Lamb meatball curry

Slow cook these simple lamb kofte in a rich chilli sauce for a deeply satisfying meal
By Madhur Jaffrey
Lamb meatball curry
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 1.3333333333333333 hours 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the meatballs

  • 1 kg minced lamb
  • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 4 hot green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 4 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

For the sauce

  • 5 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 4 hot green chillies, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 cm cassia bark or cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cassia leaves or bay leaves


1. For the meatballs: Put all the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and mix well.

2. With wet hands, form golf ball-sized meatballs about 4 cm in diameter. Set aside.

3. For the sauce: Pour the oil into a large pan 25 cm in diameter and set it over a medium heat. When its hot, add the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for 10 seconds.

4. Tip in the onions and stir for 8 minutes, or until they brown lightly.

5. Stir in the garlic and ginger, loosening with a splash of boiling water if they stick. Add the turmeric and stir for 1 minute.

6. Add the tomatoes and stir for 2 minutes, then add the chillies and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, again adding a splash of boiling water if they stick.

7. Add the garam masala, cloves, cassia bark and leaves and stir for 2 minutes.

8. When the oil separates, place the meatballs in the pan. Cover and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.

9. Shake the pan to loosen the meatballs. Leave for a further 5 minutes and shake again. The meatballs will now be firm enough to be moved. Gently rearrange them so they all have a chance to sit covered in the bubbling sauce.

10. Pour in 250ml of water. Once again, shimmy the pan to work the liquid into the sauce.

11. Continue cooking, covered, for 35 minutes over a low heat, shaking now and then. Serve hot.

Rate This Recipe