Beef kofta curry is a wonderful curry made up of minced beef meat balls and a variety of spices in the sauce itself. A definite winter warmer dish, this recipe has a bit of a kick to it when it comes to chilli. So, if you love more intense spice levels, this is beef kofta curry is for you. Dare to try this extraordinary family dish with a side of rice or with a base of potatoes. The spice mix, as well as the juicy tender beef meatballs, will definitely make you hungry in seconds. In fact, these beef koftas are so delicious you can eat them on their own!
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what is beef kofta?
Beef kofta curry is a very common dish in the Middle East as well as in Southern and Central Asian cuisine. ‘Kofta’ originates from the Persian word ‘koftah’ which means pounded meat. Simply put, they are balls of ground meat, which usually consist of beef, pork, lamb or chicken. Generally speaking, these minced meat balls contain a generous amount of local spices and herbs. So, depending on the region, you can create your own version of beef kofta.
In the Middle East, you’ll most likely come across koftas made with lamb or mutton. Greek and Balkan regions tend to use pork or beef, but lamb versions can also be found. Don’t get confused with souvlaki or kebabs though, because koftas are served alongside a spiced gravy and rice. In Indian cuisine, you’ll find all sorts of koftas served in spicy curry sauces, such as madras or vindaloo. Altogether, koftas are extremely versatile, so don’t be shy to experiment with spices that you find in your cupboard. You can put your own spin on this recipe!
In order to fully enjoy a good quality kofta, I tend to source the top quality minced meat available at my local supermarket. Alternatively, my top pick would be to visit the butcher directly and have him mince the meat right there on the spot. Remember, the higher quality meat you use, the more likely you’ll end up with a juicier and better result. Despite my slight inclination towards using the best produce our wonderful country has to offer, there is no problem with purchasing a pack of minced meat to suit your budget.
The best and most common substitute is lamb mince. Actually, I’ve already made a lamb kofta recipe before which was equally delicious and filling. My malai kofta gosht is a rich and creamy Indian inspired curry with subtle spices. Definitely worth a try if you find that this recipe has too much chilli for you. If this is the case, simply omit the chilli from this beef kofta curry recipe. Another tempting recipe where I’ve used lamb meatballs are in combination with spaghetti and a lovely dill sauce. You can find the recipe here.
However, coming back to the substitutes, you can easily substitute with ground pork, mutton, chicken or turkey. It all depends on your preference or whatever is available in the store. You are in control!
If you are a vegetarian, or are en route to becoming one, then ditch the meat. There are plenty of amazing substitutes out there that don’t consist of meat of any kind. My recommendation is for you to pair this curry sauce with my lentil falafel. I am a fan of this recipe as it is versatile and works very well in all types of cuisines. Whether it be Indian, Persian, you name it, but it’s the lentils that do it justice.
Otherwise, you can also try making my sweet potato and mung bean falafel. I know that these are falafels, meant to be eaten as they are. However, I can’t resist the urge to combine these nutritious falafels with this recipe, because they too work very well. These falafels will add a bit of sweetness, and will ultimately bring down the spice levels. Lastly, you can always cut up some tofu, pan fry it and toss it into the sauce.
The best way to enjoy this beef kofta curry is with a side of basmati or jasmine rice. The rice will balance out the heat given by the curry, plus it fills you up even more. Perfect if you’ve got a large family. If you want to jazz up simple rice, then why don’t you try my sweet potato rice, which is a sweeter take on plain boiled rice. The beef kofta curry also pairs well with cashew rice pilaf.
I don’t know if you’ve even eaten those Swedish meatballs in IKEA, but have you noticed what they serve it with? Typically, the Swedish way to eat beef or pork meatballs is with simple boiled potatoes or French fries, with meat gravy all over. It’s quite a delicious combination, so I encourage you to try pairing the beef kofta curry with boiled potatoes.
leftover beef koftas
Have you got left over beef koftas from your beef kofta curry or have you made too many? Here’s an idea. The first thing you can do is store in a container, bung them in a fridge and devour them within three days. I love to snack on these babies whenever I get the chance. However, if you want to reuse your beef koftas, you can easily do so. Here are a number of recipes which you can inspire yourself with.
First, why don’t you make BBQ meatballs? Make use of the nice weather and create a cute barbecue starter dish that you can enjoy in the comfort of your garden. If you’ve got kids at home, you can combine the beef koftas with spaghetti. For a more adult version, add a rich red wine sauce. You can find the recipe here. If you want to stay on the exotic track, then you definitely need to use your spare beef koftas for my beef meatballs with curried banana sauce recipe. Intrigued? I’d be too if I were you!
Beef Kofta Curry
- 30ml (2 tbsp) sunflower oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 15ml (1 tbsp) ground coriander
- 15ml (1 tbsp) ground cumin
- 10ml (2 tsp) ground turmeric
- 10ml (2 tsp) garam masala
- 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) cayenne pepper
- 2.5cm (1in) fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
- 2 red chillies, washed, deseeded and finely chopped
- 700g (1 1/2lb) beef mince
- 45ml (3 tbsp) fresh coriander, washed and chopped 400g (1 can) coconut milk 30ml (2 tbsp) tomato puree
- 250ml (1 cup) beef stock
- 6 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 green cardamom pods, crushed
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until softened and lightly browned. Add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, masala, pepper, ginger and chillies and cook for 5 minutes.
- Scrape half the mixture into a bowl and add the minced beef and fresh coriander. Mix well.
- When cool enough to handle, shape the koftas into walnut-sized balls. Set aside.
- Add the tomato puree, stock and coconut milk to the remaining mixture in the pan.
- Bruise the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom pods and add to the curry.
- Bring to the boil then add the meatballs.
- Simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is well reduced and thickened. Divide between 4 plates and garnish with fresh coriander sprigs. Serve with steamed basmati rice and chopped fresh coriander.
- As tempting as it may be, refrain from adding salt to the curry. The stock and spices make it plenty flavourful.
- If you like your curry on the mild side, adjust the quantity of chilli used.
- No egg is needed to bind the meat.
Serving Size 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 21.1 g
Saturated Fat 5.3 g
Cholesterol 156 mg
Sodium 348 mg
Total Carbohydrates 30 g
Dietary Fiber 10.3 g
Sugars 2.7 g
Protein 58.4 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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