CURRIED MEATBALLS (Indian, sort of, for eight)

 Meatballs, Indian curried meatballs 1a  

This recipe is the creation of a British chef, working in New York City, who missed the Indian food she enjoyed in London.  If you want the dish to be more authentic, substitute lamb for the beef.

 For the meatballs:

6 scallions, cut into 6 inch pieces

2 jalapenos, seeds removed if desired

6 garlic cloves

one 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 pounds ground beef (20% fat)

1 large egg, beaten to blend

3 tablespoons plain yogurt

2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the curry sauce:

¼ cup olive oil

4 medium onions, chopped

10 garlic cloves, crushed

one 1-1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped

3 dried chiles de arbol

4 teaspoons curry powder

4 teaspoons ground cumin

4 teaspoons ground turmeric

3 tablespoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

one 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon kosher salt, more if needed

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

cilantro leaves with tender stems for serving

  1. Make the meatballs:  Preheat the oven to 400*.  Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil.  Puree scallions, jalapenos, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, garam masala, coriander, cumin and cayenne in a blender until smooth.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add beef, egg, yogurt and salt.  Mix with your hands until mixture is homogenous and starts to become very sticky, like sausage meat, about 1 minute.
  1. Using a 2 ounce ice cream scoop to portion if you like, roll beef mixture into golf ball sized portions and place on a baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart (you should have about 24). Drizzle meatballs with more oil and bake until browned on top and cooked through, 20 to 25   minutes.
  1. Make the curry sauce: Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium.  Add onions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent and starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in chiles, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander and peppercorns.  Cook, stirring often, until mixture is very fragrant and spices begin to stick to the pot, about 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot, and bring to a boil.  Add the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 cups water.  Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded, 25 to 30 minutes.
  1. Let the curry sauce cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and blend until very smooth. Wipe out any bits remaining in pot and return curry sauce to pot.   Stir in lemon juice and cayenne, taste, and season with more salt if needed.
  1. Gently nestle cooked meatballs into sauce, bring to a simmer, and cook until meatballs are heated all the way through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve topped with cilantro.

NOTE:  Meatballs and sauce can be made 24 hours ahead.  Let cool, transfer to an airtight container and chill.  Gently reheat meatballs in sauce, covered, thinning with water if the sauce is too thick.


from Rebecca Collerton, Mr. Curry sandwich shop, New York City, printed in Bon Appetit Magazine, January, 2016

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