Masala Kofte | Indian Meatballs in Masala
Serves: 20-24 meatballs in sauce
  • 2 pounds/1kg ground/minced beef
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 green chilli, Cayenne or Serrano
  • handful of cilantro
  • handful of mint
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 8 cardamom pods, ground
  • 3 tablespoons besan/chick pea flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • oil for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons natural peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons tahini paste
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut, dry toasted and ground
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • golf size ball of tamarind soaked in 2 cups of hot water
  • (or 2 heaping teaspoons tamarind paste)
  • chopped mint and cilantro for garnishing
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil, organic Canola or Coconut
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 4 dry red chillies
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉/200℃
  2. Grease a baking sheet with spray or oil.
  3. In a food processor bowl, add the onion, cilantro, mint, green chilli, garlic and ginger.
  4. Process until finely ground.
  5. Add the ground beef to the bowl and process in a few quick pulses just to combine.
  6. Tip out the meat mixture into a bowl and add the spices and besan.
  7. Gently mix through with your hands.
  8. Shape into golf ball size balls, can use a cookie scoop if desired.
  9. Place the meat balls on the baking sheet.
  10. Continue until all the meat has been shaped into balls.
  11. You will get about 20-24 meat balls depending on the size.
  12. Drizzle with oil.
  13. Bake in the oven until firm and golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.
  14. While the meat balls are baking, make the gravy/masala.
  15. In a large saucepan, big enough to hold the meatballs, dry roast the onions:
  16. Put a teaspoon of oil in the pan and on medium high heat, brown the onions.
  17. Keep stirring them so they don't stick and burn in the little oil.
  18. We don't want them caramelised, just a nice golden brown colour to them.
  19. They will remain quite soft still.
  20. While the onions are browning soak the tamarind ball in about 2 cups of water.
  21. After the onions have browned, take them out of the pan and let cool for a bit.
  22. In a blender or food processor, add the cooled onion and the chopped tomatoes.
  23. Whiz until pureed.
  24. In the same pan used to cook the onions, add the oil for tempering.
  25. Heat the oil on medium and once hot, add the cumin seeds, the dry chillies and the curry leaves.
  26. Be careful because the seeds and the curry leaves will spit.
  27. Heat the spices in the oil for a couple of minutes and then add the onion and tomato paste.
  28. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute.
  29. Add the peanut butter, tahini paste, cayenne powder, turmeric, coconut, coriander powder and fenugreek powder.
  30. Mix all the spices into the paste well and stir to make sure it doesn't stick.
  31. Once the masala has cooked and the oil is beginning to separate from it, strain the tamarind water into the pot or alternatively, add hot water and 2 heaping teaspoons of tamarind paste.
  32. Bring up to a simmer.
  33. At this point, add the meat balls.
  34. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the sauce until well blended, the meat balls are coated with the sauce and some of the water has evaporated.
  35. Depending on how you like the sauce, you can add more water to thin it out or simmer until it is thick.
  36. Make sure to stir gently so it doesn't burn.
  37. Also, check for the tanginess. Add more tamarind if desired.
  38. Check for seasonings and add accordingly.
  39. Garnish with chopped mint and cilantro.
If you like a bit of sweetness to the tang of the tamarind, add a teaspoon or two of sugar and it should mellow it out. If you don't have peanut butter, dry roast a tablespoon of raw peanuts and grind them up and same for the sesame seeds, dry roast 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds and grind them. I always have peanut butter and tahini paste so I've started taking this short cut. The coconut is a desiccated non sweetened one. Don't use the sweetened flaked unless you want a very sweet curry (been there, done that). Curry leaves are also a-must because this is a Hyderabadi masala using nuts and South Indian flavours of curry leaves, coconut and tamarind.
Recipe by Coffee and Crumpets at