Kofta (Meatball) Masala

Course : Curry
Serves: 4
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2 slices white bread
7 ounces milk
450 gram lean minced lamb -- (1 lb)
2 cloves garlic -- peeled and coarsely chopped
55 milliliters water -- (2 fl oz)
1 medium fresh green chilli -- coarsely chopped or de-seeded and chopped for milder flavour
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves -- chopped, or 1 tbsp dried or bottled mint
1 tablespoon salt or to taste
5 tablespoons cooking oil
2 medium onions -- (225 g / 8 oz) finely chopped
2 teaspoons ginger paste
2 teaspoons garlic paste
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder -- up to 1/2, up to
1 small can tomatoes
150 milliliter warm water -- (5 fl oz)
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 whole black cardamoms -- split open the top of each pod
4 whole cloves
1 piece cinnamon stick -- broken up
2 pieces bay leaves -- crumpled
2 tablespoons thick set natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons ground almonds
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

Preparation / Directions:

To make the Koftas: Soak the bread in the milk for a couple of minutes and squeeze out all the milk. Put the bread in a food processor with the remaining ingredients for the Kofta. Blend until smooth. Divide the mixture into approx 24 balls, each slightly bigger than a walnut. Rotate each ball between your palms to make neat round Koftas. Set aside. Heat the oil over medium heat and fry the onions until they are just soft (about 5 minutes). Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder and stir quickly. Now add the tomatoes, one at a time, along with a little juice, stir and fry until the spice mixture looks dry (2-3 minutes); continue the process until all the tomatoes are used. Now add the water, salt, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and the bay leaves. Stir once and add the Koftas. Bring the liquid to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Beat the yoghurt with a fork until smooth, add the ground almonds and beat again - stir GENTLY into the curry. Cover and simmer until the Koftas are firm (about 10 minutes). Stir the curry GENTLY and cover again and simmer for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the thickened sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir in half the coriander leaves and remove from the heat. Serve garnished with the remaining coriander leaves. Serve with cardamom rice or Naan/Tandoori Roti. Cauliflower or cabbage with Chick Pea Flour makes an excellent accompaniment. Suitable for freezing. Defrost thoroughly before re-heating. To re-heat, simmer gently in a covered pan. Add a little water (2-3 tbsp) during re-heating to restore the gravy to its original consistency, stirring occasionally.

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