26 whole blanched almonds
1 tsp saffron threads
1 tbsp boiling water
2 pounds ground lamb (you can use a mix of lamb, beef or pork)
1/3 cup of chick pea flour
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp garam marsala
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp cold water
vegetable oil for deep frying
Preparing the meatballs
Place the almonds in a bowl of water, add enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch and soak for at least 4 hours
Drop the saffron into a small bowl, pour in 1 tbsp of boiling water and soak for 10 minutes. Meanwhile in a deep bowl combine ground meat, egg, 1/4 cup of flour, onions, cilantro, ginger, garam masala, cayenne pepper and salt.
Knead the mixture vigorously with your hands. Pour the saffron and its soaking liquid over the meat and stir together thoroughly.
Shape the Koftas, or meatballs, in the following fashion: Divide the mixture into 26 portions and pat each one in a slightly flattened round. Drain the almonds and place one in the center of each of the flattened patties. Shape the beef around the nut into a ball, enclosing the almond completely.
Make a thick, smooth batter with 4 tbsp of the flour and 3 tbsp of cold water. Mix together well. With your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the batter evenly on all sides of the meatballs. Arrange the Kofti/meatballs side by side on a sheet of wax paper.
Pour two cups of vegetable oil (oil should be about 2-3 inches deep)
into a large frying pan or wok. I used two pans to keep things moving
and used 2 cups of oil in each. Heat the oil until it is very hot,
lower heat to medium high. Place meatballs in batches of 7 or 8,
deep-fry the koftas in the oil, turning them about with a slotted spoon
for 3-4 minutes, or until they are richly brown on all sides. As they
brown transfer them to paper towels to drain.
Next: Preparing the Curry Sauce
1/4 cup of ghee* (Indian butter oil) or clarified butter – you can make this or buy it.
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tsp turmeric
3/4 cup cold water
1 cup finely chopped fresh tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or you can use heavy cream if you prefer)
1 tsp each of salt and pepper
1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro
To prepare the curry sauce, in a heavy skillet, heat the ghee or clarified butter over moderate heat until a drop of water flicked into it sputters instantly. Add the onions and garlic, and stirring constantly, fry for 7 or 8 minutes until golden brown.
Add the turmeric and 1/4 cup cold water and stir for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cumin and continue stirring for 5 minutes, then add the yogurt (or cream), salt and remaining 1/2 cup of cold water. Bring to boil over high heat and drop the meatballs/kofti into the simmering sauce. Sprinkle the top with the coriander (save a bit to be used as a garnish), cover tightly, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the koftas are tender and have absorbed the flavors of the sauce.
Serve the Koftas in a serving dish with the sauce poured over them. Garnish with cilantro.
Note: Ghee is simply clarified butter. It is made by simmering unsalted butter in a large pot until all water has boiled off and protein has settled to the bottom. The
cooked and clarified butter is then spooned off to avoid disturbing the milk
solids on the bottom of the pan. Unlike butter, ghee can be stored for extended periods without refrigeration provided it
is kept in an airtight container to
prevent oxidation and remains
moisture-free. You can find a step-by-step recipe for Ghee at this food blog: Kitchenmate or you can buy it at an Indian grocery or gourmet food shop. I suppose you can cheat and use regular unsalted butter if you had to. .