Shahi Lamb Kofta – Meatballs in Tomato Almond Crème Sauce



Like most, if not all Indian mothers, I’m totally cuckoo when it comes to feeding my son. I’m constantly gnawed with worry that my son might be starving himself to death. That, deficient of nutrition, his brains might not meet the Ivy league standards causing his Godmother’s and Dad’s dreams for  his future, to plummet  with a thud. Now, into his third year, my insanity thankfully has considerably lessened.  I still need a lot of work though. But compared to where I was during his first year, when I’d managed to drive the poor baby to gag at the very sight of a boob, I’ve come a long way. Forgive me all you future girlfriends of N, don’t take it personally if he’s put off or shows no interest at your assets. It is not you. It is all the doing of his ignorant first time Mommy.

Sadly, the initial years of torture at the hands of his mother also drove N to become the pickiest of eaters in the entire universe. It could be bad karma as well. I drove my mother crazy when it came to eating as a child. So, it was inevitable that fate would eventually gang up on me. Unbeknownst to fate however, was the viciously vengeful side of my ‘crazy’. For every food that N didn’t eat, I found another that he did, and soon disguised the former into the latter. Time was also in my favor, and I found it pretty easy to fool a toddler. I’ve gradually been reducing the disguise, and over a period of time this has helped him acquire taste for food he thought he didn’t like. Broken wheat instead of macaroni, veggie koftas instead of meat balls have slowly become some of his favorites 🙂

The following recipe is for a traditional lamb kofta dish. But I can’t help myself from saying this – For mom’s with picky eaters to feed, koftas truly have a lot of room to hide in tons of good stuff. Veggies, eggs, broken wheat, nuts to name a few. Phew! There I said it! These are just my suggestions. Please don’t be encouraged to become a loony like me ;).

Variations: A healthier option would be to use chicken or turkey instead of lamb for the koftas. But if you like to indulge in food like me, beef or pork works great too.

lamb kofta

Ingredients (for the meatballs/kofta)
1 lb ground lamb
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup finely chopped spring onions
1 tbsp fresh ginger garlic paste
2 tsp finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp finely chopped mint 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cumin powder”]B000JMAVVC[/amazon-product]
1/2 tsp black pepper ground
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp kashmiri garam masala
Ingredients (for the gravy)
One large or 2 med sized onions chopped to a mince.
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
3-4 tomatoes pureed
1/2 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cumin powder”]B000JMAVVC[/amazon-product]
4 tbsp almonds
1 cup fresh yogurt
1 tsp paprika (mainly for color)
1 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cayanne pepper/red chili powder”]B0001UQVUM[/amazon-product]
1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper
1 tsp kashmiri garam masala
2 [amazon-product type=”text” text=”bay leaves”]B00017P2H8[/amazon-product]
1/2 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”turmeric powder”]B000JMAXOC[/amazon-product]
2 tsp chopped cilantro
2 – 3 tbsp refined vegetable oil
salt to taste

I make a slight variation in the gravy for chicken or turkey koftas – I use 1/2 cup half & half  instead of yogurt and replace 2 tbsp of almonds with 2 tbsp of cashew nuts


  • Mix all the ingredients for the kofta gently and make golf sized balls and set aside.
  • Soak the nuts in water and grind to a smooth paste.
  • Heat oil in a pan, stir in [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cumin”]B000JMAVVC[/amazon-product], whole black pepper and [amazon-product type=”text” text=”bay leaves”]B00017P2H8[/amazon-product]
  • Add onions and sauté until golden brown.
  •  Add  ginger garlic paste and stir in until oil separates.
  • Add pureed tomatoes, [amazon-product type=”text” text=”turmeric powder”]B000JMAXOC[/amazon-product], [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cayanne pepper”]B0001UQVUM[/amazon-product], paprika, almond paste, and garam masala and sauté until oil separates.
  •  Add yogurt, salt and water to get desired consistency and bring to boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and carefully place the meatballs in the skillet in a single layer. Cover and continue cooking for 10 – 15 minutes on low heat.
  • Add more water if consistency is too thick and bring to boil before taking it off the flame, garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Serve with rice or Indian breads. 
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    One Response to “Shahi Lamb Kofta – Meatballs in Tomato Almond Crème Sauce”

    1. Emily says:

      This dish was very good after I made some adjustment. The first time I made it seemed a pretty bland and required a lot of salt at the end. The second time I cooked the almond paste and added the spices before adding the tomato puree. I also added a half teaspoon of ground corriander. I added a teaspoon of sea salt when I added the tomato puree. This helped to bring the flavors out during cooking and therefor did not require salt at all when the dish was finished.

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