Northern Indian Lamb Meatballs
Subtle and Sophisticated: Simmered in a silky tomato-based sauce, these delicate lamb meatballs have sweet prune centers. Indian flatbread and pickled carrots are, respectively, mild and mouthpuckering foils for the curry.
- 2 small garlic cloves
- 1 piece (1 inch) peeled fresh ginger, sliced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 can (8 ounces) plain tomato sauce
- 1 dried bay leaf
- Coarse salt
- 12 ounces ground lamb
- 1 cup fine fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 large egg
- 6 prunes, quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- Pickled vegetables, for serving
- Indian flatbread, for serving
Process garlic, ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons water in a food processor until a chunky paste forms; set aside.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion; cook, stirring, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Set aside one quarter of onion in a large bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon garlic paste, 1/2 cup water, the turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, and 2 tablespoons coriander to onion in skillet. Cook 3 minutes, stirring. Add tomato sauce, 1 1/2 cups water, and the bay leaf. Season with salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer.
Mix reserved onion, lamb, breadcrumbs, cilantro, egg, 1 teaspoon each garlic paste and salt, and remaining teaspoon coriander and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Divide into 24 pieces; roll into balls. Stuff each meatball with a prune quarter; roll to enclose.
Add meatballs to simmering sauce (add water if meatballs are not covered by sauce). Cook until sauce has thickened, about 40 minutes. Stir in garam masala.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, January 2005