Indian Curry/Stew

Keeme Ke Kofte-Mutton Meatballs Curry

Given a choice,I prefer brothy, spice laden curries over the thick,sweetish,creamy ones.I like to sip the spiced broth which hits the back of tongue.Spices which do a happy dance in your mouth and leave behind a “gimme me more” feeling.There is something really addictive about spice blends unadulterated by sugar & cream.You start eating, and you don’t want to stop.There’s a rush of signals to the brain wanting you to have more of it.I have experienced this kind of feeling especially with fiery curries as the one I m sharing in this post.With P,it’s the opposite.For him, the creamier the better.He prefers spices in a creamy base,preparations which give him a rich, full feeling after the meal.Not that he doesn’t like, in fact I have hardly seen him not enjoying any kind of indian food but he is little partial towards the creamy ones.At home,we have struck a deal now.We alternate “his” & “my” kind of curry preparations.Its a win win situation for both of us.

Anyhow,the very sound of this dish reminds me of the bylanes of Jama Masjid area in Old Delhi where they the little eateries run by muslims chefs by the road side serve it with tandoori roti, warm ghee cumin rice & pickled onions.The koftas keep on simmering in a big metal handi[pot] with aromatic steam trying to escape from the sides of the lid.Me and P used to throng that place quite often before marriage.That area in Old Delhi is house to the world-famous Moti Mahal & Karim restaurants.But the sheer joy of eating at those streets is unmatched in front of these decadent places.The hustle-bustle of people, the narrow lanes, the rattling of vendors, everyone seems to be in a hurry during evening hours.But you wanna stop to relish the foods there. The aroma of spices mixed with the incense burning in those eateries was enticing.Sitting on an old, depleted wooden bench, dunking roti into the warm, spicy gravy served in a plain china dish,eating with hands and licking the fingers thereafter.No cutlery,no napkins..simple yet blissful moments of life.Ah,I miss those times.

This is my mom’s recipe who recreates it closest to the Old Delhi taste.One of my dad’s favorite things to eat,this was our supper almost every Saturday.There are two things which give this curry the “fiery ” element.First of all is the use of mustard oil.Now, if you have been reading my blog, you would have noticed that I innately use it in my cooking.Mustard oil, of course produced from mustard seeds has a pungent taste & a sinus irritating aroma similar to wasabi or horseradish.Its an acquired taste and can be very addictive.I cant imagine my kitchen without it.The second thing is the green chilies which make their way into the balls and the red chilli powder in the gravy.Yes, its the double amount of chillies.Though you can drop the ones in the mince if you want.

Kofta” is a term used for balls made out of minced vegetables or meat.If you like spicy, curries, this is just the one for you.It will take you to a virtual trip to those bylanes of Old Delhi.Succulent balls of mutton in a onion-sour yogurt base curry.I normally do not like to add tomatoes to red meat preparations,you can if you want.Try the recipe with minced lamb,beef or chicken and keep on adjusting the cooking time accordingly.Another thing I highly recommend is making this curry at least 4-5 hours in advance of your eating time, the longer the balls sit in the gravy, the tastier they get.Make sure to prepare extra because left overs taste AMAZING!Below goes the recipe, see the notes at the end:-

Mutton Kofta Curry [Serves 3-4]

Printable Recipe

For the Koftas or Meatballs: [Makes about 25 balls of the size shown]

  • 1 lb ground mutton/lamb/beef/chicken [I use lean mince]
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, grated
  • 1″ fresh ginger shoot, grated
  • 2 Thai green chillies, chopped finely
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp clove powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold plain yogurt [slightly sour] to dip the koftas
For the Curry Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup thick onion paste
  • 1 fat garlic clove, grated
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder [If available else substitute with cayenne]
  • 1.5 tsp red chilli powder /cayenne [Adjust to taste]
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil [substitute with any oil of choice]
Whole Spices:-
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • 4 pods green cardamom, break open
Required – A wide, heavy bottomed pot with lid big enough to layer the koftas in a single layer without having to stack on top of each other.

