Lamb Kofta Recipe

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Like in most ancient cultures, eating meat was rare, celebratory, and considered a delicacy. When I was growing up in India, we ate meat two-to-three times a month. Eating it so infrequently made us really appreciate the vegetables and revere the meats, never taking them for granted. In America, after seeing the havoc factory farming has caused to our environment, it is imperative that we alter our eating habits to reduce meat consumption. Using meat as a flavor as in this meatball dish is a way to eat more responsibly and, in my opinion, these meatballs are so delicious that you will not even realize that half the meat has been replaced with mushrooms.

Makes 6 servings | 90 minutes

For the meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1/2 cups minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon unpeeled grated ginger
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon rice flour

For the curry

  • 4 tablespoons oil or ghee
  • 2 cups minced onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 cups diced ripe tomatoes or 1½ cups of canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 3-4 cups trimmed green beans, lightly salted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine lamb with minced onion, garlic, ginger, egg, yogurt, chili powder, cardamom, coriander, cilantro, salt, and rice flour. Using your hands or a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, form the mixture into approximately 12-13 large meatballs.

2. Lay the meatballs on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and set aside.

3. In a large Dutch oven or wide-bottom stockpot, heat up the ghee (or oil) and cook 2 cups of minced onion on low heat until a caramelized brown color. Usually this takes 15-20 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, turmeric, fenugreek leaves, chili powder, black pepper, cumin, and salt and continue cooking on low heat until the tomatoes have disintegrated into the onions. Keeping the heat low, add yogurt a little bit at a time into the onion-tomato masala until it has been incorporated. Cover the stockpot and let the masala cook for another 10-12 minutes.

4. Gently stir the meatballs into the masala. Lay the beans to one side and sprinkle the cinnamon and cloves over the top. Cover the stockpot and cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes. The meatballs will finish cooking during this time. Turn the heat off and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Notes & Variations

  • Replace lamb with beef, turkey, or chicken. However, make sure that the meat has about 20% fat — that will make for a more tender meatball.
  • Replace mushrooms with cooked lentils or beans — make sure they are cooked to a soft consistency but all liquid has been removed.
  • Replace the rice flour with plain all-purpose flour or with bread crumbs.
  • Serve this curry with simple rice pilaf or warm toasted buns.

Tags: Healthy Recipes, Sunday Dinner Ideas, International Cuisine

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Written By

Anita Jaisinghani

Anita Jaisinghani is a renowned chef. For more information on Anita, visit her online here. See Full Bio

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