Indian Kofta Curry

Kofta Meatball Curry

The Spruce

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
619 Calories
40g Fat
21g Carbs
44g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 619
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 40g 52%
Saturated Fat 11g 57%
Cholesterol 134mg 45%
Sodium 855mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 44g
Vitamin C 24mg 121%
Calcium 120mg 9%
Iron 6mg 35%
Potassium 1136mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, a kofta is a meatball, meat loaf, or skewered meat mixture, and although koftas are usually made of meat, they can also consist of veggies or cheese. For example, a common type of Indian kofta balls includes paneer (cheese) or those stuffed with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. Typically, these kofta balls are then tossed in a cream based curry and enjoyed with a bread (like naan) or rice. In India, you will typically find kofta in a spiced curry or gravy while in Iran and Iraq it can be cooked in a spiced gravy or as a kebab. 

These koftas can be made with minced (ground) beef, lamb, or chicken and make a great meal when served with jeera rice and kachumber salad, a simple cucumber, tomato, and onion salad that pairs well with Indian curries.


For the Kofta:

  • 2 pounds (1 kilogram) ground beef

  • 2 onions, chopped very fine

  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste

  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste

  • 2 tablespoons garam masala

  • 3 tablespoons tomato ketchup

  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped fine

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Gravy:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil

  • 3 onions, chopped very fine

  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste

  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 4 large tomatoes, cubed

  • 2 cups warm water

  • Salt, to taste

Steps to Make It

Make the Kofta

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Put the minced beef, chopped onions, garlic paste, ginger paste, garam masala, tomato ketchup, coriander leaves, and salt in a large bowl and mix well.

    Ground meat for kofta meatballs.
     The Spruce
  3. Form the mixture into equal-sized balls and keep on a plate.

    Shaped kofta meatballs.
     The Spruce

Make the Gravy

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the remaining chopped onions. Fry until they are light brown. Add the ginger paste and garlic paste. Fry for 1 minute.

    Onions, garlic past and ginger in the frying pan.
     The Spruce
  3. Add all the powdered spices (coriander, cumin, red chili powder, garam masala, and turmeric) and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

    Kofta spices added to the frying pan.
     The Spruce
  4. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Fry the masala until the oil begins to separate from the onions and tomatoes.

    Tomatoes added to the frying pan for kofta.
     The Spruce
  5. Add the warm water to the masala and season with salt to taste. Gently add the meatballs and let sit; do not stir for at least 5 minutes.

    Kofta added to the masala to cook.
     The Spruce
  6. Stir gently so as not to break the meatballs.

    Cook uncovered until the meatballs are done, about 10 minutes. The gravy can be as thick as you like, so feel free to add water or cook down gravy as needed.

    Homemade kofta meatballs.
     The Spruce
  7. Serve with jeera rice and kachumbar salad and enjoy.

Types of Kofta

There are many different types of kofta recipes across various cuisines, such as mutton kofta with meat, egg, and channa powder, mushroom kofta including spinach, paneer, and mushrooms, and Turkish kofta with minced lamb, eggplant, zucchini, and basil. One popular kofta dish in north India is malai kofta, which is vegetarian and includes koftas in a creamy, flavorful, and mild gravy that is sweet. The kofta balls are often fried with veggies and paneer and paired with roti and rice.