Making the Koftas/Meatballs:-
  • Mix all the ingredients listed for the koftas except yogurt.Grease your palms & make medium balls of the mixture.I prefer to keep the size little.Do not make very big balls because the koftas swell while cooking.
  • Line the Koftas on a plate and refrigerate for at least 2 hours[Very imp step, do not miss]
  • Add 3-4 tbsp of water to the yogurt and thin it out if required.Keep refrigerated until you begin cooking.
Making the curry sauce:
  • In the pot, heat the oil on high heat.Once the oil is smoking, reduce the heat to medium.It is important to cook mustard oil to smoky point at the start of cooking to do away with the raw smell.
  • Add the onion paste along with the whole spices and cook on medium heat till golden brown in color.
  • Next,add the grated garlic and saute for about 2 minutes.Next add coriander, turmeric , chilli powders, salt and cook the spice mix on medium heat till you see oil separating at the sides of the pot.About 8-10 minutes.
  • At this point add 1.5 -2 cups of water to the pot, stir well cover with lid and let the gravy come to a boil on high heat.
  • Once the gravy is boiling,lower the heat to the minimum possible on your stove.Take out the refrigerated koftas, dip them in cold ,thinned out yogurt one at a time and start tipping to the pot.Do not stack the koftas on top of each other, and do not overcrowd the pot because they will swell up as they cook.
  • After you have added all the koftas to the pot, add the yogurt [if remaining] to the pot too.Check the seasoning of the gravy at this point and adjust salt.
  • Cover the pot and let simmer.It takes about 20-25 minutes for the koftas to be fully cooked.Do not increase the flame/heat else the yogurt will cuddle.While they are simmering, you will need to come in between and gently stir the contents for even cooking,either stir using the handle of the pot or cover with lid,lift the pot wearing gloves in your hands and move the pot.Preferably, do not use spatula or spoon.
  • To check the doneness of the koftas- Take one out and cut it into half, if you see pink inside,more cooking is required.I usually cook the koftas totally, if you like rare or medium rare, adjust the cooking time.
  • At the end of cooking, you will see that the oil is floating on top of the pot & the gravy has thickened slightly.Adjust the consistency of the gravy at this point.If you are adding water, you will have to simmer the diluted gravy for extra 5 minutes.
  • Let the koftas rest for about 2-3 hours in the gravy for them to absorb flavors.I make them in the early to be eaten for dinner.The more they rest the more the flavor.
  • Serve warm with roti or cumin rice.


  1. Test a single kofta first in the boiling gravy to make sure that it’s not spreading or crumbling away..In that case u need to add a binder [egg or cornstarch or flour] to the mix.I didnt need any.
  2. Take care not to overcook the koftas, they become hard.

Sending to Hearth n Soul #48

65 thoughts on “Keeme Ke Kofte-Mutton Meatballs Curry

  1. Wow- that is a double does of fieriness hey! I am like you and prefer spicy tomato based curries to the creamier versions! Tanvi, the pictures came out great too and I like the shot with the curry resting on rice.

  2. This looks so so yummy ,i wanna reach out for that plate and wipe it clean and stretch it out again to u , and say , please please , i really want some more 🙂
    U make me want to bookmark every recipe on ur v wonderful blog Tanvi!
    Happy sunday!

  3. Tanvi, this looks heavenly! I’m going to have to make this for my husband whose a total meatball addict. By the way, your panna cotta from the previous post is stunning. Love your blog!

  4. Hi Tanvi, What a gorgeous-delicious looking dish! I’m loving these cute little meatballs 🙂 Saving your lovely recipe on my list to try, this sounds absolutely wonderful!

    Have a lovely day,


  5. These meatballs are absolutely gorgeous, Tanvi! And might I add, they look extremely delicious. Great photos as well, of course. 🙂

  6. Hi Tanvi! Can I say something? Your pictures are so beautiful…. (and I won’t say anything further but you know why I’m saying that right? 😉 ) I like soupy dish too, but my kids are too lazy to eat or they tend to spill the soup so I barely make soup dish. Looking so delicious! I like the little cute meatballs on the plate. 🙂

  7. I am taken by the great pictures and the wonderful food. Love the meatballs. I know hubby will want me to make them.

    Have a great week ahead.

  8. Tanvi! This reminded me of the same dish my mother makes. Loved your recipe… definitely coming back to this the next time I want to make this 🙂

  9. The meatballs are so CUTE! I make something similar but honestly yours looks so much better than mine 🙂 I should compare your recipe with mine next time I making it.

    P.S. thats a lovely background your using. What is it?

