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Meat Ball Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Peas recipe
Meat Ball Curry is an absolute Anglo-Indian classic. Mention this dish to any Anglo-Indian living anywhere in the world and I guarantee it will bring back wonderful memories of soul warming, home cooked comfort food. For me, Meat Ball Curry carries the same resonance that 'Sunday Family Roast' does for many Australians. No matter how many times I ate my mum's version it never lost its 'specialness' - simply because it always warmed my insides and gave me comfort. This is definitely not a dish you will find on the menus of Indian restaurants and rightly so too! This wonderful dish deserves to be cooked at home and shared with the people that you love. This version is my family's special recipe. Please share it with your family.
NOTE: USE SATCHETS FROM TOP TO BOTTOM – TOP SACHET BEING THE ONE BELOW THE RECIPE CARD.
(Serves 6 - 8 people)
To make Meat Ball Curry you’ll need the following additional ingredients:
1 kg best quality beef mince
1 large bunch fresh coriander. Cut to separate the leaves from the stems and the stems from roots. Finely chop the leaves and roughly chop the stems
1 large handful fresh mint leaves finely chopped
¼ cup sweet chilli sauce
1 large onion peeled and roughly chopped
5 large cloves of garlic finely chopped/ground to a paste in a motar and pestle or 1 tbs bottled garlic paste1 inch piece peeled ginger grated and ground to a paste in a motar
and pestle or 1 tbs bottled ginger paste
½ cup good quality vegetable or rice bran oil. Do not use olive oil
1 cup water plus more if you want a more liquid curry
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, diced into bite sized pieces and half cooked
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
Juice from 1 small lime
Salt to taste
Place the mince in a large bowl and separate with a fork. Add the chopped coriander leaves, mint, sweet chilli sauce and the contents of the first sachet to the meat. Mix well with your hands. Shape into balls and set aside. Try to make the balls a little smaller than golf ball size. Use the number of people to wish to serve as a guide as to how many balls you make.
Grind the onion, ginger, garlic and coriander stems to a paste in a blender with as many chillis as you wish from the second sachet. Using 3 -4 chillis will make a medium curry. Use more for a hot curry.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed, wide based pan over medium heat.
Add the whole spices from the third sachet to the pan after crushing the cardamons (green pods) slightly to release the flavour of the seeds. Roast spices for 2 - 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Take care not to burn spices.
Add the musttard seeds from the fourth sachet. Cook until they pop. Take care not to stand too close
Add the curry leaves from the fifth sachet and cook for 30 – 40 seconds.
Add the onion paste to the pan and cook for 3 -5 minutes until the onions are well cooked.
Add the powders from the sixth sachet. Stir well and roast for 3-5 minutes (until the raw smell of the spice powders has gone) adding the tomatoes and the water a little at a time to form a thick sauce or gravy. Keep cooking and stirring this sauce for another 1-2 minutes. You may need to adjust the heat you are cooking occasionally from medium to low to prevent burning. Do not rush this process as this is when all your spices are getting to know one another. Let them have time to unite. If the liquid is too thick add ½ cup water now and stir well.
Gently add the meat balls to the sauce. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the meat balls are ‘set’, very gently shaking the pan occasionally.
Very carefully add the sweet potatoes to the sauce and stir gently to combine. Cook gently on low heat for 10 – 15 minutes or until the meat balls and vegetables are well combined stirring occasionally.
Add the peas, lime juice and grated jaggery from the last sachet to the sauce. Cook for a few more minutes. Taste for salt and add if required.
Your Meat Ball curry is ready. Serve with steamed rice or rotis and enjoy!
Do not eat any whole spices (cardamom, cloves etc) in the curry. They are for cooking only not for eating. Curry always tastes better the next day so this is the perfect cook ahead dish.
Substitute 1 kg chicken mince and follow all instructions above for a delicious chicken version.
Make a spicy egg and vegetable curry by following steps 2 onwards. Use 1 dozen hard boiled eggs and add at step 9.
Making the meat balls as described in Step 1 can be quite tricky. So here are a couple of tips to help you. To help keep all the balls the same size so that your dish has consistency use the same measure such as a spoon or small ladle to dole out the meat into your hands before you roll into a ball. Also, rubbing a bit of oil onto the palms of your hands before rolling the balls will stop them sticking to your hands and also to help them hold their shape better.