Updated: Apr 30, 2020
This recipe blog is by special request of Gracious Goodness member, Susan, who has her own fond memories of the Ceylon Hut Curry Restaurant. Susan asked if I had the recipe for the fried meatball curry that she used to love when frequenting the iconic restaurant. So to the trusty Ceylon Hut recipe book, gifted to their regular customers when they stopped trading and creatively covered with an original menu cover, I went. Sure enough I found a recipe for both the Kofta Curry Gravy and the Koftas. A recipe that I had never made. Clearly an omission that needed to be rectified and today was the day. This dish feels humble and by no means pretentious. It is quick to cook and the flavours are comfortingly familiar.
I’ve popped a few notes after the recipe to help you with the cooking, the recipes are direct transcripts. The blog post looks long as I am combining two recipes into one but seriously you could knock this dish out in 30 minutes if you wanted to. I made myself a bowl full of kofta and gravy and it felt like pure comfort food. Susan, I hope you enjoy. xo
Ceylon Hut Kofta (meatball) Curry Gravy
2 tbs oil 2 large onions, sliced 2 large tomatoes, sliced 1/2 cup parsley, chopped 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated 1 tsp fresh garlic. minced 10 cm dried lemon grass 1 tsp fenugreek seeds 3 tbs Ceylon Hut Curry Powder 1 tsp chilli powder 1/2 tsp cinnamon 4 cardamom pods, squashed 1/2 tsp poppy seeds 1/2 cup tomato paste Juice of 1 lime Salt to taste 4 beef stock cubes (see notes)
Heat oil in saucepan, fry together onion, tomato, parsley, ginger, garlic, lemon grass and fenugreek seeds, until fenugreek seeds begin to pop.
Add curry powder, chilli, cinnamon, cardamom pods, lime juice, poppy seeds, tomato paste and salt to taste.
Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until everything is thickened slightly then add meatballs.
Cook for a further 10 minutes, in order to heat everything through well.
Serve immediately. Serves 4
“Originally made in the hundreds, written for you in batches of 24.”
500g lean mince 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1 tsp chilli powder 1/2 tsp ginger powder
Plain flour 1 egg 1/4 cup milk Bread crumbs
Mix all ingredients together well.
Form small balls and roll in flour, dip in egg and milk mixture then finally in breadcrumbs.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before deep frying in very hot oil until dark.
Makes 15 to 20 meatballs.
A note from Gracious Goodness:
Whilst not specified, my suggestion is that you start by making the kofta gravy and whilst it is simmering and thickening you can whip up the koftas.
Beef Stock Cubes – You will note that there is no mention of the 4 beef stock cubes in the method for this recipe nor the addition of any water to this dish. As this is not my original recipe but a transcript from a home made recipe book produced by the owners of the Ceylon Hut Curry Restaurant I do not know if the error was the inclusion in the ingredient list or the omission from the method… either way this is what I have found tasty when I have made this curry for myself The ingredients are very similar to the Ceylon Hut vindaloo. The vindaloo recipe includes both stock cubes and water. As there was the suggestion of 4 stock cubes I used these PLUS I added 4 cups of water to make a sauce.
As always you can use a beef stock in place of the stock cubes and water just remember to adjust seasoning accordingly as stock is normally not as salty. If using stock cubes you want 1 litre of stock so use the correct number for the brand of stock cubes (ie Vegetta brand are 1 stock cube for 500ml water).
The recipe suggests that a total of 20 minutes cooking time is sufficient. I found that my sauce needed longer to develop a robust flavour. So I let it simmer away whilst I make the kofta.
Kofta – This is a really simple recipe but the sauce provides the flavour so I didn’t feel the need to add any further herbs or spices, like I normally would when making kofta. The intro implies it will yield 24 meatballs, the conclusion suggests 15 to 20 and I made about 30!
I cheated on carbs when I crumbed my meatballs and simply did the egg wash and used a low carb ‘baking blend’ to crumb. Worked fine so feel free to experiment with the crumbing mixture.
Meatballs always hold together better during cooking with 30 minutes fridge time to set the proteins, but if you are in a hurry you can gently fry these babies without chilling. Gently is the key word here. Once cooked they will be firm and robust.
I wasn’t sure what a crumbed meatball would be like in a gravy sauce but they are actually really yummy and the crumb adds a thickness to the sauce coating the kofta plus has good mouth feel. Winner, winner, kofta dinner!
You can, of course, serve this with a side of Ceylon Hut Yellow Rice or Cauliflower Rice for a low carb alternative but to be honest I don’t think it needs it. It is actually a hearty meal all by itself.
I hope you enjoy another taste of Sri Lanka brought to you by the Ceylon Hut Curry Restaurant, formerly of Bank St, Adelaide. A memory and family tradition that will never be forgotten!