Lamb Kofta in Tomato & Yoghurt Sauce

By: Tom Woodcock
Serves: 3 to 4

For the Kofta:
♦ small onion
♦ 1 lb ground lamb
♦ 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
♦ 3 cloves garlic, minced
♦ 2 green chilies, half the seeds removed and finely chopped
♦ 1/2 tsp salt
♦ 1 large egg

For the Sauce:
♦ 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
♦ 1 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
♦ vegetable oil
♦ small onion, chopped
♦ 4-inch cinnamon stick
♦ 8 whole cloves
♦ 10 cardamom pods
♦ 1 tsp ground turmeric
♦ 1 tbsp garam masala
♦ salt to taste
♦ 20 oz chopped tomatoes (fresh or tinned)
♦ 2 to 3 tbsp thick yoghurt

Shape the meatballs: Purée the onion in a food process – set a paper towel into a small sieve, and pour in the onion. Cover with a second paper towel and press out all of the excess water. Place the onion into a large bowl – add the lamb, chilies, ginger, garlic, salt, and egg. Fold the ingredients together with your hands until fully mixed.

Measure out 2 tbsp of meat at a time, and form into a ball (should be roughly the size of a golf ball). Set into a casserole dish (or large glass container) and allow to chill for 2 hours.

Prepare the sauce: Dry toast the coriander seeds until fragrant – set aside. Repeat with the cumin seeds. Place both into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar; grind into a fine powder.

Place at least enough oil in a large frying pan to coat, and heat over medium heat – add the onion and sauté until golden. Transfer to a food processor and blend to a fine paste. Reheat the oil, and add the cinnamon stick, cloves, and cardamom pods. Add the ground spices, puréed onion, and salt – fry for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato, the remove from the heat to add the yoghurt. Return the pan to the stovetop and bring to a low simmer.

Drop the chilled meatballs into the sauce one at a time – they should be about 2/3 submerged. Cooked, uncovered, for 1 hour over a low simmer. If the sauce dries out, add a small amount of water (1 tbsp at a time). Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves, and cardamom if desired – serve with rice and fresh cilantro.

To read more about this dish and my musical pairing, click HERE.

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