Kesari Murgh Kofta Recipe

Kesari Murgh Kofta Recipe
Koftas are delicious bite size Indian dumplings (vegetarian) or meatballs. They can be made from a variety of ingredients such as lamb, chicken, seafood, paneer or vegetables. They can be eaten as an appetizer, snack or side dish. Most often they are cooked in a spicy curry and served with naans or Basmati rice.

Koftas are most likely Middle Eastern or Persian in origin. They were introduced into Indian cuisine by the Mughals in the 16th century and remain a favorite among North Indians.

This is one of my favorite kofta recipes. The addition of saffron adds a touch of both elegance and decadence. I know they can labor intensive, so I recommend making a few extra and freezing them for a rainy day. That way, you can make the curry and just add the frozen koftas. Gently simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes and they are ready to serve. This trick works great for those last minute dinner parties!

KESARI MURGH KOFTAS (Chicken Meatballs with Saffron)


1 lb of ground chicken (or you can use ground turkey, lamb or beef)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1-2 small green Thai chilies, finely minced
1 large egg
generous pinch of saffron, soaked in a little lukewarm milk (2 tbsp)
½ tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp ground coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
oil for pan frying, vegetable or canola

For the Curry:

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
2-3 small green Thai chilies, finely minced
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tbsp cashew paste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp ground coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp red chili powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
½ cup of cream (or yogurt)
1-2 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped for garnish


*To make the cashew paste:

Soak about ½ cup of raw unsalted cashew pieces in a little milk (¼ cup) for at least 30 minutes. Grind to a thick paste using a mini food processor or blender.

*To make the koftas:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat with the ginger, garlic and green chilies. Then add the spices (salt, pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric and garam masala). Add the saffron along with its soaking liquid. Add the egg and the cilantro leaves; gently fold all of the ingredients to combine. Do not over mix. Make small uniformly shaped meatballs and set aside until needed.

In a large frying pan on high heat, add 1-2 tbsp. of oil. When the oil is hot, carefully add the meatballs, making sure not to overcrowd the pan (this may be done in batches). Fry until just browned on all sides. Drain well and set aside.

At this point, they can be served as appetizers with your favorite chutneys or sauces. Also, once they have cooled, you can freeze any extra koftas in an airtight plastic freezer bag or container.

*To make the curry:

In a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add 1 tbsp of the oil. When hot, add the onions. Stir fry for a few minutes and then add the ginger, garlic and green chilies. Stir fry until golden brown. Add the cashew paste and the spices (salt, pepper, turmeric, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, garam masala and red chili powder). Stir and let the spices fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine all the ingredients. Add water as needed to make a curry of desired consistency.

At this point, you can either leave the curry as is for a more rustic texture or you can let the curry cool a bit and then puree it using a hand immersion blender or a regular blender for a more smooth textured curry.

To finish the curry, carefully add the koftas into the curry, cover and gently simmer for 5-6 minutes. Finish with cream and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with fresh rotis and Basmati rice.

You Should Also Read:
Sweet Potato Kofta Recipe
Cashew Saffron Shrimp Curry

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