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Spicy Meatball Curry

by Adina 07/11/2019 14 comments

meatball curry ready to be served
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Last Updated on 26/03/2020 by Adina


A spicy meatball curry with turkey meatballs, turmeric and lots of other spices, this kofta curry is one of the best I’ve ever had.




Turkey Meatballs in Turmeric Sauce


This meatball curry must be one of the spiciest dishes I have ever cooked myself. And I don’t mean necessarily hot, the sauce is kind of hot but not extremely so, but really spicy.

I literally plundered my spice cabinet when cooking these delicious turkey meatballs curry. And not to forget the garlic, there is lots of it in there.

I made the turkey meatballs curry only recently for the first time, but such a big pot full of it, that we were able to eat it two days in a row.

My husband even got to take the last three or four meatballs for his work lunch as well and let me tell you, he didn’t complain one bit about it. He usually eats what I cook without complaining (except when it comes to eggplants and a few other choice veggies), but he is not very generous with his praise.

He would say it tastes good once and maybe elaborate a bit if I insist, but he usually won’t go over the edge. So when, during a meal, he tells me about 3 or 4 that it tastes really good without me even asking, and when the next day after eating the same meal, he tells me it tastes even better than the day before and then he takes the leftovers to work the third day, then I know I am on to something. 🙂

So this meatball curry is a keep recipe: easy, delicious, healthy and so full of flavor.


Turkey Meatballs in Turmeric Sauce



There are two main ingredients in this meatball curry: the ground meat and the spices.

Ground meat:

  • I used turkey ground meat or mince because I like it and it makes this dish even leaner than it already is.
  • Ground beef can be used instead.


As mentioned above, you will need lots of them. Make sure your spice jars are not too empty before you start cooking and that you have enough garlic in the house. 🙂

The list of ingredients might seem long at first sight, but don’t worry, there is nothing special on it, just the spices that most people already have in their cupboards.

You will also need fresh garlic and ginger.

Ground turmeric, Spicy Meatball Curry doesn’t play the main role, like in most of the other recipes in this Turmeric series, but it is definitely an important part of the combination.

I used fresh turmeric, because I had it in the house, but feel free to replace it with ground turmeric.

Other spices:

Curry powder, Spicy Meatball Curry – your favorite kind. Just make sure you know how hot the curry powder is and use accordingly. For instance, 4 teaspoons of red curry powder will probably make this meatball curry inedible, it would be way too hot.
Garam Masala , Spicy Meatball Curry – also very easy to find nowadays, but if you cannot find it, you can always make your own garam masala.

Ground cumin, Spicy Meatball Curry

Ground coriander , Spicy Meatball Curry

Cayenne pepper, Spicy Meatball Curry

Dried red pepper flakes, Spicy Meatball Curry

Black pepper, Spicy Meatball Curry


Turkey Meatballs in Turmeric Sauce



  • The source for this recipe is Bon Apetit, but I’ve made a few changes.
  • I used turkey mince instead of beef to make it lighter (and because I like turkey mince).
  • I also reduced the requested oil quantity and I left out the chilies, I had to keep the kids in mind and it turns out that the meatball curry was hot enough as it was, without any jalapenos or chiles de arbol in it. I couldn’t have used those anyway, there’s no way I can buy them around here.
  • Make sure you mix the meatball mixture well until it gets slightly sticky. I always do that with the hand.
  • Wet your hands when forming these turkey meatballs or any other meatballs. It really does help, the meat will not stick to your hands.
  • Search for the spices and measure them in a small bowl before you start cooking or while the onion-garlic mixture cooks. If you start looking for them just before they have to come into the pan, the onion mixture might turn to dark due to the long waiting time.
  • You will need to puree the sauce but, if using a white hand blender, be aware that it will not be white anymore after making this sauce.
  • Turmeric will make it yellow, so if you want to avoid that use a food processor, a dark colored blender or one made of another material than plastic.
  • Also the sauce is very hot, don’t burn yourself when blending.


Turkey Meatballs in Turmeric Sauce



Serve the turkey meatball curry imediatelly or reheat it at a later point. The meatball curry is a great dish to serve to guests as it can be made well in advance and be reheated just before serving. Not to mention that it tastes fantastic!!!

You can serve the meatball curry with plain rice (white or brown), naan bread, couscous or other grains like quinoa or bulgur.




