Indian Style Kofta Meatloaf

Kofta is minced meat on a skewer.
Why not serve one as a meatloaf?

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Serves: 6 • Prep Time: N/A • Cook Time: 35 mins

Straight from the Forq Kitchen!
by Daniela Bowker


Indian Style Kofta Meatloaf

A meatloaf recipe with a twist from the Forq Test Kitchen

This meatloaf recipe could be regarded as the pinnacle of cultural assimilation and pressing time constraints. The meatloaf takes just one of the thousands of variations on kofta—the Indian sub-continental version of ‘meatballs’—and rather rudely bludgeons those individually hand-crafted, apricot-sized balls of spiced meat into one enormous, time-saving meatloaf with the sauce served on the side. When you remember that meatloaf is nothing more than a giant meatball, it makes perfect sense. If you would prefer to roll the meatloaf mixture into kofta/meatballs rather than go down the meatloaf route, the recipe requires no adjustment. Just blast the balls in a hot oven for ten minutes before poaching them in the spiced sauce until they’re cooked through.

Maybe you’re wondering how we decided in the Forq Test Kitchen that kofta would make a good meatloaf recipe? Isn’t meatloaf tasty and delicious enough as it is? Yes, yes, it is. Basic, classic meatloaf is delicious. But I also happen to adore any food from the Indian sub-continent. To make the change from tiny meatballs to giant meatloaf when I wanted kofta but didn’t have the patience to stand in my kitchen for 30 minutes forming little spheres of meat to feed four people wasn’t so much of a giant leap as it was a shuffle of convenience.

The secret to this meatloaf is to maintain a balance in the flavours between the meatloaf and the sauce. While the spicing in this meatloaf recipe is both delicate and flavourful, it’s the sauce that’s packs the punch and is the star of the show.

Now, this might seem like a very long list of ingredients for a meatloaf recipe, where meatloaf is always intended to be a simple, home-y dish, but I promise you that each ingredient has a role to play in bringing about a tasty meatloaf with a rich and delicious sauce. Don’t forget that if you don’t use fresh ginger regularly it freezes brilliantly. You can peel and grate it straight from the freezer. As for the other spices, there aren’t that many of them and doubtless you have them in the pantry anyway for recipes other than meatloaf. Oh, and do use lamb for this! Its tender sweetness works best with the spices for a brilliant meatloaf.

The secret to this meatloaf is to maintain a balance in the flavours between the meatloaf and the sauce. While the spicing in this meatloaf recipe is both delicate and flavourful, it’s the sauce that’s packs the punch and is the star of the show. You couldn’t have both the meatloaf and the sauce heavily spiced or it would be overwhelming. And if you find the spicing in the sauce not to your liking, adjust it to make more or less fiery!

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Directions

Here’s how to make this delicious meatloaf recipe

Preheat your oven to 170º Celsius (340º Fahrenheit).

Begin by making the breadcrumbs. Lightly toast two slices of bread–the crusts of the loaf are ideal, or use bread that is just stale–and then whizz in a food processor to produce crumbs.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the meatloaf ingredients and mix well. Even with all of the spices, it is by far the easiest approach to use your hands to do this. It will amalgamate all of the components in a way that a wooden or metal spoon, or indeed any other implement, just cannot manage. If you’re not too keen on the sensation, you can always wear a pair of disposable gloves.

When the meatloaf mixture is smooth and holding a firm shape, transfer it to an oiled two-pound loaf tin and place it in the pre-heated oven for about one hour. It might take a little longer, but you will know it’s ready when the top is beginning to brown and the edges of the loaf are pulling away from the sides of the tin.

While the meatloaf is cooking, get on with the spiced tomato sauce.

In a large frying pan, heat two tablespoons of oil and fry off the onions, garlic, and chilli until the onion is translucent. I’ve said to use chilli to taste here, because what appeals to one family’s palate won’t appeal to another. You know what you prefer! For convenience, I’ve started using a rather pungent Italian chilli paste that comes in a tube. This sauce takes about one teaspoon of the chilli paste for my family’s liking.

When the onions are translucent and the chilli has aromatised (be careful, you don’t want to cough on the fumes), add the ground spices and the freshly grated ginger to the pan and fry them off. This will take a minute or two.

As soon as the aroma from the spices is beginning to rise, pour in the chopped tomatoes and the coconut milk. Stir the mixture well to distribute the spices throughout it, season with salt and pepper, and allow it to cook on a steady simmer for 15 or 20 minutes until the sauce is thick and luscious.

About halfway into the sauce’s cooking time, add the sugar and lemon juice. These two ingredients seem to magically round-off and brighten the flavour of the sauce in one go. Don’t forget to test the sauce ensure that it is both sufficiently spicy and well seasoned at this point, either. There are a lot of flavours going on here and you might need to add a little more of this or a shake of that to bring it into line with your preferences. I would recommend testing it again about five minutes before you think it has finished cooking. You can always adjust it once more if it needs it.

The sauce will probably be cooked before the meatloaf, but not to worry: it can sit on the hob, doing not very much until you’re ready to serve.

As soon as the meatloaf is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to stand in the tin for ten minutes so that it can settle. Tip the meatloaf out onto a platter so that you can bring it to the table with the spiced sauce and whatever you choose to serve alongside it. Being a curry-style dish, rice is the obvious choice of carbohydrate, and I would recommend some lightly steamed spinach, too. If you’d rather wilt your spinach in a pan with garlic and a grating of nutmeg, I would be delighted.

Ingredients

  • 800g (28 oz) minced lamb
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Half teaspoon cinnamon
  • Half teaspoon cumin
  • 1.5 cm (3/4 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Chilli to taste
  • 2 teaspoons garam massala
  • Half teaspoon cinnamon
  • Half teaspoon cumin
  • 3 cm (about 1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • Oil for frying
  • 400g (14 oz) tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g (14 oz) tin coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Squeeze lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

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Who’s Cooking Today

Daniela Bowker

Daniela Bowker allegedly lives in the UK and supposedly writes for a living. She definitely travels and eats food for fun. She’s tried a sweet bean stew in a backstreet eatery Hong Kong, pad thai on a street corner in Bangkok, and had meroavi Yerushelami at the market in Jerusalem, not to mention reindeer in Norway, caponata in Sicily, and tagine in Morocco.

She often manages to work food analogies into her everyday writing, so do be on the look out for likening self­portraits to lasagne and multiplicitous images to cakes over on Photocritic. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram, and on Flickr, too.

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