Pic of Indian meatballs with spinach, yoghurt and turmeric rice

Indian meatballs with spinach, yoghurt and turmeric rice

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Meat mains

Indian meatballs with spinach, yoghurt and turmeric rice

Main Serves 2 40 min
Meatballs don't always have to be about pasta and tomato sauce. These are more like the koftas of North Africa or the Middle East. I've gone for a more Indian spicing, with rice in place of flatbreads. These meatballs can be made with minced lamb, pork or even chicken and turkey. If you try them again feel free to have a play with the spicing. Try a bit of fresh chilli for more spice or a pinch of cinnamon and clove for warmth.

Cook's notes

The strength of our cayenne pepper can vary. We've given you more than you need. Start with a cautious pinch. You can always add some more to the sauce at the end if you want more heat.


  • 1 garlic clove
  • 25g fresh ginger
  • 200ml tin coconut milk
  • 200g spinach
  • 30g fresh coriander
  • 300g minced beef
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 200g brown basmati rice
  • 30g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • oil for frying e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • salt and pepper
Image of Indian meatballs with spinach, yoghurt and turmeric rice


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 30 min
  • Step 1

    Peel 1 garlic clove and the ginger. Finely grate or chop them both. Open the coconut milk and whisk the solids and liquids together as best you can with a fork. Trim away any large tough looking stalks from the spinach, wash the leaves and shred them finely.
  • Step 2

    Roughly chop the tomatoes. Put a kettle on to boil. Rinse the rice well in a sieve under cold running water. Put the rice in the saucepan with the turmeric, three quarters (150ml) of the coconut milk, a pinch of salt and 300ml of water from the kettle. Bring the rice up to a simmer, cover loosely and cook for 20 minutes until just tender. Leave to sit for 5 minutes at the end. Meanwhile, start on the meatballs.
  • Step 3

    Wash and shake the fresh coriander dry. Chop the leaves. Put the beef in a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, garlic, ginger, cumin, ground coriander, remaining 50ml of coconut milk and ½ the chopped coriander.
  • Step 4

    Add a pinch of cayenne (see cook's note). Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Mix the beef and spices together well and divide into 12 equal sized balls. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the frying pan and add the meatballs, pushing them down a little with a spatula to give them more surface contact with the pan.
  • Step 5

    Brown well on one side then flip them over. When nicely browned on the bottom, add the tomatoes to the pan along with 100ml of water. Simmer the pan for 4-5 minutes until the meatballs have cooked through.
  • Step 6

    Remove them and keep to one side to rest. Add the spinach to the pan until it wilts completely, about 2 minutes. Stir in the yoghurt. Season the spinach well with salt and pepper. If you have a food processor you can blend the spinach into a smoother sauce at this point if you like.
  • Step 7

    If you want a kick to the sauce you can add a little of the remaining cayenne pepper. Add the meatballs back to the sauce and warm everything together for a couple of minutes. Serve the piles of bright yellow rice topped with the spinach sauce and the meatballs. Garnish with the remaining coriander.

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