Friday, September 3, 2010

Indian Comfort Food: Lamb Kofta Curry

For Middle America, it's Meat and Potatoes. For Asians, it's Meat and Rice! Any way you slice it, protein and carbs go together to comfort and satisfy. This dish is one I've made several times now, and I think I like it more and more each time we have it! It's rich and spicy but not hot, and the ginger adds a bright and cheery note to a dish that could conceivably seem heavy. It's like the Indian version of Spaghetti and Meatballs!

That said, I've never made it exactly according to the recipe. The recipe (as the name implies) calls for ground lamb, and instead, I've used ground turkey, ground beef, and a combination of the two. Ground lamb is not something I see often in my grocery store, and when I do, it's usually a dollar more expensive than the beef. (Remember, folks, Frugal is the name of the blog!) Also, the recipe calls for a "fresh green chilli [sic - maybe an Indianized Britishism?], roughly chopped" and I've never added one, mostly because I'm afraid it would add more heat than my preschooler would eat (and she does like these), but also because I'm not sure what kind of chile I'd use. I'd probably play it safe and use a jalapeno, if you wanted to add it in at your house.

I serve this with Basmati rice with plenty of cilantro (what the book calls coriander) mixed in.

Lamb Kofta Curry
(Recipe courtesy of Best-Ever Curry Cookbook, by Mridula Baljekar)

For the Kofta (aka Meatballs)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 fresh green chilli, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1-inch piece of fresh root ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
For the Sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1-inch piece of fresh root ginger, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can (14 oz.) chopped tomatoes
  • fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish
1.) To make the meatballs, put the lamb, chilli, garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt and cilantro into a food processor and process until the mixture binds together.
2.) Shape the mixture into 16 balls, using your hands. Cover with clear film (plastic wrap) and chill for 10 minutes.
3.) To make the sauce, heat the oil and fry the cumin seeds until they splutter. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.
4.) Add the meatballs. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked though. Garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice.

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