Kashmiri Kofte: Lamb Meatballs in Spicy Sauce

8 Apr

KashmiriKofte4We’re seven inches behind on rain here in Santa Barbara. Not that I’m complaining…okay, I am a little bit. I love being safe and dry inside while the rain comes down outside, with the house being warmed with the heat from the oven. We had some lovely rain on Easter Sunday morning, but it was gone by afternoon. So the mornings have been a bit grey here, then it clears up around noon to glorious sunshine, I had to give up. Damn it, I’m making a curry anyway.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’ve got a serious curry addiction. And although there seem to be many Indian people in Santa Barbara, the few Indian restaurants seem to have changed their food to make it more to American tastes. Boo! But let’s be honest—I love cooking it at home whether or not there’s a good curry house down the road.

KashmiriKofte1So with one last pound of ground lamb from Da-Le Ranch, I decided to delve into my wonderfully (and sometimes intimidatingly) large India cookbook by the delightfully named Pushpesh Pant. And I’m so glad I did. This is one of those recipes you can’t wait to make again!

And for those Paleo/gluten-free folks out there, I’ve amended the recipe to suit us perfectly. But I’ll note the changes I made for those who don’t have dairy issues. Vegetarians and vegans, I’d use some chunks of seitan or maybe whip up a recipe of vegan meatballs to throw in to this sauce.

Please be warned—this dish is SPICY. Tone down the chilli powder by at least half if you are not a spicy food lover. The recipe calls for Kashmiri chilli powder and garam masala, but I just used cayenne and regular garam masala and it worked a treat.

This is a great dish for a cold day (especially for my friends in the UK and back East who seem to be having a terribly long winter!), but it worked on a mild spring night in California too.

KashmiriKofte3Kashmiri Kofte
(Adapted from India by Pushpesh Pant)

Serves 2 with a little leftover for lunch

For the meatballs:

1 lb. ground lamb
1 Tbls mustard oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 white onion, grated
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp. asafoetida diluted in a little water
1 Tbls mayonnaise (he uses yogurt)
1/2 tsp garam masala
(Pant does not add the onions or the ginger to the meatballs. I couldn’t help myself!)

For the sauce:

2 Tbls coconut oil
1 tsp garam masala
5 cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp turmeric
6.5 oz. coconut cream (he uses 1 cup plain yogurt)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 star anise
1 tsp sugar
Sea salt
2 cups roughly chopped spinach

First make the kofte, or meatballs, by combining all the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mixing together with your hands. Roll into little 3-inch long football shapes and set aside in the fridge.

Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over high heat, then turn off for 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium, and add the cloves, cumin seeds and asafoetida. Stir for 3-4 minutes, then add the cayenne, turmeric and four tablespoons of water. (Be careful—hold your breath as the spices will get into the air and make you cough!)

Stir constantly for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and add the coconut cream. Return to a low heat as you stir constantly, blending the sauce into a reddish brown sauce.

Pour in 500ml (2.25 cups) of water, then add the ginger, star anise, sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir to combine, especially if you’re using yogurt. Gently add the meatballs to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Turn meatballs gently during the cooking process to coat with sauce.

Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and keep covered and warm. Add garam masala and spinach to the sauce and let the spinach cook for 2-4 minutes. Reduce to your desired thickness. Return meatballs to pan and stir carefully to coat.

Serve with cauliflower rice (if paleo) or basmati rice. I made my cauliflower rice with ground cumin, 1/2 tsp of turmeric and a tsp of mustard seeds.



20 Responses to “Kashmiri Kofte: Lamb Meatballs in Spicy Sauce”

  1. Lauren Bair April 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Every time I read your blog, I want to cook the thing right away, and also buy all the books and supplies mentioned and pictured. DELICIOUS! I have a serious Indian problem, and I’d love to be able to cook some good options at home, instead of blowing my paycheck on East India Grill in LA. (I do love them though!) I’m drooling. XO

    • tinykitchenstories April 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      OMG that’s the nicest thing anyone could say to a food blogger! I tell you, if you like Indian food, you’ll LOVE this recipe. It was super simple too! Get yourself to Artesia at the west end of the 91 to get all the spices you need (although there may be places nearer you in LA), and then this meal will be MUCH cheaper than East India Grill. And while in Artesia you can gorge yourself on Indian food for super cheap. And the book is awesome! But intimidating. I think I still want to get a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook for more traditional options.

