Pakistani Kofta Curry
Beef Kofta Curry, also known as kofte, is a quintessentially Pakistani curry consisting of tender meatballs that have been gently simmerd in a rich-spiced gravy .
This 200 year old recipe was given to me by my friend's grandmother , who had it passed down to her from her grandmother !
If only I had a dollar for every time I was asked "What is the difference between Indian & Pakistani food?"
My answer is always to understand firstly , that cuisines are not entirely national; geographic borders do not determine specific dishes or methods of cooking a recipe . There is quite a lot of similarities between both countries' foods.
That being said, there are also certain distinct differences to note .
You will notice that Pakistani curries, such as this one - use beef as their choice of protein , along with chicken and lamb but never pork.
Indian dishes , use meat from game , sheep and goat.
½ large red onion cut into chunks
½ green chili, seeds removed , chop into chunks
¼ cup packed coriander leaves
1 tbsp mint leaves
2 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp ginger paste
1 x 500g lean ground beef
1 tbsp chickpea flour (besan)
1 egg mixed
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp each cumin powder, coriander powder, black pepper powder, red chili powder, and garam masala
1 tsp salt
Gravy Ingredients :
1 red onion extra finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped + remove pulp
½ green chili chopped fine
2tbs olive oil
3 whole cloves , 1 inch cinnamon stick1 bay leaf 3 cardamom pods
2 tsp ginger and garlic paste , each.
2 tbsp plain yogurt (NOT Greek)
1 tsp each coriander powder, red chili powder
2 cups water
½ tsp garam masala powder
1-2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped rough
Make meatballs :
1. Grind onion, green chili, coriander leaves, and mint leaves in a food processor , blend to a smooth consistency no bits of onion or they’ll make the meatballs break up .
2. In a large bowl , add this blended paste to the rest of the ingredients listed under meatballs and mix with your hand ensuring its completely blended (this takes a few min).
3. Use a food glove it makes it not stick to your hands and a nice circular shape.
4. Put them on a plate and pop in the freezer whilst you get the sauce cooking ready.
Make sauce :
1.Put 2 tbs olive oil in a wide pan (best is a casserole pan shape to not crowd them) . Once the oil is hot enough , tilt the pan and collect the oil so it covers all the whole spices you will add in . Fry these only for around 15 seconds
2.Add fine chopped onion , and fry couple mins. Add the garlic and ginger paste, cook another couple minutes until onions are light brown .
3.Add the powder spices , and the fine chopped tomatoes along with a couple pinches of salt , fry for a minute and then add 1 cup water mix and cover pan to soften to thickish jammy consistency. (medium flame)
4. Add the yogurt and gently mix until its all combined , it will look slightly grainy at first (low flame) .
5.Arrange the meatballs in a circle , in the pan and put the lid on , cook covered 10 minutes on medium heat . Swirl the pan with the cover on , and cook for another couple minutes.
6.Uncover and turn the meatballs on the opposite side and cover and cook another 10 minutes .
7.Open the lid , add a splash of whole milk (1/4 cup max) , along with chopped coriander (3 tbs) and swirl the pan don’t mix it. Add 1 squeeze of lemon at the end .
8.Check salt and serve with rice
I prefer using lean beef mince instead of regular / fatty mince . This provides a cleaner flavour.
For those of you who wash your mince , please ensure you squeeze the excess water out and allow the mince to dry out a bit before using.
After rolling your meatballs, you can cover them with cling film and refrigerate overnight or even freeze them & complete the curry later.
I’ve used beef, but you can easily substitute with ground chicken or lamb. If your meatballs are not holding together tightly, add breadcrumbs to the mixture.
Traditionally, kofta curries are garnished with quartered boiled eggs. I tend to hard boil the eggs in another pan and add them right at the end so you can taste the contrasting flavours .
If you are reheating this dish the next day , please add a couple of tablespoons of water before reheating on the stove or microwave as the gravy does thicken after cooling.