Monday, October 05, 2009

Kofta Curry: Spicy Pakistani Meatball and Potato Curry

I have always loved meatballs. Maybe that's from growing up around Italian Americans. Well seasoned ground meat dishes have appealed to me more than steaks and chops for as long as I can remember.

Savory meatballs, especially made with lamb, extend from the Balkan countries through Turkey and the Middle East, to as far east as India. They typically are named some variant of the Persian word kofta.

Here is a curry of meatballs, a kofta curry. Because it is made from beef, this is a Pakistani dish. For Indian kofta, use ground lamb instead. It is a very rich dish, aromatic with spices. Typically, this is not a "hot" curry, as in hot from chilies.

Serve this with lightly salted basmati rice (my blog 1/26/08) and accompany with plain yogurt or raita (my blog 4/25/08).

The recipe serves six when accompanied by rice.

Kofta (Meatball) and Potato Curry

2 medium-large onions, coarsely diced
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 sticks cinnamon
5 whole cardamoms
3 whole cloves
2 medium large russet potatoes, peeled, in 1-inch chunks
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 inch fresh ginger, finely minced
2 tablespoons ground coriander
7 teaspoons ground cumin
5 teaspoons turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground fennel
3/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups water

1 teaspoon salt, plus to taste
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro with some of the stems

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (not too lean)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 teaspoons cornstarch (not traditional, but works well)

In large pot, fry onion in oil with cinnamon, cardamoms, and cloves, stirring frequently, until starting to turn golden. Add potatoes, and fry, stirring frequently, until outsides appear cooked, 7-8 minutes.

Stir in garlic and ginger, and simmer 1 minute. Add dry spices, and simmer, stirring, 2 minutes.

Add tomato paste, water, and salt. Simmer gently 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, mix meatball ingredients, and knead well. Shape into 1-inch balls.

When sauce has simmered, drop meatballs in, and simmer 20 minutes. Swirl pot to move meatballs around, until they are firm. Then stir gently.

Taste sauce. Add salt, if needed. Stir in coriander leaves and remove from heat.

This is best if cooled, then reheated to serve. The curry can be refrigerated up to 4 days. Taste to check salt after reheating.

Serve with basmati rice, cooked with a little salt (1/2 teaspoon to 1 cup rice), Accompany with yogurt or raita.


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