Lamb koftas in yogurt with cinnamon and chilli

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Lamb koftas are one of the classics of Indian cuisine, well adopted by Westerners around the world. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat—usually beef, chicken, lamb, or pork—mixed with spices and/or onions. In India, vegetarian varieties include koftas made from potato, calabash, paneer, or banana. In Europe, kofta is served as fast food as a type of kebab. Koftas in India are usually served cooked in a spicy curry/gravy and are eaten with boiled rice or a variety of Indian breads. In Bengal, a region of eastern India, koftas are made from prawns, fish, green bananas, cabbage or meat, such as minced goat meat. In Kashmir, mutton is often used in the preparation of koftas, as opposed to beef or lamb. These koftas make a very good first course or snack.


For koftas

300 g lamb mince

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp Garam Masala

½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Small handful of mint leaves

Small handful of coriander

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying

lamb koftas

For the spiced yogurt

400 ml natural yogurt

½ tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling

Pinch of Kashmiri chilli powder, plus extra for sprinkling

Flat bread (chapatis, naan, parathas) to serve


For the koftas, pull all the kofta ingredients apart from the vegetable oil into a food processor. Blend to a very smooth paste. Take heaped teaspoon of the kofta mixture and, using wet hands, roll into small balls roughly 5 cm in diameter.

Heat the oil in a wide frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the koftas in batches for about 7 – 10 minutes, turning a few times, until browned and cooked through.

For the spiced yogurt, mix the yogurt in a bowl with the cinnamon and chilli powder, adding a dash of water to thin it down if needed to give it a smooth and runny consistency.

Drizzle the yogurt over the hot koftas, sprinkle with a little more cinnamon and chilli powder. Serve with Indian breads.