Indian Mainindian curried meatballs

Curried Meatballs
Kofta Kari
(Makes 16 meatballs)

Kofta are balls of seasoned minced meat and/or vegtables. Ours are poached in a curried yogurt sauce.

1 lb. ground pork
3-4 cloves garlic (crushed or minced)
2 tsp. salt (divided)
4 T ghee (see sidebar)
6 cloves
12 black peppercorns
3 cinnamon sticks (2" long)
2 bay leaves
2 brown cardamom pods (see sidebar)
1 large onion (finely chopped)
3 tomatoes (quartered)
2 T plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. red chili powder
2 C water
1 tsp. teaspoon garam masala (see sidebar)
2 T fresh coriander leaves (chopped) — garnish

Meatballs: Combine pork with garlic and 1 tsp. salt. Mix well. Divide meat into 4 portions, then each portion into 4 again, for a total of 16. Roll into meatballs.

Sauce: heat ghee over a moderate heat in a deep saucepan. Stir in cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves, and cardamom, onion. When onion is golden, add tomatoes, yogurt, chili powder. Stir several times. Pour in water and remaining salt. Bring to a boil.

Cook meatballs: Drop meatballs in boiling sauce. Partially cover the pan. Bring mixture to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve hot, sprinkled with garam masala and coriander. Delicious with white rice.

| See more Indian recipes |

Tips & Glossary

Many of the ingredients used for Indian cooking probably aren’t in your spice shelf. And you may find them only at specialty Indian stores. So to avoid frustration, make a list of the items you need before trying out the recipes.

Watch out for those chilies! Unless you love the real hot stuff, reduce the amount of chili called for in the recipe.

Asafoetida: a powdered spice related to the fennel family.

Basmati Rice: literally “Queen of fragrance." This rice, cultivated in India, is known for its delicate flavor and fragrance.

Besan: also known as “gram flour,” made of ground chana dal, like chickpeas, only smaller and lighter in color.

Cardamom: related to the ginger family. Pods (green, brown, or black) are the best way to store cardamom. But high-quality ground is also available. A rule of thumb: 10 pods = 1 1/2 tsp. ground.

Chili: any small hot pepper, as opposed to larger, milder bell peppers; widely used in Indian cuisine.

Coriander: aka cilantro, Chinese, or Mexican parsley. Both fresh leaves and dried ground seeds are used in Indian, Asian and Mexican cuisines.

Cumin: an aromatic, kin to parsley and carrot plant; an important ingredient in chili powder. Used especially in Indian curries. It has an earthy, peppery flavor.

Curry: a generic term for a soups and stews flavored with variety of spices—most often cumin, coriander, and tumeric, but others as well. You can make curry powder or buy it commercially.

Garam Masala: literally, “hot spice,” usually a mixture of cinnamon, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, and green cardamom seed or black cardamom pods. McCormick makes it; even Cooks Illustrated rated it highly.

Ghee: clarified butter. Melt 1 lb. unsalted butter over low heat for 20 minutes (careful not to burn), remove from heat and skim away solids. Strain through cheesecloth into a separate container and keep…forever. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated. If you buy commercial ghee, make sure it comes from real butter, not hydrogenated oils.

Saffron: stigma from the crocus family; it’s the most expensive spice in the world. Buy saffron threads; before using them, steep in a little hot water for 10 minutes to release flavor.


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