Chicken Koftas Simmered In Thick Indian Gravy

kofta curry

Kofta or a meatball is a classic. Meat balls often occupy a happy place in people’s heart filling the tummies with rice and rotis. This is a superior, tender and succulent kofta made using the locally available ingredients. This is not the first time I am referring to meatballs or kofta. The North African meatballs had been doing rounds in my kitchen and even when we have guests. Many of my friends have insisted me to share some Indian kofta curries so they can please their in-laws, parents or simply saying their husbands like Indian thick gravy curries. Without any questions I readily started off with my camera to the kitchen to cook for My Food Trolley.


Kofta curries tend to be tedious and labour intensive. But it’s not the case with this recipe. Once the trick to the gravy is followed, making it creamy and infusing the correct spices to it, you’ll no more call it a hard work. Later you can fiddle around with this recipe and adjust the spices according to your preferences.


The spices used for the kofta or the meat ball are almost the same like the North African meatballs. Instead of lamb I have used chicken mince and this time went ahead and deep fried the koftas. But you can go ahead and try to make the less oil version using the Paniyaram or the Unniappam pan without even compromising the taste.  These mildly spiced koftas are later simmered in thick brown onion gravy layered with fresh cream. If you still talk on counting the calories you can always add in low fat yoghurt instead of cream. At every stage you find this gravy turning better and better punched with all the restaurant style texture and flavours.


Ingredients:- For the koftas

  1. Chicken mince – 1 and half cup
  2. Fresh bread crumbs – half cup
  3. Egg – 1
  4. Ginger garlic paste – 2 teaspoons (Store bought)
  5. Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
  6. Cumin half teaspoon
  7. Cloves – 3-4 nos.
  8. Nutmeg ground – a pinch.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. All purpose flour for dusting
  11. Oil to fry

For the Gravy:-

  1. Onion – 2 medium sized
  2. Tomatoes – 3 medium sized
  3. Ginger garlic paste- 2 teaspoons
  4. Green chillies – 2 nos.
  5. White Poppy Seeds – 1 Tablespoon.
  6. Cashewnuts – 2 Tablespoons (Approx. 6-8 nos)
  7. Dried fenugreek leaves – 1 teaspoon. (Kasuri methi)
  8. Garam masala – 1 teaspoon. ( Any store bought meat masala can be used or refer to the spice mix recipe here mentioned below)
  9. Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon.
  10. Turmeric powder – half teaspoon.
  11. Black Cardamom – 1 no. (Hill cardamom or Badi elaichi)
  12. Cassia- an inch stick ( Dalchini / cinnamon bark)
  13. Cream – 3 tablespoons.
  14. Yoghurt- half cup (optional)
  15. Warm water – half cup.
  16. Oil – 4 Tablespoons.
  17. Salt to taste.

Method:- For the koftas

  • Ground cumin, nutmeg and cloves in a mortar and keep aside.
  • Take a mixing bowl, add in all the remaining ingredients with the mince for the koftas and mix well using your hands or with a ladle until all well combined.
  • Season the chicken mince using the ground spices made ahead along with salt pepper and shape them into lemon sized balls.
  • Refrigerate the koftas for 15- 20 minutes while you move ahead to make the gravy. (This will help to firm up the koftas)
  • Roll them with flour and fry them up on a medium low heat. Keep aside.

For the gravy

  • Lightly toast cashews, poppy seeds with kasuri methi on a very low flame till the poppy seeds start to pop and sizzle. Make sure not to burn them. Ground them and keep aside.
  • Slice onions and cut the green chillies. Puree the tomatoes and keep aside.
  • Lightly fry the onions and chillies in 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add ginger garlic paste and ground cashew-poppy seed mix. Stir well and add warm water to the mix and cut the flame. Keep aside for 15-20 minutes.
  • Grind this onion mix into a smooth fine paste. (Do not add any more water)
  • Take a Handi or a sauce pan. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the big cardamom and cassia to the hot oil. Then add in the ground onion paste stirring well for 3- 4 minutes on a medium heat
  • Add in the spices chilli, turmeric and garam masala. Stir till you see the oil separating from the onion paste. At this stage add the pureed tomatoes and cover to simmer on a low heat. Stir occasionally and cook till the oil separates.
  • Finish off with cream or yoghurt and mix. At this stage, you can add little more water if you want the gravy to be thin. Adjust the thickness best suited to your preference. Add the koftas and allow simmering for 5 minutes.
  • Slightly shake the pan to mix. Do not use a heavy ladle as it might break the koftas.
  • Serve hot with Roti or rice.


Refer Below to Cook seriously……..This is serious stuff……

  • Spice mix– Prepare your own spice mix by lightly toasting the spices green cardamom, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon, mace and star anise. Ground them into powder or crush them with a mortar and pestle.
  • Take care not to add more water other than the amount mentioned in the onion paste as while frying them it will splatter all over. Water can be adjusted for the gravy only after adding the pureed tomatoes and once the tomatoes are cooked through.
  • A pan with a lid or a handi works well for this gravy to cook.
  • You can use both cream and yoghurt together for very rich gravy.
  • The gravy can be separately made ahead for until four days refrigerated without adding the cream or yoghurt. You can microwave the gravy and then transfer to the pan and finish with cream or yoghurt.

If this turns out well or someone cried “Perfect”, don’t forget to buzz me with your feedback taking a minute off your busy cooking schedule.

Happy Cooking and Be healthy.

4 thoughts on “Chicken Koftas Simmered In Thick Indian Gravy

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