Skill level

Average: 4.4 (26 votes)


  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • 1 kg minced beef
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • 5 cm-piece ginger, grated
  • 1½ tbsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground chilli
  • 1 tbsp besan flour (see Note)
  • 30 blanched almonds, soaked in water for 2 hours
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil, to shallow-fry
  • coriander leaves and spiced flatbread (methi paratha), to serve

Curry sauce

  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 700 g (about 5) tomatoes, chopped
  • 140 g (½ cup) natural yoghurt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make meatballs, soak saffron in 2 tspn boiling water for 10 minutes, to soften. Combine beef, egg, onion, coriander leaves, ginger, garam masala, ground chilli and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl. Using your hands, knead in besan flour until mixture is smooth and elastic. Knead in saffron and soaking liquid. Roll mixture into 30 balls. Using your thumb, make a small indentation in the centre of each meatball. Place a drained almond into each indentation, then roll ball to enclose almond. Place on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Cook meatballs, in 3 batches, for 4 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until lightly browned. Drain on paper towel.

Meanwhile, to make curry sauce, heat ghee in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook for 8 minutes or until golden. Stir in turmeric, cumin, chopped tomatoes and yoghurt, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes or until tomatoes soften. Add meatballs, 125 ml water and 1 tsp salt and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until meatballs are heated and cooked through.

Transfer meatballs to a serving dish, scatter with coriander leaves and serve with curry sauce and methi paratha.


Besan flour is a chickpea flour that is less starchy than wheat flour. It is available from Indian food shops and selected supermarkets and greengrocers. 

Drink 2010 St Erth Pinot Noir, Geelong ($15)

As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 12, pg76.

Photography by Armelle Habib