This spicy, flavoursome dish is courtesy of Kumar and Suba Mahadevan whose sumptuous new book From India (Murdoch Books) has just been released. Kumar and his wife Suba opened their first restaurant, Abhi's, in Sydney in 1987 to great acclaim. Their second restaurant, Aki's, opened in 2003 on the wharf at Woolloomoolloo to rave reviews. If you're in Sydney, make sure to pay a visit.
- Curry Sauce
- desiccated coconut - 65g (1/4 cup)
- poppy seeds - 1 tablespoon
- vegetable or sunflower oil - 80ml (1/3 cup)
- green cardamom pods - 3
- whole cloves - 5
- cinnamon stick - 1
- dried bay leaf - 1
- large onion - 1, sliced
- fresh ginger - 1 tablespoon, finely grated
- crushed garlic - 1 tablespoon
- ground turmeric - 1 teaspoon
- red chilli powder - 2 teaspoons
- ground coriander - 1 tablespoon
- tomatoes - 2, roughly chopped
- plain thick yoghurt - 95g (1/3 cup), beaten
- fresh coriander leaves
- fried onions
- lean minced lamb - 800g
- small green chillies - 3, chopped
- fresh coriander leaves - 1/2 bunch, roughly chopped
- fresh mint leaves - 1/2 bunch, roughly chopped
- cashew nuts - 2 tablespoons, roughly chopped
- fresh ginger - 2 teaspoons, finely grated
- ground turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
- fresh lime juice - 30ml
- egg - 1
Serves 4 - 6 as part of a shared meal
For the Curry Sauce: Soak the coconut and poppy seeds in 250ml (1 cup) water for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile make the meatballs: combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and roll into about 20 balls. Set aside.
Put the coconut mixture in a spice grinder with the soaking water and grind together to make a smooth paste - you may need to do this in several batches. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and onion and cook for 6 - 8 minutes or until the onion is brown. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Combine the turmeric, chilli powder and ground coriander with 3 tablespoons of water to make a paste, then add to the pan, along with the tomato and cook for 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, stir in the beaten yoghurt, coconut paste and 250ml (1 cup) water and cook for 5 minutes, being careful that the yoghurt doesn't split. Season well with salt.
Add the meatballs, gradually stir in 250ml (1 cup) water and cook, covered, over low heat, for 20 - 25 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked. Ensure the sauce completely covers the meatballs, adding more water if necessary. Serve garnished with the coriander leaves and fried onions.
Tip: it is vital that the coconut is ground well with the water as this acts as the binding agent in the dish. If it isn't well blended sufficiently, the dish will separate and not thicken. When adding the yoghurt, the heat must not be high otherwise the yoghurt will split.