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kofta curry in a bowl with naan on the side

Kofta Curry Recipe (Indian Meatballs in Sauce)

Kofta curry or Indian-style meatballs in a thick sauce made with ground lamb, onions, yogurt, chickpea flour and lots of spices.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Keyword kofta curry, lamb kofta, meatballs in sauce
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 20 meatballs
Calories 296.6kcal


For the koftas (meatballs) 

  • 1.4 lbs or 650 grams lean ground lamb washed and drained
  • ½ small onion minced
  • 1 cup store-bought fried onions or 4-5 medium-sized onions fried reddish brown
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2-3 dry red chillies or 2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon chickpea flour dry roasted

For the curry 

  • cup cooking oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 3-4 green cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 large onions ground to a paste
  • 2 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1.5 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 large onion fried reddish brown
  • 3 tablespoon yogurt


Making the kofte

  • Put all the ingredients except the chickpea flour in a food processor or mixer-grinder and whiz to get a smooth paste.
  • Add the chickpea flour and mix well.
  • Grease your hands with a few drops of oil, take a lemon-sized portion of the mince in your hands and shape into a smooth ball. Repeat until all the mince is used up. Keep the balls on a platter to be dipped later in the curry.

Cooking the curry 

  • Put the fried onion and yogurt in a blender and blend to a paste.
  • Heat the oil in a broad and heavy-bottomed vessel like a dutch oven and add the whole spices. Let them sizzle for a few seconds.
  • Add the onion, ginger and garlic pastes, coriander powder, chilli powder and salt and stir. Cover with a lid and let this masala cook for about ten minutes or so on medium heat.
  • Stir in the fried onion and yogurt mixture. Again cover and let the curry cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir once or twice in between. You can add a few splashes of water to prevent the masala from sticking to the bottom.
  • When the oil leaves the sides and the curry becomes thick, add 3-4 cups water and stir well. Slide in the meatballs one by one, taking care not to overcrowd the vessel.
  • Do not disturb the meatballs after putting them in the gravy. Lower the heat and cook uncovered for 30-40 minutes. If you feel that the meatballs are sticking slightly to the bottom, gently shake the vessel to move them around, but don't use a spoon to do this.
  • You will see that gradually the curry will thicken and the oil will again rise to the top. At this point, the kofta curry is done. Garnish with a few slit green chillies (optional) and serve hot with fresh naan.


  1. Use the ground meat of your choice for this kofta recipe. My personal preference is lamb or mutton, but you can use beef, chicken or even turkey if that's what you like.
  2. The mince should not have any excess water. To drain out the moisture, I put the mince in a sieve or colander and press down on it with the back of a large spoon.
  3. Chickpea flour is traditionally used for binding the meatballs and it is available in most supermarkets, but if you don't have it, you can use good ol' cornflour instead.
  4. You can use store-bought pre-fried onions for making the meatballs if you don't want to go to the trouble of slicing and frying so many onions. However, for the curry, do fry the one big onion for a superior taste and look.
  5. Don't worry if you don't have all the whole spices mentioned in the recipe. Use the ones you do have or compensate with powdered garam masala if that's all you have.
  6. The amount of meat in this recipe makes 20 meatballs, but if you don't want to use up all of them at once, you can freeze the extra for later use. Stick the platter of unused meatballs in the freezer and when they freeze, transfer them to a ziploc bag and put the bag in the freezer again. To thaw them, immerse the ziploc bag in warm water and use as required.


Serving: 2meatballs | Calories: 296.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.1g | Protein: 12.6g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 7.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14.1g | Cholesterol: 47.8mg | Sodium: 299mg | Fiber: 1.9g | Sugar: 4.5g