Hearty meatball and pea curry

Hearty meatball and pea curry

I Love Curry
Jonathan Gregson

Meatballs in the west are known as hearty home-style food. But in India, meatballs - or koftas as they are known - are so loved that they have been refined to restaurant fare, stuffed with nuts or raisins and finished with cream. This sauce has a light, creamy consistency that coats all the grains of fluffy white basmati rice with which it should be served. The fresh coriander is more than a decoration here, it really lifts the deep, earthy flavours of the meat.

For the meatballs


Quantity Ingredient
400g minced beef or lamb
2 large slices white bread, crusts removed, made into breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
5g fresh root ginger, peeled weight, grated into a paste
1 fat garlic clove, grated into a paste

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
3 tomatoes
20g fresh root ginger, peeled weight
5 fat garlic cloves
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 green cardamom pods
6 cloves
2.5cm cinnamon stick
1 blade mace
2 bay leaves
1 onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4-3/4 teaspoon chilli powder, to taste
1 rounded teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt, to taste
2 handfuls peas
large handful chopped fresh coriander


  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs until really well combined - your hands are the best tool for this - and set aside. Start the sauce by blending together the tomatoes, ginger and garlic until smooth.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the whole spices and bay leaves and cook for 20 seconds. Now add the onion and cook until golden brown. Add the blended tomatoes, powdered spices and salt and cook down until it is a thick paste that starts to release oil on the sides of the pan. Cook further, stirring constantly, for a few more minutes to deepen the flavours.
  3. Add 700ml water and bring to a boil. Check the seasoning. Make walnut-sized meatballs from the minced meat mixture and pop each into the simmering curry (I get 20 meatballs). Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, then add the peas, bring back to a simmer and cook for another five minutes.
  4. Uncover; the sauce should have reduced to a light creamy consistency. If not, take out the meatballs and boil over a high heat until it is. Check the seasoning, shake in the chopped coriander and serve.
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