Beef kofta curry

Beef Kofta curry is a traditional Pakistani curry made from gentle meatballs simmered in a highly spicy, flavorful sauce. This recipe has all the proper flavor of the traditional Kofta but it is made in less complicated, extra approachable way.


For the meatballs

  • 1 small onion (120 grams after peeling), roughly chopped
  • 1 green chili pepper (such as Serrano or Thai chili), stem removed and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves, optional
  • 1 ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • 1 lb ground beef, (preferably full fat)
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour, also called gram flour or besan
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

For the curry

  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium (or 3 small) tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chili pepper (such as Serrano or Thai), stem removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 green cardamom pods
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 inch piece ginger, crushed
  • 3 tbsp plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½-1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika powder (or Kashmiri chili powder), (optional – for color)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 tbsp cilantro leaves



  • Combine the onion, green chili pepper, cilantro leaves, and mint leaves (if using) in a food processor. Use the pulse function to chop so that the onions are finely chopped but not blended. You don’t want the onions to break down too much and release water. Then add the rest of the ingredients listed under meatballs (including the meat) and process to combine for about 30 seconds or just until mixed.
  • Using a bit of oil to grease your hands, form into meatballs about 1 ½ inch in diameter. It should make around 25 meatballs. Set aside.


  • Rinse your food processor. Then use the pulse function again to chop the onion. Remove and set aside. Then chop the tomatoes and green chili pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over high heat. Add the oil and whole spices, and allow them to sizzle for a few seconds. Then add the chopped onion and sauté, stirring often, for 7-8 minutes, or until golden. Lower the heat to medium-high. Add the garlic and ginger & sauté another 2 minutes, until the onions have deepened even more in color. Add the tomatoes and green chili pepper mixture, followed by the yogurt, spices and salt. Sauté for 4-5 minutes or until the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  • Add 2 cups water and raise the heat to bring to a boil. When the water comes to a boil, lower the heat to the lowest setting. Once it has stopped boiling, arrange the kofta in a single layer.
  • Raise the heat to medium, cover and allow it to cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and gently stir the kofta. Lower the heat to low-medium. Cover and allow it to simmer for another 35 minutes, stirring once in between, until cooked through.
  • Sauté to evaporate water to make the kofta to desired consistency. Taste and add salt, if needed. Sprinkle in garam masala and cilantro. Serve hot, with hard-boiled eggs, if desired.

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