’m spabbygirl cos I love the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings who like anything old and is proud to show the signs of time passing which is me! SPAB = spabby, see! Its a word used in conservation circles!

  6. I buy similar powdered coconut milk to the stuff referred to by Jools, and keep it in a sealed poly bag in the freezer. It’s never gone off yet before I’ve used all the bag, but there is a terrible temptation to take out an extra teaspoon for my mouth when extracting some for cooking – tastes just like coconut ice cream. And I have a selection of old saucers and plates for covering stuff in the microwave – you can wash and reuse saucers ad infinitum, whereas clingfilm costs money, you only use it once, then add it to the local landfill problem via the rubbish bin!

  7. In your Thai-inspired meatballs with coconut slaw, 97p does the 97p mean a page number, if so how do I find it, or is it a cooking measurement? You use the “P” throughout your receipts and it is driving me crazy not knowing what the p means. Please respond so I will be able to use your recipes which I find very interesting. Thanks, Van


    Phone: 404-583-5908


    1164 Hampton Way, Ne

    Atlanta, GA 30324

  8. Thanks for this Jack. Nice to have the low-carb slaw to go with the meatballs instead of my usual noodles. I think it might work equally well with pork mince? (since that is what is in my freezer!)

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