Chicken Koftas (Meatballs)

This one goes out to my sister.  That’s really all I have to say.  I wanted to do something new for the husband, and I had ground chicken waiting to be used.  I could actually have made spring rolls (a favorite of many of my friends) but those take a bit too much time when I don’t usually have as much as I would like.  Plus that’s not dinner, just a side.  And I like to spend 1 to 2 hours leisurely in the kitchen (so I’m not spastic and cooking away feverishly)—it’s hugely therapeutic and relaxing for me—but I usually need to pick G up from work too so I have to take breaks in between cooking if I’m not done.

a bowl of splattered goodness!

So at any rate, something that I can conceivably put on hold if need be… and what I decided on were Chicken Kofta—Pakistani/indian chicken meatballs.

(the following ingredients may not be accurate, I tend to wing it A LOT, especially with spices)

Chicken Koftas


  • ½ pound of ground chicken breast (as opposed to ground chicken, which is light and dark meat)
  • ¼ onion diced
  • A few green onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Chili flakes
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs


  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ tsp grated ginger
  • Dash of turmeric
  • Coriander
  • Salt
  • Green chilis, chopped
  • Coriander leaves
  • 1 can plain diced tomatoes (I used jalapeno style for the zest but had to add more spices after in order to battle the Mexican flavor)
  • Water
  • 2 green Cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • Some heavy cream, just a tad!!

In a colander, drain the chicken as much as possible, just get as much moisture out. Set aside, and in a frying pan, sauté the onions and garlic until nicely softened and translucent, but not browned.  Set the pan aside to cool, and then in a big mixing bowl combine the ground meat, onions, 1 egg (or even half a separately beaten egg in this case since I only made enough for two people), breadcrumbs, and the spices.  I can’t quantify how much I put, about 1-2 tsp of most spices… about 1 tsp salt, 2-3 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp cumin, and as much or little chili pepper as you like.

Once everything is mixed and molded together, you can and should sample a little bit to judge taste by frying a tiny bit.  Adjust spices as needed, and keep the meat aside for now to prepare the sauce.

In a large pot, drizzle in a few tbsp of oil heated to medium heat, and add the sliced onions and crushed garlic.  Sauté and cook the onions down, adding in tiny bit of turmeric, 1 tsp of cayenne pepper and 2 tsp of coriander; mix well.  Toss in the green chilies (seeded to reduce spiciness) to let the spices sizzle together.  Add the can of tomatoes, mostly drained, into the pot and add additional water, about ½ cup.  Bring to a boil, and then let simmer for as much time as needed to let the tomatoes completely disintegrate and the onion-tomato curry unifies.  Well, for that to be done you can either:

  • a) cook for ages
  • b) blend the tomatoes first and add in
  • c) use handheld blender to chop up the onions and tomatoes together.

I didn’t do any of that (no time, didn’t have the foresight and don’t have one), but I did use a mixer to at least blend as much as possible.  Get it down to the consistency you like, add the ginger, cardamom, garam masala and any more spice as needed (more salt, coriander etc) depending on how the taste changes with the tomato added.

Theeennnn back to the chicken itself.  Heat a lot of oil in a frying pan, and in rounded teaspoon-fuls, place a few meatballs into the oil.  Chicken is wetter than beef, so it’s harder to roll a nice ball, but if you can, go for it.  Don’t fry too many at a time else you’ll bring the temperature of the oil down, which would suck and leave you with slowly overcooked kofta. Ugh.  The toughness. It offends my palette.

a hefty one at the forefront

Anyway, fry the kofta for a few minutes on each side, browning them completely.  They won’t be completely cooked yet but that’s okay.  Remove to a paper towel to drain the oil and fry the rest of your meat.  Once done, add all the koftas to your sauce, which has been simmering joyfully on the stove.  Make sure every kofta is at least 90% covered in liquid (add a little water if needed), cover and let cook for longer and longer.  I had actually stepped out to get G before this point, so when we got home, I added the kofta into the curry and cooked for 15 minutes, adding a tiiiiny pour of cream (only if desired).

When the chicken is cooked through and especially moist and tongue-tantalizing, throw in the coriander leaves on top to glamourize the feast and get ready to get your super duper grub on.

Heh, ok seriously, they turned out soooo awesome.

Check that baby out!

Stay tuned for next time, when details of a New Year’s Far Out & Far East Fabulous Feast are recounted.

🙂 Yeah, 2011 has already been a good year, as far as our bellies are concerned.




  1. I got a shout out! Woo hoo! I am salivating while reading this! The koftas look amazing. Must have been delicious! Gautam is one lucky man to have the opportunity to enjoy your cooking every day. 🙂

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