      *sigh* I want curry again! xo

  2. dogdaz April 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    Vegan meatballs here I come. Thanks

  3. girlinafoodfrenzy April 11, 2013 at 5:08 am #

    Coconut & spice are a match made in heaven. I love that beautiful flavour of curry and I love lamb (but I’m yet to have tried them together!) As for rainy days I know exactly what you mean, as the last days of warmth fade (but by bit) in Sydney, I’m reminded if how much those in the northern hemisphere are enjoying that first bursts of warm sun too!

    I need some rainy day baking ditto!

    • tinykitchenstories April 11, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      We’ve had such a mild winter, esp. compared to the midwest and my mates over in the UK! Since I know you’re a fellow lamb fan, I hope you make these! They were DEE-licious!

  4. Mama's Gotta Bake April 12, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    I love anything with curry! These look so good and I must admit I’ve never made lamb meatballs, but will give these a try this weekend! And…you gotta love the California weather!

    • tinykitchenstories April 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

      I hope you do! I honestly can’t wait to make them again. I was a little scared about the star anise, but it really made a subtle difference. Let me know how it goes…

  5. Anneli April 28, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    I have to make this when my husband is back in town. We love Indian food, but, are not that experienced cooking it. Had to look up “asafoetida”, I have never used it before. Thank you for the great inspiration!

    • tinykitchenstories April 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      Thanks for the note, Anneli! This is a very simple recipe, so it’s a good one to try if you’re not that experienced with Indian food. And I will say again that this is nose-running-inducing spicy, so lay off the cayenne if you are not spice lovers, or use paprika/cayenne combo. Asafoetida–I’ve had mine for ages, so you won’t need to buy it that often if you can find it! Let me know your success if you make it. Cheers!

  6. sybaritica May 4, 2013 at 5:59 am #

    Terrific looking dish and lovely complex spice blends. Was the Star Anise in the original or is that one of your modifications?

    • tinykitchenstories May 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

      Thank you! I appreciate the compliment! The recipe called for anise powder, which I didn’t have, so I improvised with the star anise. I’ll have to try it with the powder next time…

      • sybaritica May 4, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

        If possible, you would be better to buy whole anise (aniseed) and grind it as needed (the powder loses potency much faster than the whole seed). The star anise has a much sweeter quality but the basic taste elements of the two are similar. I actually prefer aniseed.

        • tinykitchenstories May 6, 2013 at 10:29 am #

          I couldn’t agree with you more! I always grind my spices to order. At the time, I didn’t have the time to grind it, so I just put it in whole. Thanks for the key info!

  7. dedy oktavianus pardede May 5, 2013 at 7:53 am #

    As a lamb person, i realy love kick’in spicy lamb dishes…..
    your version is looks suits for my licking
    btw, we used to called this kofta….

    • tinykitchenstories May 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

      If you do try it, I hope you like it! And yes, kofta is another name for them. Looking forward to making the recipe again! Thanks for the comment!

  8. Reema Kalra Agarwal May 21, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Oh wow this looks delicious!!! Will definitely be trying. Thanks for the recipe!

    • tinykitchenstories May 22, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      Thank you! I can’t wait to make it again, it was that good. Thanks for the comment!

  9. Meenakshi June 21, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    Kofta is the bomb. Really. And you can use regular red chilli powder or crushed chilli flakes- when I run out of chilli powder at home for my curries, I just use chilli flakes 🙂

    • tinykitchenstories June 21, 2013 at 10:18 am #

      Great idea! I usually have a big stash, but you never know…and I so want to make this kofte recipe again ASAP!

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