Indian Recipe

These tiny Indian meatballs make a delicious and unusual appetizer for parties. You can prepare and shape the balls a day ahead, then cook them just before serving. Serve them with Cilantro Chutney and fresh limes.


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Serves 28-30 Koftas
1 pound ground chuck
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 whole bay leaves
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
20 whole black peppercorns
5 green cardamon pods
6–7 whole cloves
1/4 cup minced onion
1 2-inch piece minced ginger
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, drained*
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the meat, salt, pepper, onions, garam masala, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, chili powder, cloves, cardamom, cilantro, and vegetable oil in a medium-mixing bowl. Mix well.

2. Form into 1-inch balls and set aside.

3. Make the gravy and follow the instructions for cooking the koftas below.


1. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan and over a medium-high flame.

2. When the pan is very hot, add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cardamom pods, and cloves in and roast the spices for 4–5 seconds.

3. Add the onion and cook until it turns golden. Stir frequently and control the heat to avoid scorching the onion.

4. Lower the heat to medium and add the ginger and cook for two minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for one minute.

5. Stir in half of the tomato, mix well, and cook for one minute. Add the remaining tomato and repeat.

6. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and chili powder and stir until the mixture deepens in color—approximately 4–5 minutes.

7. Integrate the yogurt slowly into the mixture, one tablespoon at a time.

8. Add the water slowly, stirring to mix well.

9. Add the salt and pepper and mix well.

10. Gently place the meatballs in the gravy. The pan should not be crowded, so it will be easy to turn the meatballs as they cook.

11. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid that is set ajar, and cook for ten minutes undisturbed.

12. Gently turn the meatballs, then continue to cook them for 10–15 minutes more, turning every five minutes, until they are browned and cooked through.

13. Place the koftas and sauce in a decorative bowl and serve immediately.

Preparation Time: 
90 minutes including the cooking time.