These Indian-inspired meatballs in curry sauce need nothing but rice and a big spoon!
I’ve always been a firm believer that food should be fun, easy (most of the time) and off the scale flavourful. These meatballs in curry sauce combine all three! I came up with this recipe about a year ago when Brad and I were following a low carb diet. I like meat and veg but when that’s all you eat day after day, you have to get more creative than just grilling a steak with some spinach on the side.
Normally I make curries often and usually with chicken breasts or chickpeas and butternut squash. Not exactly sure what prompted me to go with meatballs that one fateful night but most likely boredom with the usual, and was I ever happy I did!
Fun fact: Meatballs are called “kofta” in India and they are shaped more like mini sausages than our meatballs. The recipe for the one I am sharing today was adapted from a very inspirational and one of my favourite writers Madhur Jaffrey, although I might’ve inadvertently combined two different regions of India in one recipe by simply getting carried away and being me. It’s okay, we love unity, right?!
What I found most difficult about a low carb diet is a definite lack of starch to mop up all the sauces, hence the food ends up regretfully sauceless (Is it even a word? It is now!), and that, my friends, is just plain boring!! As much as I enjoyed my shrinking waist line and my lean and healthy dishes, I was starting to miss my curries and rice! There was nothing wrong with a curry but rice was definitely on the forbidden food list. So all I had to do was to replace it. I know you are probably thinking why not make cauliflower “rice”? I wish I could but something about cauliflower in large quantities just doesn’t agree with my stomach.
Happily we were on the biggest lentil kick at that time, and this particular recipe for Nepalese Red Lentil Dhal ,that Brad brought home from his year in Nepal, immediately sprang to mind. And that is how we ate it. Indian spiced meatballs in curry sauce with Nepalese Red Lentil Dhal. Delicious!
So this recipe for meatballs in curry sauce happened one night and we loved it so much I vowed to blog about it, which I am doing …a year later. What is pretty special about this recipe are the meatballs themselves. They are spiced with an array of warm Indian spices like cumin, coriander, cloves, ginger, cinnamon etc. Can you believe it!! I am talking flavour here, not heat. That’s the curry’s job! The sauce is all about heat and BOLD flavour notes. I also finished it off with just a splash of single cream to tame all the heat just a little and threw in a bunch of chopped kale for some extra nutrition and colour! Feel free to use spinach, peas, beans…anything you like! If you getting nervous here about your ability to pull off a real Indian taste, don’t be. I will teach you how to cheat!
I use Patak’s curry pastes in all of my curries. By the way, they are not paying me but I love their product so much, I am not ashamed! I find curries made with their pastes are the best on the market and taste like they came from authentic Indian restaurants. And London, perhaps is the next place after India where the best Indian food is found!
For this recipe I used Madras spice paste, which is quite hot, so if you are not a fan of spicy food, I would recommend finding a mild curry like Korma or Tikka Masala.
- 2 lbs lean ground pork
- 1½" long piece of ginger, peeled and grated or 1 tsp dried ginger
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp coriander
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 inch long piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- ¼ cup cilantro stalks, chopped
- 3 tbsp Indian curry paste, not sauce
- 1-14oz/400 ml can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup/250 ml water
- 1 cup black kale/cavolo nero, chopped
- ½ cup/125 ml light cream/single cream
- 1 tsp garam masala
- cilantro leaves, chopped
- In a large bowl combine pork, ginger, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt and plain yogurt.
- Roll into golf ball-sized meatballs and brown in 1 tbsp of vegetable oil until golden but not cooked all the way through. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Discard excessive fat but leave approximately 1 tbsp in the pan. Add onions, garlic, ginger and chopped cilantro stalks and cook over low heat without browning for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add curry paste and stir for a minute, then add canned tomatoes and water, stir to combine, return the meatballs to the pan, and spoon some curry sauce on them to coat them, then turn the heat up and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add chopped kale and any other vegetables if using and cook uncovered for 10 minutes longer, stirring once in a while to avoid burning. In the last few minutes add light cream and taste for salt, add more if necessary. (I add no salt to this sauce as Patak's curry pastes are quite salty already!)
- Sprinkle with garam masala and chopped cilantro leaves.
- Serve with basmati rice, naan and/or lentil dhal for a low carb version.