These tiny meatballs have got a gentle kick and you can still taste all the spices, but if you are not keen on chomping on a whole clove (I’m certainly not!), pick them out before serving.
Meatballs 500g (1 lb 1 oz) minced (ground) lamb ¾ tsp salt 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground coriander ½ tsp garam masala 3 Tbsp plain unsweetened yoghurt Sauce 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped Piece of ginger as big as your thumb, peeled and roughly chopped 250ml (approx. 8 fl oz) water ½ tsp chilli powder 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground coriander 4 Tbsp vegetable oil Small piece cinnamon stick 6 cardamom pods, smashed with a mallet and seeds extracted (discard husks) 6 cloves 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped ¾ cup canned crushed tomatoes 3 Tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro), plus a little extra for garnishing ½ tsp salt ¼ cup plain unsweetened yoghurt 200ml 6-7 fl oz) water
1 Using your hands, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl (I recommend wearing disposable food gloves). Shape into 40 small meatballs approximately the size of a walnut in the shell, keeping your hands dipped in water to prevent the mixture from sticking. Put balls on a plate as they are rolled. You can do this several hours ahead.
1 Put garlic and ginger in a small spice blender or in the bowl of a mini food processor with 2-3 tablespoons of the measured water and blend to a paste. Transfer paste to a small bowl and mix in chilli, cumin and ground coriander.
2 Put oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds and whole cloves. Fry spices for a few minutes, then add onion and continue frying for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in the paste, cook a minute, then add tomatoes, coriander and cook gently for 10 minutes.
3 Stir in the yoghurt a little at a time, then 200ml (6-7 fl oz) of water.
4 Add meatballs and cook, partially covered with a lid, for 15 minutes, turning balls over every 5 minutes or so. Remove lid, transfer kofta balls to a side plate with a slotted spoon. Continue reducing the sauce until it is thick and oily. Return kofta balls to pan and cook for a few minutes more, until piping hot and covered with sauce. Serve hot garnished with a little chopped coriander.