As in the Middle East, you find all kinds of meatballs in India, perhaps because whole pieces of meat can be tough. But since minced meat cries out for this kind of aromatic spicing, their meatballs are among the best you could have. This variation offers an exciting surprise, as when you bite into the meatballs a centre of melted white cheese oozes out. Serve them on a bed of leaves accompanied by buttered basmati rice and a tomato salad.
Put the minced meat into a bowl and mash with a large wooden spoon until slightly softened. Extract the seeds from the cardamom pods and put them into a coffee grinder with the coriander seeds and cloves.
Grind finely and stir into the beef with the turmeric and chilli powder. Peel the garlic and chop finely. Whisk the egg lightly. Stir the garlic and egg into the mixture and season with salt.
Using dampened hands, form the mixture into pingpong-sized balls. Then flatten them into circles on an oiled surface. Put a level teaspoon of curd cheese or fromage fra is on each circle and carefully bring the meat up around it to encase the cheese, thus making the balls larger than before. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the meatballs for about 5-7 minutes on each side, turning carefully, until browned all over. Transfer the balls to a serving dish and, if necessary, keep them warm in a low oven until ready to eat. Before serving, sprinkle with roughly chopped coriander leaves.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.