Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry

My Mother has always taken a simple approach towards cooking. She doesn’t  like over complicating things and her spice cabinet is limited to salt, red chilli powder, cumin and turmeric. If there’s a way to make cooking quicker, less messy and easier, she’ll always recommend it. This is the reason why my cooking style differs so much from my Mother’s – I am fascinated by the use of different spices, I love freshly grinding my own concoctions and if there is an authentic but much longer route to take in the kitchen, you bet I’ll be taking it.

My Mother has always made her kofta curries in a very basic manner without using poppy seeds, gram flour, yogurt and I have never seen her grinding her spices. Her kofta curries always turned out good, but there’s something about the use of authentic spices that really can’t be outdone.

Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry

I made this curry the day after my first anniversary for my husband as a bit of a special dinner, which is why I went the extra mile and ground my own spices. The extra work paid off well, alhamdulillah, and the results were spectacularly delicious! This recipe is most definitely a keeper and I think you should put it on your to-cook list NOW! Using a number of family resources, my own taste testing and just general desire to cook an out-of-the-ordinary dinner, I’ve developed this recipe and I think it has that ‘wow’ factor thanks to the freshly roasted and ground spices, the warm and earthy undertones of the cardamom and cinnamon and the vivid and fiery hue of the Kashmiri red chilli powder! Trust me, this little spice is a gem to add a pop of colour to any meal. It has a very mild flavour – in this particular recipe I’ve used 3tsp but believe me this curry is not spicy! If you don’t have Kashmiri red chilli on hand, don’t worry. Just replace it with red chilli powder to taste.

Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry

I made these koftas with chicken mince, but I am a lover of red meat therefore I think these would be absolutely glorious with lamb, mutton, goat or beef mince. To alter this recipe for red meat, see the notes below the recipe.

The next day, I added some boiled eggs to the curry and served it alongside some parathas. You can most certainly add anything else that you fancy, including potatoes, chickpeas etc. This also helps pad the curry out so it goes a longer way than it otherwise would have.

Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry

I hope you will enjoy this recipe just as much as me and my husband did!

Enjoy, with love x


My new book, ‘The Clueless Pakistani Cook’, is now available to purchase! ‘The Clueless Pakistani Cook’ is a guidebook written for people who want to get started in the kitchen and learn how to cook Pakistani food, but aren’t quite sure where to begin. It includes information about what you should have in the kitchen, spices, cooking a masala, rice, desserts, common Q&As and 5 recipes to get you started! It is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn Pakistani cooking! Click here for more information about ‘The Clueless Pakistani Cook’ and here to purchase it from Amazon!

 

Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
Chicken Kofta Curry
Print Recipe
Servings
24 meatballs
Cook Time
80 minutes
Servings
24 meatballs
Cook Time
80 minutes
Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
Chicken Kofta Curry
Print Recipe
Servings
24 meatballs
Cook Time
80 minutes
Servings
24 meatballs
Cook Time
80 minutes
Ingredients
For the meatballs
  • 750 grams minced chicken
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1.5 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 small piece cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder or to taste
  • 0.5 cup gram (chickpea) flour
  • 2-3 tbsp water
For the curry
  • 1.5 medium onion
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 0.25 cup oil
  • 0.5 cup full fat yogurt
  • 3 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 0.25 tsp turmeric
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 small piece cinnamon
  • poppy seeds, for garnising
Servings: meatballs
Instructions
For the meatballs
  1. In a dry pan, one by one dry roast the following on high heat (i) poppy seeds, till they brown ever so slightly- about one minute (ii) coriander seeds, till they begin to release smoke (iii) cumin seeds, till they begin to release smoke and (iv) one black cardamom pod and 1 small stick of cinnamon, till they begin to release smoke.
    Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
  2. Transfer all these spices to a grinder and pulse till they become a fine powder
    Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
  3. In a food processor, add your minced chicken alongside the spices you just powdered and all the other meatball ingredients. Pulse this till smooth and all the spices are mixed through
    Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
  4. Take a small amount of the chicken mixture and pan-fry it to check for spices. Taste and adjust accordingly. Please don't skip this step as you may find you want to make the meatballs more spicy or salty and once you fry the meatballs, you won't be able to make any changes
    Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
  5. Once you've adjusted the seasonings to your liking, roll the chicken mixture into small/medium sized balls. I got 24 meatballs with my mixture. Try to avoid cracks in your meatballs - some are inevitable but try to minimise them as much as you can.
    Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
  6. In a deep wok, fry the meatballs on high heat till they are cooked on the outside and are evenly brown. We aren't aiming to cook the meatballs through, we just want the meatballs to become fried to an extent that they hold their shapes. Keep the fried meatballs aside. (I forgot to take a picture of this step!)
For the curry
  1. In a separate pot, heat the oil and add the roughly chopped onions and garlic. You don't need to slice these ingredients finely as we will be grinding these later. Saute the onions till golden brown
    Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
  2. Transfer the onions and garlic to a food processor and pulse till smooth
    Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
  3. Return the onions and garlic to your pot. Now stir the yogurt in. Mix well, and then add all the curry spices. Saute this on high heat till you see the oil begin to separate from the body of the curry
    Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
  4. Add approximately 3 cups of water. You can vary this amount depending on how much soup (shorba) you like, but I wouldn't recommend going below 2 cups. Bring to a boil
    Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
  5. Add in all your meatballs. Turn the heat to a low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Once or twice during this time, pick up your pot (lid on) and swish the pot around so that the meatballs and shorba can be stirred without being touched. If we use a spoon to do this, we risk breaking the meatballs
    Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
  6. In the most authentic of recipes, fresh coriander is not used for kofta curries. If you want to garnish your curry with coriander anyway, then go for it! Otherwise, you can garnish your meatballs with a sprinkling of poppy seeds or leave it the way it is. Enjoy!
    Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry
Recipe Notes

To adjust this recipe for lamb, mutton or beef, add 5 cups of water instead of 3 and cook for 50-60 minutes instead of 20.

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3 thoughts on “Traditional and Authentic Pakistani Chicken Kofta Curry

  1. Wow I cooked this and this was over the edge for sure. I have cooking good koftas for a while considering I have grown kids but I wanted a over the top recipe and this is it. I did reduce the amount of zeera and coriander. I also ran out of khas khas but still really good better than any packet masalas.

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