Chicken Meatballs in Sauce

Zucchini Beef Meatballs

Beef Kofta Recipe – Spicy Turkish Meatballs

Spanish Meatballs in Tomato Sauce – Albondigas

Polish Meatballs with Gravy




meatball curry in a white bowl


meatball curry ready to be served

Spicy Meatball Curry

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A spicy meatball curry with turkey meatballs, turmeric and lots of other spices, this kofta curry is one of the best I've ever had.




  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Roughly chop the scallions, garlic cloves and ginger. Place them in a (small) blender together with the lemon juice, garam masala, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili flakes and puree until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl and add the ground meat, beaten egg, yogurt and salt. Mix well with your hands until the mixture is quite sticky.
  4. With wet hands form the meatballs, about 35 of them. Place them on the prepared baking tray and bake for about 15-20 minutes until lightly brown and cooked through. Take out of the oven and set aside.

Curry sauce:

  1. Chop the onions finely. Grate or crush the garlic cloves and grate the ginger and fresh turmeric. Heat two tablespoons oil in a large pan and cook the onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric until slightly starting to get brown, about 8 minutes, while stirring often.
  2. Add the ground turmeric, curry powder, cumin, coriander and black pepper and continue stirring until fragrant, about 1 or 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped canned tomatoes, water, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes.
  4. Blend the sauce. If using a white hand blender, be aware that it will not be white anymore after making this sauce. Turmeric will make it yellow, so if you want to avoid that use a food processor, a dark colored blender or one made of another material than plastic. The sauce is very hot, don't burn yourself when blending.
  5. Adjust the taste with lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt.
  6. Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer very gently for further 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with rice.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: about 4-5 meatballs with sauce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 389Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 1469mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 32g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.


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[email protected]'s Recipes 28/09/2016 - 09:11

I want to drink that curry gravy !!

Allie 28/09/2016 - 18:19

I love this great dish Adina. And this series. Turmeric is such a wonderful spice with such great benefits. I can see why your husband loves this dish so much! Tons of flavor. Love the garlic too.

Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary 28/09/2016 - 18:56

Oh my goodness, I’ve never met a meatball I don’t like, especially when they are in a soup or a thick sauce, so I am loooooving these! That tumeric sauce looks absolutely delicious, girlfriend! Cheers!

grace 29/09/2016 - 15:58

this is supreme comfort food, especially as the chill begins to creep into the air! great recipe and wonderful use of turmeric!

Meghan | Fox and Briar 29/09/2016 - 18:38

I love all the spices in these! I would never think to use turmeric in meatballs but I bet it tastes amazing! Pinning!

Sissi 29/09/2016 - 21:55

First of all it’s such a beautiful dish…. and secondly, we seem to crave meat balls at the same time because I had meatballs (chicken meat, so very close!) last weekend! I am not very fond of ground beef alone (I prefer all other meats or beef+pork), so I am sure I’d prefer your turkey version. It does sound filling, but healthy and light. My kind of dish.

Monica 30/09/2016 - 02:52

I want to scoop some of these meatballs right onto my plate!! Great use of spices and just love your cooking along a theme like this…

Anu - My Ginger Garlic Kitchen 30/09/2016 - 08:22

Meatballs in turmeric sauce sound incredibly delish, Adina. I love turmeric and this one is calling my name. Love all the ingredients you have used here.

Kathryn @ Family Food on the Table 30/09/2016 - 21:10

I’d be trying to take all the leftovers too – these look fantastic! I’m all about using turkey in my meatballs and I love how loaded up with spices these are. Sounds so flavorful!

Denise 01/10/2016 - 03:42

What a great looking, hearty dish. Love anything with turmeric.

Anne|Craving Something Healthy 05/10/2016 - 17:54

Adina – I have all of these spices in my cabinet but I can never think of what to do with them. Thanks for this recipe – it sounds absolutely delicious!

Kelly | Foodtasia 12/11/2019 - 10:34

Adina, these meatballs look so amazing! I have a pack of mince in the fridge. I was going to make meatloaf, but change of plans – now I’m definitely making these! That sauce looks so yummy!

Adina 12/11/2019 - 10:59

Hi Kelly. Let me know if you like them. 🙂

mjskitchen 14/11/2019 - 04:31

What a fantastic variation of a bowl of meatballs. Have never had a meatball curry, espeically one that doesn’t have the standard Italian tomato sauce. This is a really exciting bowl and one I’m dying to try. Pinned for the holidays! thanks Adina!


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