2 tbsps coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tsps garam masala
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
2 tsps turmeric powder
135ml vegetable oil
600g onions, finely chopped
25g garlic, crushed
700g minced beef
1 tbsp beaten egg
8 green cardamom pods
7.5cm cinnamon stick, broken into smaller pieces
200g chopped tomatoes, fresh or from a can
1 tbsp tomato purée
24 curry leaves
5 green cayenne chillies, slit open lengthways
This is the Indian version of Italian meatballs in tomato sauce to be served with spaghetti. In fact, I sometimes serve this with pasta too. Serves six.
1Heat a dry, heavy-based pan over a high heat. Add the coriander and cumin seeds and shake them around for a few seconds until they darken slightly and start to smell aromatic. Tip them into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder, then mix with the garam masala, chilli powder and turmeric.
2Heat six tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and fry gently for 10--12 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Add the ground spices and one teaspoon of salt and cook gently for another three to four minutes. Scrape half the mixture into a mixing bowl and leave to cool.
3Add the minced beef, beaten egg and one teaspoon of salt to the spiced onion mixture in the bowl and mix together well. Shape into approximately 28 golfball-sized pieces and set aside.
4Add the green cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon stick to the spiced onion mixture left in the pan, together with the tomatoes, tomato purée, 300ml of water, the curry leaves, chillies and another teaspoon of salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan.
5Add the meatballs, in two batches if necessary, and fry for two to three minutes, turning them now and then until lightly browned all over. Drop them into the sauce, part-cover and simmer for 20 minutes, carefully stirring every now and then, until the meatballs have set and the sauce has thickened nicely, then serve.