Recipe for Beef Kofta Curry (aka Meatball Curry)

The Kofta or meatballs in Kofta curry are made from minced meat, usually beef, lamb or chicken mixed with spices. There are two kinds of Kofta curry. One is the recipe I talk about here, and the second one is called Nargisi Kofta curry.

I grew up with seven sisters and my mother told me that I have to learn to cook some dishes from my older sisters. When I was in grade 8, I learned how to make kofta curry from my oldest sister, Naheed. The problem was that my sisters were not very willing to teach me. They would make me chop onions, garlic, and vegetables, and let me rinse the rice. One day, I begged Naheed to let me cook. She finally agreed to teach me kofta curry but did not explain the steps well. The meatball mixture needs to be moist but not soggy, and I remember my mixture was quite soggy. I ended up asking my dad to buy a cookbook for me since my sisters were not interested in teaching me and this way I could learn at my own pace. Over time, I became a good cook and continued to try various recipes. My sisters were actually proud of me at that point. 


For Koftas (Meatballs):

  • 2 lbs ground beef (can also use ground chicken or ground lamb)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp roasted channa powder
  • ½ tbsp five-spice powder (“garam masala” powder)
  • ¼ tbsp nutmug powder

Preparation for Koftas:

  1. In a food processor, chop onions, green chilli and coriander leaves.
  2. In a bowl, add ground beef, garlic and ginger paste, and the onion, green chilli and coriander leaves paste.
  3. Add egg and all spices. Mix well using your hands to thoroughly mix all spices and eggs into the ground beef.

4. Make meatballs the size of a golf ball as follows: wet your hands with water, gently roll the mixture between your hands to form a ball, and place the meatball on a tray, leaving enough space between meatballs so they are not touching.

Ingredients for Curry:

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp cumin seed
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Whole garam masala (mixture of 3 cloves, 4 whole black pepper, 2 small green cardamom, 1 large black cardamom, 1” cinnamon stick)
  • ½ tbsp five-spice powder (“garam masala” powder)
  • 3 tbsp yogurt
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • For garnish: 1 sliced green chilli and 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Preparation for curry:

  1. In a food processor, chop onions, garlic and ginger. Keep 1 small piece of onion aside.
  2. Heat a large heavy pot (eg. Cast iron) over high heat and add vegetable oil. To check if the oil is hot enough, add the piece of onion, and if it turns golden brown, the oil is ready for cooking.
  3. Pour the onion mixture in the pot, sauté, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Add whole garam masala during this time.
  1. When onions are golden brown, add cumin seeds and all other spices. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add yogurt and cook for 4 minutes or until the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  3. Add koftas in a single layer and stir the koftas. Do not use a spatula for stirring the koftas but instead, hold the pot with both hands and gently swirl the mixture.

7. Cook until meatballs colour change (around 5 minutes)

8. Add water and bring to a boil.

9. Reduce to low heat, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until koftas are tender.

10. Turn off the heat, and sprinkle garam masala powder and garnish with green chilli and coriander leaves.

11. Serve hot with rotis or rice.

Different Variations:

  1. Nargisi Kofta curry: consists of boiled eggs covered in minced meat in a curry sauce. Nargisi Kofta curry takes more time to cook. I will share that recipe later.
  2. Fried Kofta: Follow the same ingredients and preparation for koftas (meatballs) listed above, however instead of making the kofta curry, you would fry them instead. Fry for 10 minutes until cooked. You can save these koftas for later and put them in a freezer or eat them fresh. You can pair them with Pulao (rice dish), spaghetti, or kofta roti rolls.
Fried Kofta

3. Kofta for Kids: For kids, you should make a less spicy dish for them, yet still have flavour.

A) To start off, you need around 1 pound ground beef, or ground chicken or ground lamb. 1 tsp chopped onions, 1/4 tsp of garlic/ginger paste, 1/4 tsp ketchup, 1/4 tsp mayonnaise, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper.

B) Mix all ingredients together, and make the kofta into the size of golf balls.

C) Put 1 tbsp of oil into pan and fry koftas on medium heat for 10 minutes, until tender.

Kofta for Kids

That’s all! Hope you enjoy and stay tuned for more recipes.


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