  10. That dish looks fabulous and lipsmackingly good! This is the kind of food I crave and enjoy eating. Wonderful!



  11. Wow, these meatballs look delicious, I like the idea of brothy sauce instead of the thick ones…beautifully done. Great pictures as always. Have a wonderful week ahead Tanvi 🙂

  12. I am just in love with any type of curry! Indian cuisine always leaves my taste buds happily tingly. Thanks for sharing this scrumptious curry recipe. Fantastic photos too 🙂

  13. Just beautiful, this is a favorite curry of mine. I use my mother in law’s recipe for meetball curry, but I’ve only made it twice because it takes hours and hours of work. Maybe i should try this one instead.
    *kisses* HH

  14. I am always up for trying a new kofte (as we say in Turkish) recipe! So nice to bring the memories back with each dish. I do miss the hustle and bustle of the streets of Istanbul as well. The life always seems in hurry until you sit down to eat or drink something!

  15. Tanvi.. girl I am in love with your meatballs. I am dead serious too. These look amazing and I love how you have the lamb and chicken minced in. I have to try these out with some brown rice and the broth. Girl.. you have outdone yourself.

  16. I love spicy unadulterated curries too. They don’t make you feel lethargic unlike their equally delicious creamy counterparts. Nick makes this lamb kofta curry a lot too.

    I love the colours in your curry Tanvi! Really fresh!

  17. I’ll be honest, I like curry just about any way I can get it! Creamy, spicy, both…swoon.

    This looks SO GOOD. that broth that it’s in looks SO flavorful!

  18. This is going straight in my wish list. I had told you how I failed last time I tried making meatballs on my own. I will follow your recipe and have to make this sometime soon. Looks super delicious 🙂

  19. Your photos are to die for as are the recipes. Although curry is very popular here I’ve never had curried meatballs. Hmmm will have to remedy that situation

  20. Hi Tanvi baby! I just wanted to let you know that Trend micro, which is a big anti-virus program has been blocking your site because it has the word sin in the title! LOL I submitted a report tag and asked them to review your site directly so hopefully they will do that. You might want to contact them.

    As a Greek girl lamb in meatballs is very common, but you do not see it much in US cooking. I love the special flavor and texture that tender lamb imparts to a meatball or a meatloaf and I also love the idea of pairing them with curry flavors. In fact when I make my Greek meatballs I always couple them with a curry dipping sauce! Thanks so much for sharing this delicious recipe with us on the hearth and soul hop! Big hugs! Alex

  21. My kids are meatball addicts and I adore curries, so I may be willing to make this for them with a veggie version for me 🙂 Love all of these glorious flavors!

  22. Tanvi my sis is going to make this recipe today, she wanted to know is there a particular reason using youghurt before you boil them. She wanted to slightly fry the balls before .

    1. Finla,

      Dipping in yogurt prior to boiling prevents the balls from breaking as well as enhances flavor in the gravy. I am not too sure about frying coz I have never done that, maybe in that case a binder needs to be added.


      1. Tanvi, my sister is busy making the dish, I am sitting here and watching her making while skyping to her 🙂 ( she will be having that for tonight’ dinner with her family)
        She said she lightly fried ( sealed ) the meat and then rolled them in youghurt.
        I am sure gonna make this next week too.
        And thankyou so much for the info, I will pass the info to her.

      2. Wow..thats so cool..skyping & cooking together! Do let me know how your family liked it & thanks to you & your sister for trying the recipe 🙂

  23. Hello Tanvi. I’m sitting down reading your other comments on this. It doesnt look like many people have tasted the recepie. I’ve just finished cooking your meatball curry which, I must say was a joy to make so simple not time consuming yet looks pretty impressive. They are absorbing inthe gravy and will be eaten by me and the extended family who, are from Bombay and are food fanatics..
    I will keep you posted and let you know how it went…..

    Thank you.

  24. I made this yesterday using goat. It was delicious and well worth the time to make it (not a lot of work, just time). I think because goat meat is so lean, the koftas became dry before the 20 minute mark, but they were still very good and the flavors of the curry were perfect. I did not have the mustard oil so I used a “mild curry oil” and then added 1tsp whole mustard seed with the whole spices. I also had to add the liquid long before the 8-10 minutes because my garlic was beginning to seriously brown. I served it over basmati and it looked identical to your lovely photos. Thank you for this recipe, I will be making again and again. 🙂

    1. Thanks for trying out Caroline.And for the feedback too. Glad that you enjoyed the recipe after all those adjustments 🙂

  25. This is a wonderful recipe, thanks for it.

    For some of the commentors – I served these to some white people, and they simply loved it! Be sure to try it out when you’re trying to impress them!! They will love you too.

  26. This was super awesome Tanvi!!! I just added a little maida and garam masala in the meatballs. turned out to be tooo good. Thanks!

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