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Indian Butter Chicken Meatballs
with cauliflower / spinach / basmati rice

Active: 45 min Total: 45 min

Indian butter chicken is a takeout favorite, but this fun version uses chicken meatballs instead of regular chicken.
Smarts: This recipe makes a large batch of butter curry sauce so that you can set aside a portion to use on Thursday’s Indian Naan Pizza.

Tags

Ingredients

Servings:
4
Metric
Basmati Rice:
  • Water - 1 3/4 cups
  • Rice, uncooked basmati - 1 cup
Indian Butter Curry Sauce (for 2 nights):
  • Garam masala - 4 tsp
  • Coriander, ground - 2 tsp
  • Curry powder, mild - 2 tsp
  • Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/2 tsp
  • Garlic - 4 cloves, chopped
  • Ginger, fresh - 1 Tbsp, grated
  • Butter - 3 Tbsp (sub ghee)
  • Tomatoes, crushed (14 oz / 397 g) - 2 cans
  • Stock, any type - 1/2 cup
  • Half and half - 1/2 cup
Indian Chicken Meatballs:
  • Chicken, ground - 1 lb (sub ground turkey)
  • Eggs - 1
  • Panko breadcrumbs - 1/3 cup
  • Garam masala - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
Indian Meatball Curry:
  • Cauliflower - 1 lb, florets
  • Indian Butter Curry Sauce (ingredients listed separately) - ~2 1/2 cups
  • Indian Chicken Meatballs (ingredients listed separately) - ~20
  • Baby spinach - 5 oz
  • Cilantro leaves - 1/4 cup
  • Yogurt, plain or Greek (opt) - 1/4 cup

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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Prep

  1. Make rice - (Skip if made ahead for Monday.) Fill a saucepan with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then add rice. Bring to a simmer, cover, turn heat down to low, and cook until rice has absorbed all the liquid, 15 to 18 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Make Indian spice blend - Combine garam masala (portion for sauce), ground coriander, curry powder, and red pepper flakes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Cauliflower / Garlic / Ginger - Prep as directed. Store cauliflower in one container. Combine garlic and ginger in another container. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  4. Make meatballs - Combine chicken, eggs, panko, garam masala (portion for meatballs), salt, and black pepper. Gently mix together with a spoon or with your hands. Form into 1” / 2.5 cm balls. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  5. Pre-cook cauliflower - Place cauliflower florets in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and steam until nearly tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

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Make

  1. Heat a Dutch oven or large saute pan over medium heat. Add oil and then meatballs to heated oil. Cook meatballs on all sides until light golden brown (but not cooked all the way through), 6 to 8 minutes. Set meatballs aside and return pan to heat.
  2. To heated pan add butter. When butter melts, stir in spice blend, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant, ~1 minute.
  3. Pour tomatoes and stock over aromatics, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover and simmer sauce for 10 minutes to develop flavor.
  4. Taste sauce and season with some salt if needed. Remove 1 1/2 cups / 400 mL of sauce and reserve for Thursday’s pizza (for 4 servings; adjust if customizing).
  5. To remaining sauce, stir in half and half. Add meatballs and cover. Simmer meatballs in sauce until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes more.
  6. Gently stir cauliflower and spinach into sauce. Cover and cook until spinach is fully wilted, ~2 minutes more.
  7. If rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
  8. Serve meatballs and sauce over rice. Tear cilantro leaves to serve on top. Enjoy with yogurt.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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Reviews

Ratings

Original (48)
Gluten-free (6)
Paleo (3)
Vegetarian (21)

52 reviews

I was really hoping this meal would work out. We could just not eat it. We really tried, but we did not like the flavors and it seemed off. Maybe the spice ratio was off? I honestly have to say this is the first Cooksmarts recipe we did not like.

By: Eric
Posted: Sep 02, 2020
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Good meal - if you do the prep, it’s pretty quick to throw together.

By: Kirsten
Posted: Aug 14, 2020
Diet: Vegetarian
0 Helpful

I liked the idea of this, but it ended up being just okay for how much work/time it took to make. The balance of spices/tomato in the sauce seemed off to me - I think the Garam masala, which I generally love, was overpowering here.

By: Melissa
Posted: Jul 03, 2020
Diet: Original
1 Helpful

This tasted amazing. If I had one complaint, it's that I should have used all of the sauce for the meatballs (especially since I wasn't making the pizza later in the week).

By: Jennifer
Posted: Jul 02, 2020
Diet: Vegetarian
0 Helpful

We adore butter chicken AND meatballs, so I really expected that we'd love this more. In reality, it ended up being more work that regular butter chicken but with somehow less flavor. It was still good, but I don't think I'd go to the trouble of making meatballs again.

By: Tara
Posted: Jun 18, 2020
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Loved this. Actually used Costco meatballs and it was that much easier. Sauce was amazing.

By: Teresa
Posted: Jun 14, 2020
Diet: Original
0 Helpful