Brunch · Salads/Soup

Mutton Meatball Soup

Indian Mutton Meatball Soup, Sinfully Spicy

Cold & rainy- the weather has been like this for few days. Although wanting to stay in bed all day with a tea mug on my side, this afternoon, I yearned to take a walk outside. After a week of grey, the warmth of sun rays glistening through the rain drops still clinging on the window were calling me. I put on the boots and walked out, shivering, looking for a cozy corner. It was fiercely windy but sitting on a corner bench as to block the gusts, I soaked up the bright sun. As the rays percolated through thick knits of my gloves, I felt a magical sense of rejuvenation and warmth.The clean feeling after the rains always draws me, the blue skies softly feathered with clouds, the biting humid air,wet cobbled pavements, the vivid green of fauna. ..It feels as if everything had been renewed, repainted on nature’s canvas.

Mutton Meatball Soup, Sinfully Spicy

I walked back, constantly admiring the crispness around me. Sun was fading behind the cloud cover, the dullness was getting an upper hand again. Stepping inside, I quietly settled myself in the kitchen, soup was the only thing on my mind. Whenever I have a desperate longing to nestle myself in a cozy blanket slurping on a steaming bowl of broth, this meatball soup is what I resort to. Not only is it comforting but intensely flavorful. I have a particular liking for clear & brothy soups and this recipe is just that. 

Indian Spiced Mutton Meatball Soup, Sinfully Spicy

Dad always insists that this soup tastes better the next day. Amid cooking the meals to be eaten within in the next few hours, I saw mom mixing spices with the mince, pinching the meat, squeezing the balls, murmuring all the while about the non ending kitchen chores. Her kitchen was overly busy during winter evenings, soups were prefixed to regular meals, any one coming back from work or school wouldn’t settle without a bowl.

The soup preparation takes a little extra work, but since you will be making a pot full, it will last you for at least a day or two and yes dad is right, it tastes much best the next day. If you add a handful of rice, which you totally should, this can even make a super supper!

Mutton Meatball Soup

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Mutton Meatball Soup

A warming soup with juicy mutton meatballs and spicy broth.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl, Dutch Oven

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 1 lb (1/2 kig) minced mutton (You can use minced lamb, chicken, pork or beef)
  • 3 Thai green chillies (adjust to tolerance)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 inch fresh ginger shoot,finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 egg

For the Soup

  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp corinader seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tejpatta (indian bay leaf)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes adjust to taste
  • 1/3 cup onion paste (I add roughly chopped onions to blender & make a smooth paste adding little or no water)
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste I use microplane/hand grater to quickly grate 2-3 cloves of garlic & fresh, peeled shoots of ginger)
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika
  • 2 large tomatoes pureed in a blender, yield 1 cup (or use canned tomatoes)
  • 3.5-4 cup hot water
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish – fresh cilantro leaves, fresh lemon juice (optional), chopped onion, chillies etc

Instructions

  • In a bowl, place all the ingredients  for the meatballs. Using your fingers, gently combine everything. Dont squeeze the meat, keep it as fluffy as possible. Spread some oil on your palms and pinch lime sized balls of the mixture and line them on a plate. Cover with a cling film and set nearby till ready to use.
  • Using a mortar & pestle or coffee grinder, coarsely grind cloves, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Set aside.
  • In a wide-mouthed pot (pot should be wide enough so that all the meatballs can be placed without crowding), on medium,heat oil to smoking point. Temper the oil with cinnamon stick & tejpatta. Saute for 5-7 seconds
  • Add the chilli flakes and immediately odd the onion & garlic-ginger paste next, reduce heat to low,fry till the color is light brown and the raw smell is gone,about 5-7 minutes.
  • Continue on the low medium heat and add the ground spices along with red chilli powder, tomato puree, sugar and salt. Mix everything and fry for another 7-8 minutes or till you see oil separating on the sides of the pot.
  • Add hot water next and on medium heat, check the seasoning, it should be sharp salty and bring the broth to a boil.
  • Once the broth is boiling, reduce heat to low and wait for a minute. Carefully, layer the meatballs into the simmering broth one by one. Make sure to have enough water that the meatballs are covered. Dont stir else they will break. Cover the pot and let cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • We like the meatballs firm and cooked through and hence the cooking time.You will need to adjust the time depending on the tupe of mince meat used. To check whether the meatballs have cooked to your liking, after 5-7 minutes of simmering in the broth, using a fork take out one ball and cut into half. You will be able to decide on extra cooking time depending on how pink it is on the inside. 
  • Once done switch off the stove and let sit covered for at least 30 minutes, undisturbed. Whenever ready to eat, reheat on low, discard the tejpatta & cinnamon stick, garnish with cilantro, squirt of fresh lemon juice and serve.

