Kola urundai kulambu is a chettinadu speciality dish. This meat balls curry cooked in a coconut rich gravy is a tasty side dish for rice and chapathi.
This recipe can be intimidating to someone who has never tried this before. But it is not very difficult and it is quite tasty so do try it. This is usually done with mutton but I am making this with chicken.
You will be doing quite a bit of grinding. If you can purchase minced meat from the shop, go for it or else you can use a blender to grind the meat. Buy boneless meat if possible.
This can be done as a dry appetizer as well as a gravy. I am going to show both the methods. Now lets cook some yummy kola urundai kulambu. Shall we?
Ginger, garlic – wash, peel.
Curry leaves and coriander leaves – washed and finely chopped
Roasted gram – powder it in the blender.
Onions and tomatoes – washed and chopped.
The regular Indian masala spices like fennel seeds, bay leaves, cloves, aniseed, cinnamon and cardamom.
Blend ginger and garlic. Half of this paste will be used for the gravy and other half will be used for the meat balls or else meat balls will be bland and tasteless.
Since I will be adding the ginger and garlic paste to the meat, I also crush a couple of green chillies with this paste.
Paste is ready.
Next grind green chillies, coriander leaves / cilantro with half the amount of curry leaves.
This green paste will be used in the gravy.
Extract a glass of coconut milk. Soak shredded coconut is warm water and blend. Squeeze out the milk. This first batch will be thick coconut milk. Add water again and blend again. This coconut milk will be thin milk and this will be used to cook the gravy first and the thick milk can be added later.
I try to cook fast and exit the kitchen as fast as I can. I am not a person who likes to spend hours trying out elaborate dishes. So I multi-task as much as possible. So we will start with the gravy first and when it is cooking, we can fry the dry meat balls side by side.
Heat oil in a pan and fry all the spices one by one starting with the fennel seeds.
The meat balls will break if the gravy has a lot of chunks in it. So some prefer to remove these fried spices and add it later when the meat balls have cooked.
Slightly blend the chopped onions in a blender so we don’t have chunks in the gravy.
Add the onions to the pan and stir fry for a few minutes.
Add half of the ginger, garlic and chilli paste.
When this has cooked for 3 -5 minutes, add the green paste (curry leaves, cilantro and green chilli paste).
Add turmeric powder and salt.
Blend tomatoes and add to the pan.
Allow everything to cook and then add thin coconut milk.
Add water if necessary and allow the gravy to cook very well. The gravy should be boiling when we add the meat balls.
When the gravy is getting cooked, lets make the dry meat balls. These can be served as appetizers with chutney or sauce.
Blend meat in the blender in batches with salt.
When the meat has been blended, add some of the ginger and garlic paste and a handful of onions and blend it for a few seconds so the onions are not fully mashed. You can also add curry leaves and cilantro in the blender. But I usually finely chop them and add them to the meat.
The meat has been blended with salt, onion and spices. It will not be bland and tasteless. We now will mix the blended meat with roasted gram powder. Have a cup of oil ready. The balls will be dipped in this oil and then added to the gravy. Some also dip the balls in beaten egg before frying them.
The meat will have some moisture. Add just enough roasted gram so that the consistency is like the meat shown below. After mixing with the roasted gram, we are ready to roll this into balls. Since we mix with gram flour powder, the quantity will increase. So even a little meat is enough for this recipe.
Roll it into balls. Half of this will be used for frying and other half will be used in the gravy. We will NOT be frying the balls that will go into the gravy.
Fry in medium heat so that the meat gets cooked well. In high heat, the outer surface will get burnt and inside will be uncooked.
If you are using mutton, then you can steam cook the mutton pieces in pressure cooker and then blend it. Some also cook it in a pan after grinding it in the blender. If this is the first time you are going to try this dish, try with chicken first.
Chicken kola urundai / spicy chicken meat balls is ready.
Now our gravy is boiling. Let us continue cooking the gravy / kulambu.
Meat balls are ready and the gravy is boiling.
Like I mentioned above, dip in the oil and add one by one to the gravy.
After adding a ball, gently lift it up so that it does not stick to the pan.
Allow the balls to cook and when they are cooked, you can allow the gravy to simmer for a few minutes to get the desired consistency.
Add thick coconut milk just before removing the gravy from the stove.
A spoon of roasted gram powder can also be mixed with a little water and added to the gravy to thicken it. My gravy was thick enough so I did not require this step.
After cooking, keep the hot piping gravy tightly covered for sometime. This will allow the spices and gravy to seep into the meat balls and increase the taste.