We took Milk Street's take on Indian kofta (meatballs) and rolled in a few flavor tricks of our own including Harissa Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Madras Curry. We love what the roasted cashews and coconut do for this dish. You know what we love the most? Using the same skillet three times! All the steps in this recipe are accomplished in the same skillet with no need to clean between. Brilliant!
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 Tbl Harissa Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
5 large garlic cloves, minced
1¼ cups unsalted roasted cashews
1 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems (trim the bottom portion)
1 lb lean ground beef
¾ cup coconut milk, divided
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, beaten
1 Tbl Madras Curry Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala, divided
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
14½-ounce can crushed tomatoes
In a 12-inch skillet over medium, toast the coconut, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor.
In the same skillet heated to medium, heat 2 Tbl Harissa Extra Virgin Olive Oil until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer half to a mixing bowl to use in the meatball mixture. Set the other half aside; it will be used in the sauce.
Add the cashews to the food processor and pulse until finely ground, about 10 pulses. Remove ¼ cup of this mixture and set aside. Add 1 1/2 cups cilantro to the food processor, and process until finely chopped, about 30 seconds.
Transfer the cococnut-cashew-cilantro mixture to the bowl with the sautéed onions. Stir to combine. Add in the beef, ¼ cup coconut milk, egg, egg yolk, 1 Tbl Madras Curry Powder, ½ tsp Garam Masala and 1 tsp salt. Mix well, then shape into sixteen 2-inch meatballs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes. The meatballs can also be frozen at this point. Place in the freezer on a sheet pan until frozen. Then transfer the frozen meatballs to a zip top bag. Freeze for up to 6 months.
In the same skillet used for the coconut and onions, heat the remaining 1 Tbl Harissa Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until browned on the bottoms, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining onion mixture, the remaining ½ cup coconut milk, the remaining 1/2 tsp garam masala and the tomatoes. Stir gently, loosening the meatballs from the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook at a gentle simmer until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust with salt if needed.
Serve with fluffy basmati or jasmine rice or with warm naan. Garnish servings with the reserved cashew-coconut mixture and fresh cilantro.