Urundaikkari Vellai Kuzhambu (Meatballs in White Gravy)

Happy Easter everyone! Here is a special meatball curry to help you break your Lenten fast (if you’ve been fasting). This is such an ancient recipe it might as well have come from the Biblical age. I have never seen my mother or my aunt prepare this. I discovered it during an archaeological dig into an old family recipe book with a pencilled inscription saying ‘Aatha’ which would indicate that it is from my great grandmother who was from Thanjavur. Any history beyond that is shrouded in the mists of time 🙂

Urundaikkari Vellai Kuzhambu - Kalas Kalai

Urundaikkari Vellai Kuzhambu (Meatballs in White Gravy)

The taste, though mild, is absolutely divine. I serve it along with a plain pulav or fried rice to emphasise its unique flavour, as it would be sacrilege to mask its impact on your palate.

Nutritive Value

Mutton or beef provide protein of very high biological value. The coconut milk furnishes a small amount of fat. This curry is a high protein and medium energy dish.

Ingredients

  • 500 g Mutton or Beef Mince
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Onions, sliced
  • 4 Green Chillies
  • 3 sprigs Curry Leaves
  • Juice from ½ Lime
  • 4 T Ginger Extract
  • 1 C thick Coconut Milk
  • 2 pieces Cinnamon
  • 6 Cloves
  • 1 T Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Sombu Powder (Aniseed)
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 T Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 1 T Vegetable Oil
  • 1 T Salt, or to taste
  • 2 C Water

For the masala

  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • ½ tsp Pepper Corns
  • 10 Sambar Onions (Shallots)
  • 1 sprig Curry Leaves
  • 1 tsp Sombu Powder (Aniseed)

Method

  1. Grind together the ingredients for the masala in a mixie or a blender.
  2. Hand blend the mince with the ground masala, turmeric powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  3. Pressure cook the mince for 15 minutes. Cool, drain the stock, and reserve the stock.
  4. Grind the mince in a mixie or blender, then mix with the 3 eggs and make into small, lime-sized balls.
  5. Grind half of the onion and 2 green chillies.
  6. In 2 cups of water, mix the ground onion and chillie paste, coriander powder, aniseed powder, and the rest of the salt.
  7. Heat the ghee and oil in a large pan. Add cinnamon and cloves. When the cloves begin to swell add the rest of the onion and green chillies.
  8. When the onions become translucent, add the masala water and the reserved stock. Bring to boil.
  9. Add the mince balls gently. When the curry begins to boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes or till the balls begin to float.
  10. Add the lime juice, ginger extract, coconut milk, and curry leaves. Adjust salt. Bring to boil.
  11. Remove immediately from heat.

Notes

  1. The 3 eggs act as a binding agent to hold the shape of the mince balls. Therefore the curry should be heated gently to take it to the boiling point. Vigorous boiling will break the mince balls as the egg will not have time to bind the meat.
  2. To prepare the ginger extract: grate fresh ginger and squeeze the juice into a strainer. You could also grind the grated ginger in a mixie or a blender and then extract the juice. Do not dilute with water.
  3. Add an additional cup of mutton or beef stock along with the masala water to give richness to the curry.
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