This curry has been inspired by the meatball stews of Goa. It is a beautiful dish and the flavors are deep and well rounded. It is perfect for an easy dinner and great for children (without the chiles) as they can help form the meatballs, as I did when young. The curry itself only requires the chopping of an onion and a blender. Serve it with basmati rice, bread, rice noodles or even mashed potatoes – anything to soak up the delicious gravy.
Adapted from "Anjum's New Indian" by Anjum Anand.
- 14 ounces ground lamb, (ask your butcher to grind it three times)
- 2 large slices of white bread, crusts removed and crumbed
- 1 large egg, whisked
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small–medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 ¼-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and quartered
- 7 large cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2–6 thin green chiles, deseeded if preferred
- 1 ½ cups coconut milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and stalks
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste, or to taste
Mix the lamb with the bread crumbs, egg, ½ teaspoon salt and a good grinding of pepper, ½ teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon of the oil. Form into 1-inch meatballs and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a large nonstick saucepan. Add the onion and fry until brown. Meanwhile, using a blender, make a paste of the ginger, garlic and chiles with a scant ½ cup of the coconut milk. Add this to the pan with the remaining spices and salt. Cook over medium heat for 8–10 minutes or until the mixture releases oil and has no harsh elements when tasted.
Purée the cilantro with the remaining coconut milk and add to the cooked masala sauce with 1 2/3 cups water. Bring to a boil and cook for 8–10 minutes. Taste the seasoning and adjust, adding as much tamarind paste as you like for sourness. Add all the meatballs and bring back to the boil, then cook over a low heat for 20 minutes or until the meatballs are tender.