Chicken Meatballs/Kofta Curry

Servings : Serves 4-5

A delicious and aromatic tomato-based chicken meatballs curry. This finger-licking curry goes beautifully served over rice or pasta, or with naans/rotis/parathas/chapatis.

Ingredients for the Chicken Meatballs/Kofta

  • 500 gm boneless chicken cubes (mix breast and thigh)
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 green or red chillies, chopped (omit or reduce for less heat)
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika powder (optional for some added colour)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 slice of bread, ground to breadcrumbs
  • some oil for shallow frying the meatballs

Ingredients for the Tomato Sauce/Gravy

  • 4 medium onions, grated or finely chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, blended or grated
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste/puree
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp fresh fenugreek leaves (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1-2 green chillies, slit or chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar (to cut the acidity from the tomatoes)
  • coriander leaves for garnishing
  • salt to taste
  • water as needed


Clean and completely dry off the chicken pieces. The reason we mix thigh and breast pieces is because you need the slight fat content that is in the thigh meat to give moist/juicier results for the meatballs. So make sure not to trim off all the fat from the chicken when cleaning. If your chicken pieces do not have any bits of fat, add 1 tsp. of butter to compensate for it.
Put the chopped onion in a processor and grind to a rough consistency. Remove and squeeze out all the excess water. Then put the onion back in the processor, add the chillies, coriander, spices, salt, ginger, garlic and lemon juice. Pulse it to combine, then add the chicken cubes. Grind the mixture until combined and smooth, but take care not to over process as that will end up making the chicken too soft to handle.
Turn the mixture out into a bowl, and add the egg gradually while mixing. You may not need the full egg, once the mixture is slightly sticky, stop adding egg. If the mixture ends up being too soft, add the breadcrumbs and combine well.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate the mixture for 2 hours. Refrigerating helps to firm up the mixture so that it is easier to handle.
When ready to start, shape the meatballs and place them on a tray. Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan and shallow fry the meatballs in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan and turn them over midway to colour all the sides. Remove them onto a plate and set aside. Repeat with the rest until all the meatballs are done.
Now you can start on the tomato gravy. Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add the fenugreek leaves followed by the onions. Fry on medium heat until golden. Next add the bay leaf, chillies, ginger and garlic pastes. Stir them in for a few seconds. Add the tomato paste and all the powdered spices except for the garam masala. Stir the tomato paste for a few seconds and then add the blended/grated tomatoes plus salt. Add the sugar to cut down the acidity from the tomatoes. Allow the gravy to simmer on low heat giving it an occasional stir for about 15-20 minutes. Add splashes of water whenever the gravy thickens up too much and adjust salt as needed.
Once the gravy is cooked add in the meatballs and stir them in gently. Cover and simmer gently over low heat for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the garam masala and chopped coriander. Serve with accompaniments of your choice.
Enjoy! 🙂

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