Lamb Koftas in Spicy Tomato Sauce


The Spice Bible

Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo



Total Timeunder 2 hours

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course


Taste and Texturecreamy, herby, meaty, rich, spiced


  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large brown onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pound 2 ounces ground lamb
  • 1 large handful mint, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 large handful cilantro leaves, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1½ tablespoons lime juice


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the garlic, garam masala, and chili powder. Cook, stirring for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Remove half of the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste to the remaining onion in the frying pan, stirring. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat, cover and set aside.

  3. Add the ground lamb, herbs, and beaten egg to the cooled onion mixture. With clean, wet hands, roll the meat into 28 walnut-size balls. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

  4. Return the sauce to simmering point over medium heat. Add the kofta balls and cook over low heat for 1 hour, or until cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened. Gently stir the kofta balls occasionally. Stir in the lime juice and season to taste. Garnish with the extra herbs and serve with basmati rice.


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We love this recipe. We do it slightly differently though. We brown the balls on the stove until they are almost cooked through before we add them to the sauce to finish it off. I think it adds an extra richness. This recipe is very easy to make.


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