2012 will be the year of the meatball for the Doughertys and it started off with a bang. I saw 2 packages of ground lamb at the IGA (not an everyday occurrence up here) and I knew it was time to make a batch of Indian meatballs. Since I had never made a meatball in my life, I had some research in front of me. There are a lot of opinions about the 'perfect' meatball out there—everything from the meat ratio, kind of cheese, techniques for mixing and forming, ricotta or breadcrumbs....the list is endless. I knew I wanted my meatballs to have enough substance to hold together when fried but also have a meltingly tender texture. I forged ahead and cobbled a recipe and technique together from the 400 (give or take 350) websites I visited.
I had eaten koftas (the proper term for Indian meatballs) in restaurants before and knew a curry/tikki masala would be the perfect sauce for my little spherical bites of love. I needed a vegetable and the head of cauliflower in the fridge would be a tasty partner for my meatball masterpiece— curried cauliflower is super easy to make and is one of my favorite sides for an Indian meal. Naan would have been the pièce de résistance but I will have to save that learning curve for another day.
Curried Indian Meatballs
Meatballs 1 pound of ground beef chuck 1 pound of ground pork 1 pound of ground lamb 3/4 cup french bread crumbs 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 6 tbsp tamarind pulp 3 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced 3 tbsp dried oregano 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 1 tbsp fenugreek 3 tsp kosher salt 3 eggs, beaten 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped 2 tbsp vegetable oil
Sauce 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 onion, minced 2 tbsp garlic, chopped 1 jalapeño, finely minced 2 bay leaves 1 tbsp dried oregano 3 1/2 tbsp curry powder salt and pepper, to taste 2 tbsp tomato paste 42 ounces of canned chopped tomatoes in purée 1 cup red wine
Make The Meatballs Combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, tamarind pulp, oregano, fenugreek, red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, eggs, cilantro and salt and mic thoroughly. Don't get too aggressive with the mixture, mix with you hands until just combined— this will ensure you have a pillowly, tender texture. Form the mixture into 2 inch meatballs and set aside. Heat the oil in a large non stick sauté pan over medium high heat. Fry the meatballs in all sides until browned and then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until cooked thorough. Keep the meatballs warm.
Make The Sauce In the sauté pan you fried the meatballs, sauté the onion, garlic and jalapeño until softened. Add the bay leaves, oregano, curry powder, salt and pepper and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and red wine and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in cilantro and add the meatballs to the sauce. Serve with jasmine rice.
Curried Cauliflower & Sweet Potatoes
2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated 1 tbsp cumin seeds 1 tsp turmeric 1 tsp salt 1/2 cup currants 1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used canned tomatoes in purée) 1 cup coconut milk 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks 1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Place the oil in a large sauté pan and heat over medium high heat. Add the onion and ginger and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin seeds, turmeric and salt and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes and currants and cook until tender, about 12 - 15 minutes. Add the cauliflower and stir to combine. Cover the pan and cook for 5 - 8 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.