Meatball Curry

Recipe Courtesy: Jolly Manuel

When life throws meatballs at you, wear a Face Mask – Judith Peters

Growing up in a joint family has its benefits. If your mom is not too keen to dress up, you would have a cool aunt who does. So for all my make up adventures (mis-adventures), I had my aunt’s stash. Since my only knowledge of lipsticks were fully rolled up and on your lips, I would do just that. My poor aunt would be heartbroken to see her lipsticks destroyed but she would just play it cool. I’m sorry, Jolly Ellemma, I was just trying to be pretty like you.It took a lot of broken lipsticks for me to understand that your beauty is inside you and not what is on the outside!

This recipe, as you would understand was shared by my dear aunt, Jolly. The gravy is based on how her mother used to cook back in her days. My aunt’s mother was this lovely and gracious personality and a woman beyond her times. The Kuttanadan (Rice Bowl of Kerala) flavours are very evident in this recipe. The simple combination of coriander powder and pepper has helped to break the monotony of our family dinners.


For Meatballs

  • Beef – 500 gms
  • Bread Slices – 2- 4 (depending on the size)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Water – 500 ml approx (to cover the meat balls while cooking )

For Gravy

  • Oil -for frying and 2 tbsp for cooking
  • Cardamom, Cloves and Cinnamon – 2 each (optional)
  • Sliced Onion – 1
  • Chopped Onion – 1
  • Chopped Tomato -1
  • Crushed Ginger- Garlic – 3 tbsp
  • Coriander Powder – 3 tsp
  • Pepper Powder – 4 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  • Thick Coconut Milk – 50 ml (to taste )
  • Curry Leaves -1-2 Sprig
  • Dried Red Chillies – 3

Meatball Preparation

Make fresh breadcrumbs. Tear apart the bread slices into smaller pieces and run it in a mixer jar.

Knead the fresh breadcrumbs into the minced beef.

Add pepper and salt to taste.

Make sure that the meat and bread crumbs blend together.

Make it into small balls. You could get around 32-35 balls with this quantity.

You could boil the meatballs or cook them in a pressure cooker.

I prefer the pressure cooker as the minced meat here has only 5-15% fat and it gets too hard when I boil. But the minced meat we get in India has more fat content, hence adding the meat balls to boiling water would be a better option.

Cover the meat balls with water. Add salt to the water.

If you are using the pressure cooker, cook it on high flame till the first whistle.

Lower the flame and cook for another 12-15 minutes.

Take it off the flame and let the steam release on its own.

Separate the meatballs from the stock. The stock is needed for the gravy, so set it aside.

For Gravy

Heat Oil in a deep fry dish.

Fry the sliced onion on a medium flame till golden brown and set it aside.

In the same oil, fry the red chillies and the curry leaves and set it aside.

Take 2 tbsp from this oil in a deep dish/wok to prepare the gravy.

Saute the spices till fragrant.

Add the chopped onions and saute till they begin to caramelise.

Add the crushed ginger-garlic and saute till they are cooked well.

Add the Coriander powder, Pepper and turmeric and saute till the raw smell is removed.

Saute the chopped tomato to this and cook till it blends into the onion mix. The oil starts to separate at this stage.

Add the meatballs and saute till they are well coated.

Now add the fried onion and the beef stock and let it cook. Check the salt levels at this stage and add if necessary.

Add the thick coconut milk little by little to balance the flavour. The pepper takes a bit of a time to release its flavour and the fried onions can make the gravy sweet. The curry shouldn’t look like you’ve added coconut milk. If you think it’ll sweeten the gravy, you could avoid it.

Garnish with the fried curry leaves and dried red chillies.

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