Thursday, 22 August 2013

Ball Curry (Beef Meatballs In A Coconut Curry)

This is a dish my mum used to make. I have tweaked it a bit. This recipe doesn't contain any egg to bind the meatballs. My mum used to squeeze out the water from the beef mince before adding the rest of the ingredients to it. I am not sure whether the intent was to bind it better, but I found the meatballs tasted very dry that way, so I keep the beef mince as it is originally and it retains all its juice.

I have used zaatar, an Arabic spice mixture of sesame seeds, marjoram, oregano and a few other ingredients mixed together. I found that zaatar goes really well with any red meat, and especially well with any roasts. If you cannot find zaatar, use 1/2 tsp each of coriander, cumin and garam masala powder.

Again, my magic ingredient is Maggi's hot and sweet sauce. You will find it in any indian grocery store. In Dubai, you will find it in any Al Adil store. Its got that je ne sais quoi, and I usually add it just at the end to give the dish that final boost of flavor.

A note to remember, I add my curry leaves right at the end, just before adding the coconut milk. I find it gives the curry a nice scent, but if you add it in the beginning the dish tends to taste a bit bitter.

Most ball curry recipes call for garam masala powder to be added when making the meatballs and in the final curry as well. I am not a fan of garam masala, so I haven't added it here. But if I had to, I would prefer to add it in just the curry and leave it out of the meatball mixture.

If you would like more body to this dish, you could add in some diced potatoes (roughly the same size as the meatballs) at the time of adding the meatballs.

Ball curry (meatballs in a coconut curry)
Ball curry in a coconut gravy


for the meatballs:
500gms beef mince
1/2 tsp of zaatar
1/2 tsp of dry mint
1/2 tsp of cumin powder
1/2 tsp of salt
fresh coriander leaves chopped fine

for the curry:
2 onions chopped fine
1 tomato chopped fine
1 tbsp of tomato paste
1-2 tsps of ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder (or you could add a whole green chilly and just a pinch of the chilly powder)
2 cups of water
3 tbsps of maggi's hot n sweet sauce
5 tbsps of coconut powder, reconstituted in 1/2 cup of room temperature water till it forms a milky paste
fresh curry leaves
fresh coriander leaves chopped for garnishing

Prepare the meatballs by mixing all the ingredients to room temperature beef mince. Shape into round balls and keep.

Formation of Balls for the Curry

In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Add the onions and when transluscent, add the ginger garlic paste and salt. Then add in the tomatoes and the tomato paste. Let it sauté for a bit, then add the spice powders. Add about 2 cups of water and simmer on low for 5 mins.

Curry for the Meatballs

 Drop in the meatballs and close the pressure cooker. Turn the heat on to the highest setting and when it whistles, lower and time for 15 mins.
Once the timer is finished, take the cooker off the heat. Pressure cookers are dangerous and need to be handled with care so this is what I usually do when I need to open it; to release the steam you need to lift off the counterweight gradually and bleed off the steam, I usually do this by levering the weight with a fork and adjusting it to let out the steam gently or just run the sides of the cooker under water until it has suffficiently cooled down to reduce the pressure in the cooker.

Do NOT attempt to open the cooker without letting off the steam as this could result in some serious steam burns.
Put the opened pressure cooker back on a medium heat. At this stage, you can add the curry leaves. Add in the coconut milk as well. You can make more milk if you would like it thicker, or add more water if you would like more of a gravy. Cook for about 10 mins, till the coconut milk is cooked. Add the maggi's hot and sweet sauce at this point and check for seasonings. Finally garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

ball curry (meatball curry in tomato sauce)
Meat ball Coconut Curry

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