North Indian Meatballs (heat 5/10)

North Indian Meatballs (heat 5/10)
Serves: 4

Our spice mix contains dried mint, which has a lovely flavour when cooked in the meatballs. Fresh coriander is a vital added ingredient. Do not be put off by the heat level - instead try making a plain tomato sauce without the spices but keeping the secret sauce, water, tomato puree and coriander. The flavour of the meatballs will filter through the sauce but the heat won't, making it much more child-friendly. Lovely with rice or pasta, and also makes a delicious burger. Plus see Cook's Notes for a vegetarian suggestion, or visit our cookbook section for how to use these spices with falafels. (40g net)  NB contains mustard


  • 1 packet North Indian meatball mix (recipe card included)
  • 1 lb/ 500g minced lamb (or beef)
  • 1 standard supermarket packet coriander (approx 15 g)
  • 300ml secret sauce
  • 200 ml water
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil


  1. Thoroughly mix the mince with half the packet of spice mix and half the coriander, very finely chopped. Form into about 20 meatballs and chill for at least an hour. If prepared well in advance, cover the dish with clingfilm.
  2. In a heavy-weight pan heat the oil till quite hot then fry the meatballs till brown all over (as they never stay round, this means brown on most sides!). Remove the meatballs and set aside.
  3. Stir in the remaining spices and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  4. Pour in the secret sauce, tomato puree and water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Return the meatballs to the pan and simmer for a further 20 minutes. These timings are the minimum; it can be left to bubble away.
  6. When ready to eat, stir in the remaining coriander, roughly chopped, and serve with rice.

Cook's Notes

  1. Timings are approximate – I’m sure you all know what you are doing! Like most dishes, it positively improves with being made in advance.
  2. The spice mix contains a middling level of heat. I like to leave the meatballs as they are but jazz up the sauce with additional fresh or dried chillies.
  3. If you like less spice, just omit the spices from tomato sauce and let the meatballs add the flavour.
  4. This freezes beautifully!
  5. To make burgers simply mix the mince with the spices and coriander and shape into 4 balls. Chill then grill, flattening slightly as they cook. 
  6. This shouldn't be no:6 as it's possibly the most important! For a vegetarian feast use half the spices and half the coriander to make the sauce as for the meatballs. In a casserole or saucepan put a can of beans or chickpeas (I used cannelini), a chopped red pepper, a chopped small courgette and a couple of left-over cooked new potatoes. Pour the cooked sauce over the top and simmer for half an hour or until everything is cooked. So easy but so good - the mint and coriander are a fantastic combination!

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