Meatballs/Kababs in Gravy/Koftas

Servings : Serves 3-4

This Meatballs recipe is a 'steamed' version, where the kababs are cooked in the gravy itself instead of having to fry them separately. This makes them super moist and soft, and waaay healthier than frying them then dipping them into the curry.

They go well with spaghetti, rice, rotis, garlic bread, etc etc. The gravy can be thickened further or left as is, depending on what dish you plan to serve them with.

Ingredients for Meatballs

  • 500 g beef mince (lean/no fat) - mix beef mince with ingredients below, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • 1 tbsp. breadcrumbs
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 tbsp. chopped coriander
  • 1-2 chopped green chillies
  • a pinch of chilli powder or some red chilli flakes
  • a dash of lemon juice (too much lemon will make the meatballs hard)
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tsp. grinded cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tbsp. yoghurt

Ingredients for Masala/Gravy

  • 8 fresh tomatoes (blended with skin)
  • 3 grated onions
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste/puree
  • 1 tsp. sugar (to cut down the acidity of tomatoes)
  • bunch of coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. each ginger & garlic pastes
  • 4 tbsp. oil
  • salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder or any spices of choice


Heat the oil, sauté the onions until nice and golden, add the ginger+garlic paste, followed by the tomato paste. Stir and add the spices, then add the blended tomatoes (I blend them with 2-3 green chillies and some coriander sticks) and the sugar+salt. Cook the sauce until it thickens, adding a bit of water when it gets too thick. Once ready, taste and adjust salt.

Start shaping the meatballs. Make sure you DONT OVER-SHAPE THEM. Do not keep pressing them to make the perfect ball, this normally hardens them. Keep your hand light and shape gently, placing on a plate…and then start plopping them one by one into the simmering sauce. Do not stir immediately, give them 2 minutes then using a small spoon turn each meatball over one by one and cooking them for another 3 minutes so the other side may get done.

I normally do this in batches, removing the cooked meatballs from the sauce onto a plate when I'm about to do the next batch so the first batch doesn't get over-cooked…keep going until all are done.

Then slowly plop all the cooked meatballs back into the sauce and give them a good gentle simmer on low heat for about 10-15mins. Try to mix them by swirling the cooking vessel instead of stirring with a spoon to avoid breaking the meatballs. Adjust salt/chilli. Garnish with chopped coriander and you can squeeze a bit of extra lemon if you like and a light sprinkle of garam masala. Turn off the heat and serve hot!

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