Kofta Curry - Serves up to 6
- 500g minced lamb
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 green finger chillies, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- Handful chopped coriander
- 1 egg beaten
Pop all the ingredients in a large bowl, squishing everything together. Wash your hands and rub a little oil over your palms and grab a piece of the mixture shaping into the size of walnut. You should end up with between 20 – 24 meatballs.
Heat about 4 tbsp oil in a frying pan, add the meatballs in batches browning them all over, take them out with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion, finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 2cm ginger, peeled finely chopped
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 level tsp turmeric
- 1 level tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1tsp salt (more if you prefer)
- 4/6 large eggs
Making Kofta Curry
Take a large pan and warm the oil over a medium heat until hot, add the cumin seeds frying for about a minute until aromatic. Drop in the onions, when soft and translucent introduce the ginger and garlic, fry for a minute pop in the tomatoes and the puree, season with salt, turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala, cook for a further 10 minutes, until the oil rises to the surface giving the curry a soft sheen. Add the kofta meatballs and simmer for 20 minutes. For best results cook the night before eating.
In the meantime hard boil the eggs, cool in cold water and cut in half, lay on top of the curry, sunny side up. Turn the heat off and carefully spoon some sauce over the eggs. Garnish with chopped coriander.
Serve with fluffy basmati rice or flatbreads and tomato and onion salad.
Carte D'Or Curry, The Story
“Have you been eating properly?” It’s a universal ritual that sons and their Asian mums perform every time they see each other. I suspect that if I carried more tyres than the Michelin Man it wouldn’t alter the exchange. Diminutive sari’d Asian mums and their boys have a code which carries well beyond those early days of post nest independence. The conversation takes a further predictable course “You look tired, you work too hard”. All of this is music to my ears of course; I mean who else would fuss so much? Her short silvery frame bustles in the kitchen and in a Shaolin master blur of activity there sat at the table is a steaming bowl of lamb meatball curry with half moons of boiled egg (unda) floating just below the surface of the runny gravy. Spiced dumplings with a perfect texture of firm tenderness. The curry sauce loosening the egg’s stiff upper lip reserve and folded like a stack of freshly pressed handkerchiefs, hot buttered chapattis.
This food is akin to a mother stroking her child’s head to comfort them and send them back to sleep, re-assuring, steadfast and consistent. Wiping the bowl clean with the last of the torn chapatti, I surveyed the devastation of my hunger. A spotless bowl and butter greased fingers, with the taste of cracked coriander seeds, its tender leaf offspring and fresh chilli minced with lamb dumplings and garam masala still on my tongue, I heard the small yet stern instruction delivered by mum to wolf down three more chapattis and another dish of mother’s delight. At the risk of being taunted by a ‘who ate all the pies’ chant I resisted. Well sort of, we compromised on half the amount, or rather more than half was sealed in a take-away carton or to be precise it was a Carte D’Or carton which once enclosed 1.5ltrs of Madagascan Vanilla light.
This recipe is more than just a collection of beautifully layered spices, it’s evocative of family bonds. Where time is unhurried and the banality of the day is discussed, for me it was about being cherished, because that’s part of the menu when someone cooks for you. They invest their time, care and attention to please you....it’s vulnerable stuff. But then again I don’t count my mother and her brigade of sari’d mums as a fragile bunch. Indeed they could probably deliver world order at the next G20 Summit armed with nothing more than a trug of spices a kilo of aubergines and some Carte D’Or boxes for leftovers.
Apart from a dollop of sentimentality, this meatball Kofta Curry or its technically correct name Kofta Unda Curry will bowl you over.