This may be a recipe for kofta or meatball curry but really, it too had its origins in trying desperately to use up my vegetable garden bounty. The curry was made with a lot of tomato and with green Carmen peppers that had not yet turned/begun to ripen before the first killing frost a week ago. Carmen peppers turn a lovely scarlet colour when fully ripe but are also quite sweet and very tasty when green. The koftas were made here with ground beef (from Goette Farms) but you can use ground lamb or goat or even turkey (keema and koftas being the best ways for turkey to shine in the Indian kitchen in my experience). The large amount of tomato used makes the curry quite tangy and the flavour of the green peppers matches it well. It’s a pretty quick and simple preparation—largely because I don’t bother frying the koftas first—and rather tasty.
- 1 lb ground beef (or mutton/goat or lamb)
- The following whole garam masala: 2-3 tez patta/dried cassia leaf/Indian bay leaf; 4-5 green cardamom pods; 4-5 cloves
- 1 large red onion, sliced, and some of the slices chopped to produce just about 2 tblspns minced onion
- 1 tspn freshly crushed garlic
- 1 tspn freshly crushed ginger
- 3/4 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
- 1 tspn red chilli powder
- The following ground to a fine powder: a 2″ piece of cassia bark/cinnamon; 1 tspn zeera/cumin seeds; 2 tspns coriander seeds; 1 tspn black peppercorn; 1/2 tspn kabab chini/cubeb/tailed pepper; 1 tspn black mustard seeds; 3/4 tspn methi/fenugreek seeds
- 2 green Carmen or other sweet green peppers (or 1 small green bell pepper), halved lengthwise, seeds and ribs removed, and cut into chunks
- 2 cups chopped fresh tomato
- 2 cups water right off the boil
- 2-3 tblspns neutral. oil of choice
- 2 tblspns chopped dhania/cilantro for garnish
- Crumble the ground beef on a plate and sprinkle 2 tblspns chopped onion, a big pinch of the ground masala and a big pinch of salt over it all. Mix it all in with your hands, without kneading the meat too much and form 12-14 small meatballs. Again, don’t overwork them. Set aside.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a pan that can hold the meatballs in one layer.
- When the oil shimmers add the whole garam masala.
- As soon as the tez patta darkens, dump in the sliced onions and saute over medium-low heat, stirring often, till the onion has softened and begun to brown nicely.
- Raise the heat to medium, add the crushed ginger and garlic, mix in and saute till the raw aroma is gone.
- Add the haldi, the red chilli powder, the ground masala and salt, mix in and saute for another minute or so.
- Add the chopped tomato, mix in and saute, stirring often till the tomato has completely broken down and the oil begins to separate.
- Add the chunks of green pepper, mix in an saute, stirring often for another five minutes or so.
- Add the hot water, mix in and bring to a high simmer.
- Drop the meatballs in gently and either gently stir or shake the pan lightly to roll and coat them in the gravy.
- Once the meatballs have lost their raw red colour, cover the pan and cook at a simmer till the meatballs are just cooked through (15 minutes should do it).
- Uncover the pan, stir gently, garnish with the dhania and serve with dal or chapatis.
- While the first step here is the making of the meatballs, I have to confess I don’t really care about mise en place or assembling all the ingredients before you start cooking. I actually make the meatballs while the onions are browning. It both saves the total cooking time and helps make sure you don’t hurry the onions.
- I use Deggi mirch, a very mild chilli powder [affiliate link]. You could certainly make this spicier with a hotter chilli powder but not everything has to be very hot. The tangy flavour of the tomatoes and peppers is what I foreground here, with the heat and bite coming from the black pepper and mustard seed in the ground masala and the crushed ginger.
- I also like this to be a fairly thin curry but you could certainly reduce it further after uncovering the pan—but maybe remove the meatballs first.
- Take a taste after you uncover the pan. If your tomatoes are not sweet and the curry is more sour than you would like, you can add a tspn of sugar at this point.
- Yes, there’s a Reel.