Notes

  1. To make this soup more hearty, you can add 1/3-1/2 cup cooked rice to the broth. 
  2. If using chicken mince, avoid using ground chicken breast, rather use dark meat. 
  3. Avoid using too lean or too fatty mince. I usually for a 85/15 or 90/10 blend. 
Brunch · Indian Curry/Stew

Aloo Keema – Minced Meat With Potatoes

Whenever I cook minced lamb, goat or chicken,we look forward to the leftovers more than ever. Having leftovers of such dishes is utterly comforting for the next couple of days, simply because the ways to eat them are plenty – garnish with lots of fresh herbs and tuck them inside rotis (flatbreads) or tortillas with pickled onions, stuff between buns or simply turn them into quesadillas.

This may well be the kind of dish which shouts home to me.The scent of spices and mince meat cooking together comes close to nothing. It is the kind of food which compels me to spend long hours in the kitchen, till I smell the exact aroma which I remember from my mom’s kitchen.Hearty, satisfying and with delicate flavors – at the end of cooking, it is so rewarding (especially with the leftovers).Anything with minced meat is so welcoming in itself, potatoes just make it better. The central pleasure for me here are those-earthy, creamy & dense – purely alleviating the entire experience.

Keema’ translates to any kind of minced meat in hindi. Aloo is potatoes.Hence the name. You can make its dryish or   soupy curry – slow cooked with all the spices. Tari vala keema is soupy keema curry which my kids love with pan(dinner rolls)

The list of spices is long but these are your everyday ones.It may look like a long method but the actual work isn’t much. Ofcourse, the oily keema is an indulgence reserved for once in a while. I make this recipe quite a lot during winter months.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb minced lamb/beef/chicken (I used 80-20 lamb)
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 7 tbsp mustard oil (substitute with canola/vegetable, reduce the quantity to 1/4 cup if you wish)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 little piece of nutmeg
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 2 ” cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2″ fresh ginger shoot, finely chopped
  • 1cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tsp kashmiri chili powder (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1-2 cups water (depending on how you like the consistency)
  • salt to taste
  • To garnish – chopped cilantro

Coarsely grind together:-

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns (adjust to tolerance)
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds

Method

  • In a cooking pot with lid,on high, heat up the oil till you see ripples on the surface and it smokes slightly.
  • Reduce the heat to medium.Temper the oil with bay leaf ,cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods nutmeg and dried chillies. Saute whole spices for 10-15 seconds. Add the onions next.Cook the onions till they turn light brown.About 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic & ginger next and saute for about 1 minute till you smell the aroma.
  • Next, add the coarsely ground spices to the pot.Toast the spices for another minute.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes next along with turmeric, kashmiri red chilli powder and chilli flakes.Cook for 3-5 minutes or till you see oil separating on sides of the pan.Add the minced meat next, break down with mixing spoon and mix together with spices. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot.Let cook covered for 10-15 minutes till you see that the water of the mince has nicely separated. 
  • Open the lid and turn heat to high and saute with a spoon for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat. The color of the meat will start to deepen and we want to bhuno it (to give it a smoky flavor).Do not worry, everything is going as per plan.
  • Once 90 percent of the water has evaporated, reduce the heat to lowest, wait for 1-2 minutes and add yogurt and salt to the pot. Keep mixing continuously else the yogurt will curdle. The meat will again get watery but keep sautéing  for another 10-12 minutes until you see fat from the yogurt separating.
  • Once most of the water has evaporated again, add 1.5 – 2 cups water along with potatoes and check and adjust the salt. Turn the heat to the medium low cover the pot with lid and let simmer for about 18-20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.

Note : The cooking time will vary if you are using beef or chicken. Also, do not add too much water at the beginning because ground meats leave moisture as they cook.Add water at intervals as per the consistency you want.At the end of about 20 minutes of cooking you will see that oil separating from and change in color of the ground meat. Check that the potatoes are cooked through at this point. 

  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm with flatbreads, rice, pav etc & salad.