Kofta – Indian Meatballs

Kofta, Indian Meatballs

Kofta, Indian Meatballs

The kofta, a spiced meatball, like so many dishes we associate with either the Middle-East or the Indian sub-continent, seems to have been invented in Persia, as the “kufta“, meaning rissole or ball.

It’s also a distant cousin of the legendary Swedish meatball, which came to Scandinavia via the Swedish King Charles XII, who was introduced to them while in exile in Istanbul during the early part of the 18th century.

Usually, as is the case with this recipe, they are made of ground meat, but can also be made out of fish, or poultry.

Vegetable-based versions also exist – many years ago I used to make a killer vegetarian kofta based on lentils.

Some recipes call for kofta that are fried or baked.  Others state that the balls should be simmered in a sauce only. Here I go for a hybrid technique. I initially fry the meatballs to give them a nice colour and to fix their shape, and then transfer them to a spicy coconut based sauce to complete the cooking.

It does take a while to make the kofta and the sauce, but it’s well worth the effort. This is a perfect dish for a long, lazy Friday or Saturday evening, and all being well you might just be left with enough sauce to make a tasty lunch the day after…

Kofta, Indian Meatballs

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients – kofta

  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp mango powder
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp almond flour
  • ½ a beaten egg
  • coconut flour
  • coconut oil

Ingredients – sauce

  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • coconut oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method – Make the sauce

  • Place the garlic powder, ginger powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, cinnamon powder, and ground cloves into a small bowl. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix well. Add just enough water to make a thin paste. Set aside.
  • Heat about 2 tbsp of coconut oil over medium heat in a non-stick wok. Add the spring onions, and stir fry for 3 minutes.
  • Add the water and spice paste. Stir well, and continue to stir fry for 3 minutes or so.
  • Add the coconut milk. Stir well, return to a low simmer, and cook for 10 minutes or so. Remove from the heat, and set aside, while you prepare the kofta.

Method – Make the Kofta

  • Place the minced beef in a large mixing bowl. Add the coriander powder, mango powder, hot chilli powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and almond flour. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Place in the fridge for an hour or so to allow the flavours time to develop.
  • Remove the meat from the fridge, and allow to return to room temperature. Add the ½ a beaten egg, and mix in thoroughly by hand.
  • Cover the bottom of a small plate with coconut flour, breaking up any lumps with a fork. To make the kofta, take a golf ball sized piece of the meat mixture. Squeeze it gently to remove any air pockets, and then work it into a smooth ball shape. Roll it in the coconut flour to coat it, and then gently shake it to remove any excess flour. Repeat for the rest of the meat mixture – you should end up with about 12 or 13 kofta.
  • Heat about 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Fry the kofta in batches, turning frequently, until they take on a nice, golden colour on the outside, about 5 minutes or so. Set aside.

Method – finishing off

  • Place the kofta in the sauce. Return to a low simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring gently from time to time, taking care not to damage the kofta. Keep an eye on the sauce – you’re aiming for a sauce that is not too thin nor too thick. Top up the water levels with a splash of hot water, if needs be.
  • Serve, with Paleo naan bread, or cauliflower rice.


Feel free to experiment with other types of meat or poultry. Fish can also be used, but you’d probably be wise to cook fish kofta solely in the sauce – they might not be robust enough to withstand an initial frying.

Kofta, Indian meatballs

Kofta, Indian meatballs


One thought on “Kofta – Indian Meatballs

  1. Pingback: Luscious Leftovers – Prawn and Spinach Curry | PALEOVIRTUS

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