I know I recently made a curry recipe (Scallops with Spicy Curry Sauce and Couscous), but I just had to give this Kofta Curry recipe a try. Why? Well, I’ve been craving beef, I adore curry, and this recipe has been getting mad repins. I don’t obsess over which pins are repinned, but every time I check this one has tons. It got my attention and shot this recipe to the top of my must blog recipe list. I mean, I’ve never blogged a meatball recipe, and a big part of this blog is trying new things, so… It’s time to dig through my pantry to see which ingredients I have and what I need to buy to make this recipe happen.
Kofta curry is a recipe for deliciously spiced traditional Pakistani meatballs, that are served in a creamy sauce and saffron rice.
There are a lot of ingredients for this recipe! You know me, I keep tons of spices on hand, so I only had to buy the saffron (Yikes, that stuff is expensive!). That still left plenty of fresh produce, the ground beef, basmati rice, and yogurt. The list of items I needed really wasn’t so long. It just seemed that way after only needing a few things for recent recipes.
I got lucky and had just enough vegetable oil on hand to make this recipe. The rice alone calls for 7 tablespoons of oil, and you’ll need more to make the koftas and sauce. Adding a new bottle to your shopping list to be on the safe side might be a good idea.
There’s quite a bit to cover with this recipe, so let’s get to it! I started things off with prep work. After reading through the recipe, it sounded like there wouldn’t be time to prep during cooking, so I made sure everything was peeled, chopped, and measured out before I moved on to cooking.
Once I had most of the prep work done I was ready to start making the koftas. This step was very straightforward–just mix up all the ingredients and make them into meatballs, then chill them for 30 minutes. I did notice lots of extra onion left in the mixing bowl after I made the koftas. Even though I used small onions, chopped them finely and had less than the 2 cups listed. Still, there were just too many to mix into the ground beef.
While the koftas were chilling, I went ahead and peeled and crushed the tomatoes. This wasn’t nearly as difficult or time-consuming as I thought it would be. I found a couple of tutorials on peeling and seeding tomatoes that had lots of pictured and broke down both processes. Then I roughly chopped the tomatoes, placed the pieces in a ziplock bag, and used my hands to literally crush them.
Cooking the Koftas and Sauce
Finally, it was time to start cooking. Things went okay until I added the meatballs to the pan. Remember when I mentioned lots of leftover onions when I made the koftas? Well, about 1/3 of them fell apart while I was browning them. All the onion, cilantro, and hot pepper that I mixed in made them too delicate to handle. I started using a slotted spoon and switched to tongs once I realized what was happening. The tongs helped a lot, but next time I will reduce the mix-ins to make the meatballs more stable. Adding some egg might also work as a binder.
Trying to mix in the rest of the sauce ingredients caused more koftas to crumble, so I removed them from the skillet with a slotted spoon. After that, I was able to stir in the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. I returned the koftas to the pan to cook, but I had to remove them again so I could stir in the yogurt.
Oh, and speaking of pans, I used my 12' cast-iron pan for this recipe. I didn’t have any issues with sticking, but the pan was very crowded. Even if the koftas hadn’t been so delicate, I don’t think I would have had enough room to stir them with the sauce. My largest saute pan would have been a better choice. It’s about the same diameter but it’s deeper and the sized don’t slope, giving it more capacity.
Cooking the Saffron Rice
The first part of the koftas and the rice were very hands-on, so I wasn’t able to get started on the rice until the koftas were simmering. The rice went according to the instructions for the most part. The only time I got a little worried was when I was stirring it with the saffron threads. The rice hadn’t turned yellow after 5 minutes of stirring. Was my saffron defective? Nope, the yellow came out when I added the boiling water. Disaster averted LOL.
Now for the bad news: this recipe took much longer than the 1 hour 15 minutes listed. I spent 1 hour 52 minutes on it. That includes all the prep work, the koftas, sauce, and saffron rice. But man, was it worth it!