Minty beef meatballs... from Curry Nation cookbook...

If you're reading Anula's Kitchen for some time now, you've probably noticed that I'm a big fan of Indian cuisine. But not being brought up surrounded by this food, this amazing culture, it presents a bit of a challenge for me every time I'm trying to create a dish. I'm happy to say, and I hope I'm right, that I'm getting better and better and more confident with Indian food. I have a huge selection of spices, ghee and I was also able to create a collection of different flours, rice and have even started making my own naan and chapati bread. So I think I'm on a good way of discovering Indian cuisine - and there's a LOT to discover.
Each region of India has it's own distinctive cuisine, dishes, spices. What's more - Indian people living, for example in the UK have created their own versions of dishes from their homeland. The below dish actually comes from a family like that. Indian family living in UK and it's from a great cook book "Curry Nation" by Madhur Jaffrey.
Minty beef meatballs... have to admit that the title didn't really appeal to me when I first saw it. Living in Ireland I always associate mint with lamb, so was quite surprised to see it paired with beef. But the result - fantastic! The sauce is creamy and surprisingly light, perfect for dipping your naan or chapati bread in it! Meatballs have nice texture - not too dry - and the spice mix is just right. Yes, I know - the ingredients list is quite long, but these are mostly spices. And yes, again - there's a bit of work involved, but steps are easy and quick. It actually took longer to cook than to prepare/assembly the dish. And it took almost no time at all - to eat it! :)

I like Madhur Jaffrey a lot, and I mean a lot! She knows her food very well and it's a pure pleasure to watch her programs and listened to her talking about Indian food, culture and traditions.

madhur jaffrey

How to make it...
For the meatballs:
- 1 tablespoon chickpea (gram) flour
- 500 g minced beef
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seends
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 3/4 teaspoon chili podwer
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon finely crushed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon peeled and grated ginger
- 15 g coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 3 mint leaves, chopped
- 1/2-1 green chilli, finely chopped
For the onion and poppy seed pastas:
- 3 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
For the sauce:
- 3 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 tespoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/2 tespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri (mild) chilli powder
- 120 g yogurt
- 12 min leaves

First roast chickpea flour in a dry frying pan, stirring, until itturns a shade darker and smells nutty. Scrape out on a place and set aside.
Make the onion paste: pour 3 tablespoons of oil into a pan and fry the onions until they are nicely browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and process as finely as possible in a blender.
For the poppy paste: soak the seeds in a hot water o cover for 10 minutes, then drain and cruch finely in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
Make the meatballs: put all the ingredients, plus 1 tablespoon of the onion paste in a big bowl and using your hands mix very well together. Form small meatballs, each about 4 cm in diameter, using wetted palms of your hands.
Now make a sauce: pour the oil into a large, shallow pan, about 25 cm in diameter and set over a medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of onion paste and brown for about 3 minutes. reduce the heat to low and add the cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric, chili powder and salt. Mix well and add a splash of boiling water. Spoon in all the poppy seed paste and Kashimi chili powder. Stir and fry intil the oil separates and the sauce is cooked. Stir in yogurt and then add 180 ml of hot water. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes. Add the meatballs, cover and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes. Tear the mint leaves and add to the sauce. Stir gently to mix them and serve.


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