Kofta Curry with Baked Chicken Meat Balls

We eat meat dishes quite a good number of times a week. With a husband who loves his chicken and lamb and goat, our meals are incomplete without it. Apart from being rich in protein and iron, meat also contains cholesterol, fats and calories. After reading few books on eating right, I now understand that chicken breast without skin, leg of lamb without fat and boneless chicken thighs are good for the body and also for those who plan to shed some weight. I started to look for lean cut meats.
How I shop for meats?
When shopping at my local grocery store, I look for meats with visible fat and I try not to pick those. Instead I pick ground chicken/turkey breast which has more than 90% lean meat. Did you know that white meats have less fat than red meat. My trainer suggested “avoid prime cuts in meat and choose center cut, chop or loin for lambs and skinless breast for chicken”. When we follow this rule, your body gets sufficient supply of protein without excess fats and calories. This will definitely help with weight loss and maintenance. For those who eat beef and pork, buy extra lean ground beef, tenderloin and top loin.
My tips on how to cook meat in a healthy way:
1. I have totally stopped breading or deep frying the meat. Instead I bake, saute or grill them.
2. When I clean the meat, I try to get rid of those visible white slab of fats.
3. I make a simple tomato-onion curries base for the meats and cook them in it. This way you don’t have to depend on their fat for flavoring.
4. For a quick grilled chicken/lamb, I prepare a marinade with spices, non-fat yogurt and less than 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
5.  I make soups a day ahead or first thing in the morning and cool the dish in the refrigerator over night or minimum 8 hours. The fat would have hardened on top and it will look like slimy jelly. Spoon that out and reheat and serve. Also while making soups, I cook them in pressure cooker with zero oil.
Having spoken about lean cut meats and its benefits, how will I not write a recipe related to that. So here I am with a post on kofta curry made with lean cut ground chicken breast.  I made the kofta balls with onions, flavorful spices, tons of cilantro and to hold them together I used one egg and powdered quinoa. My grandmother would add cooked rice to the ground meat mixture, I used powdered quinoa instead. The aromatic gravy was simmered with finely chopped onions, homemade puree of farm fresh tomatoes and simple spices powders. Since I love my ginger and garlic, it is obvious that my curry would have them too.
KOFTA CURRY
Serves – 4
Source – My grandmother (with my healthy twists)
Ingredients
For the koftas:
  • 1-1.5 pounds lean cut ground chicken (you can use lamb/turkey too)
  • 1 large onions – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger – minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic – minced
  • 1 cup cilantro – finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder ( I used spicy Kashmiri chili powder)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1-2 Thai green chillies – chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup powdered quinoa (dry roast and grind them to a coarse powder)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
For the sauce:
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger – minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic – minced
  • 2 tomatoes – pureed
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish
Directions
For the koftas:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Remove the ground meat from the packaging to a fresh bowl. If you have them frozen, thaw it overnight in a refrigerator. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies,spice powders, cilantro, salt and mix well to combine. Add the beaten eggs, oil and quinoa and fold in with a spatula for them to be incorporated well. Divide them into 30 small balls. Roll and place it over a baking tray that is covered with a parchment paper.
  3. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until they turn golden brown on the outside. Remove and let it rest.
For the sauce:
  1. Heat oil in a large cooking pan. Once they oil ripples, add the onions and little salt (about a teaspoon) and let it sweat. Cook covered for 10 minutes and let the onions brown.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  3. Mix in the tomato puree and add the spices and cook for 20 minutes. Check after 15 minutes, if its too thick, add water to get a smooth gravy consistency. Cook until the oil separates out of the sauce. Add cilantro and add the baked meat balls (discard the oil in the baking tray). Simmer for another 8 minutes for the kofta’s to absorb the sauce.
Serve hot with whole wheat rotis/chapati or rice.

Notes:

  1. My baked kofta balls can be served as an appetizer too. You can stick them to a toothpick or pop sticks and make it a healthy starter for your parties.
  2. Since they are made with lean meat, this curry is ideal for those in all the three phases of South beach diet.
  3. This curry is an excellent source of protein for pregnant women too. When eaten with whole wheat rotis or tortilla, this dish becomes a hearty meal for women with gestational diabetes too.

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    Recipe By

    Vijitha

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    11 Comments

    1. Love the plate, setup and the clicks…baked meat balls is a nice twist, looks super tempting

    2. You have a nice space here!!! And that kofta curry looks very delicious… and very informative post too!!!

    3. Decadent kofta curry viji. The detailed version of yours sounds real helpful. Inviting pics dear.

    4. my problem is with bones and fats i find meat so dry. This curry looks yum and baked meat balls!! amazing 🙂

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