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If you haven’t caught on by now, I LOVE curries. There are so many spices to work with and it’s almost impossible to make a bad curry. While I love the burst of flavour and slight burn from the spices, I can’t say that I enjoy burning a hole through my tongue with chilli. So I make my curries mild, but you of course can add as much chilli as you want to get your desired burn. And that is the great part about making your own spice mix, you get to decide what and how much of each spice you’d like to add. There’s also no added preservatives or anything funny that you don’t know about hiding in the store-bought ones.

If the only thing keeping you from making your own spice mix is not having a pestle and mortar, then I highly suggest you go buy one. They can be slightly pricey but it’s definitely something worth investing in. I would recommend the marble ones but if you prefer the look of the wooden ones, those work great too. I got the Jamie Oliver black marble one and it works like a dream (slightly pricey though, so might take a bit of saving up but totally worth it!

Beef Meatball Curry

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon powder ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 cloves (the spice)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 3 tablespoons meat masala
  • 1 kg mince
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • Basmati rice

Method:

  1. Just a tip: start the basmati rice an hour before you want to serve your dish. So you may want to begin with this. Follow the instructions on the back of the rice packet.
  2. Heat up a large pan to medium heat with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Peel and chop up the onion and the garlic cloves and fry until translucent.
  3. Put all spices, from the paprika to the meat masala, into mortar and grind until fine with the pestle.
  4. Add half of the spice mixture to the pan with the onions and garlic and allow to fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Put onions in a bowl and set aside.
  5. In a bowl, place the mince, the breadcrumbs, the eggs, parsley, the remaining spices and half of the onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper. This part gets a little messy. Use your hands to mix the beef and spices until well combined. Roll into medium sized balls and place on a tray.
  6. Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and brown the meatballs, you may need to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. They do not need to be cooked all the way through so just brown the outsides, it should take about 5 minutes. If you cook them too long they will dry out so keep an eye on them!
  7. Once all of the meatballs have been browned, put all of them back in the pan along with the remaining onion mixture. Add the tinned tomato and tomato paste and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Crumble the beef stock cube in with your fingers and add 300ml water to the pan.
  8. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for a minimum of 30 mins. I like to cook mine for long so that the meatballs get the saucy flavour right to the middle. I cook mine for 2 hours. Remember to turn the meatballs so that all sides get a chance to cook in the sauce. However, be gentle with them or they will fall apart.
  9. And they’re ready to serve! Simply dish up the basmati and add on the meatballs (don’t forget to spoon over the sauce). You may want to serve with a dollop of plain yogurt on the side and a roti.

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