Kofta Curry – Meatballs in a Spicy Coconut Gravy

Meat ball curry6

Spicy meatballs in a tantalizing gravy, is the best way I can describe this kofta curry. The koftas (meatballs) are full of flavor and the lightly spiced coconut curry takes it to a completely different level. The koftas can be made with minced beef, lamb or chicken.

You can make this dish well ahead of time as the koftas soak in the curry and just keep getting better. It is full of flavor and steals the show. So if you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser for your next party – this is it. Serve this kofta curry with rice, naan or puri.

Kofta Curry – Meatballs in a Spicy Coconut Gravy
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6-8

For the meatballs:
2 pounds ground beef
6 green spring onions, roughly chopped
4 green chillies, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chilli flakes, (depending on heat and your preference)
Kosher salt

In a food processor finely chop green spring onion, chilli, cilantro, and garlic. In a large bowl add the ground beef, chilli flakes, and salt. Then add the finely chopped ingredients and mix until combined. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Makes 35 small balls, the size of lemons, and keep them on the tray. Refrigerate until ready to use in the curry.

For the ground spice mix:
3 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
3 dry red chillies
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1-inch piece of cinnamon
2 cloves
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 petals of star anise, (optional)
1 black cardamom

In a small pan, over low heat, roast the above ingredients until they smell fragrant. Cool completely. Remove the outer cover of the cardamom and use only the seeds. Put all the ingredients into a coffee grinder and powder.

For the curry:
3 tablespoons coconut/canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 cup roughly chopped onions
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1-inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder
1 cup finely diced tomatoes
2 cans coconut milk, (14 fl oz each)
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons finely minced cilantro
3 teaspoons lime juice

In a blender, grind onion, garlic, and ginger. Set aside

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add coconut oil. Add the mustard seeds and when they splutter add the ground onion, garlic, and ginger. Fry until it turns light brown. Add the ground spices, turmeric, and Kashmiri chilli powder. Fry for two minutes and then add the tomatoes. Cook until they turn soft. Shake the cans of coconut milk well before you open them. Add coconut milk and salt and bring the curry to a simmer. If the coconut milk is thick, add half a cup of water. Gently add the meatballs, one by one. Let them cook for ten minutes. Then stir and let the meatballs simmer for another 10 minutes so they can cook completely. Turn off the heat and add lime juice.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice, naan or puri.

Lomo Saltado

As a farewell gift to me, my colleagues at the World Bank compiled a cookbook of recipes from each of their home countries. This is my first blog post and to honor them I am featuring one of my favorite dishes from Peru, Lomo Saltado. Thank you, Ruth Delgado Flynn, for sharing your recipe with me. I have made some changes to the recipe because I could not find Aji Amarillo (Peruvian yellow hot pepper). So, I replaced it with Aji Amarillo paste and Panca Pepper paste.

The dish tasted authentic, with just the right amount of heat from the aji pepper paste and I was thrilled that I could make it at home! I made the French fries from scratch but you can use store bought frozen fries. If you like Lomo Saltado, give this recipe a try. You will not be disappointed.

Keep checking my blog because you never know when I will feature another recipe that you shared with me!

Lomo Saltado (adapted from Ruth Delgado’s recipe)
1 ½ lbs beef sirloin or tenderloin
1 tablespoon grated garlic cloves
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons Aji amarillo paste
2 tablespoons Panca pepper paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon pepper powder
1 large red onion, cut into strips and separated
3 plum tomatoes, de-seeded and quartered
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
2 large Russet potatoes
Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste

For the French fries (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook)

Peel potatoes and cut them lengthwise into ¼ inch thick fries (French fries). Rinse fries several times until the starchy water turns clear. Cover them with cold water and with three cups of ice cubes. Leave them in the water and ice for about 30 minutes.

Heat oil for deep frying in a large wok until the temperature reaches 325 degrees.

Pour ice and water off and wrap fries in a clean towel and pat completely dry. Add a handful of fries at a time to the hot oil and cook until the fries turn light golden in color. About 8 minutes. Remove fries with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Drain for ten minutes. Cook remaining fries.

When you are ready to serve the Lomo Saltado, reheat the oil to 350 degrees and fry the French fries again until light brown and crisp. Remove fries and drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over them. Gently add them to the prepared Lomo Saltado just before you serve.

For the Lomo Saltado

Cut beef into ½ inch thick strips. In a bowl add garlic, ginger, aji paste, panca paste, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, cumin powder, pepper powder and beef. Stir so beef is well coated and marinate for 20 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan until very hot. Place half the pieces of beef and let it get brown on one side before you turn it over (about three minutes). Do not add liquid from marinade. Stir fry until all the beef turns brown. Remove and add another tablespoon of oil and repeat the above process with the rest of the beef. Remove from the pan. Add the last tablespoon of oil and add red onions and stir fry for two minutes. Add tomatoes, a pinch of salt and the beef and stir fry for another two minutes. At this point if you want a little sauce sprinkle two tablespoons of water and stir fry for a minute. Add French fries and cilantro. Serve with white rice.