Monday, August 30, 2010

Indian Style Chicken Meatball -- baked and frozen

I am a hypocrite. I eat meat and yet I am queasy to discuss it's source. I am fine picking up a tray of frozen chicken legs, which look so pale and white and detached sitting besides the tray of chicken nuggets that you would doubt they ever belonged to any creature roaming the face of earth.

And all this when I spent a good chunk of my years in a country where we never went to air-conditioned super markets and where carcasses with all gory details hung at the street side butchers. I wouldn't look at them. I would shield my eyes and look the other way when I passed them on familiar routes. I knew the Sunday Pathar Mangsho'r jhol did not just magically happen and Baba sourced the mutton from these very places. And yet I never ever decided to give up meat. Did I tell you, I am a hypocrite ?

The tray of frozen chicken legs however do not taste good. The small Cornish hen is the best but then I have to cajole the husband into cutting and cleaning. Now the chicken from the small Halal Meat Shop, owned by the bald headed Middle Eastern Guy who also sells Majdool dates, is much better. So there the husband is sent every Saturday to get meat to be cooked into rich curries with pale green cardamom and slender sticks of cinnamon. I sit in the car outside hoping that pieces are done right, the skin is off and the bird forgives me.

And then one fine day I decide to take over. I enter the small store, the bell tinkles marking my entry or is it announcing the turn in my life. The store smells heavily of incense and some ballad seeping in dessert love plays somewhere. The butcher is an amiable middle aged man with a heavy accent. I am not sure about his English and give out instructions in Hindi. I call him "Bhaiya" and tell him exactly how I want my pieces. And then I run away to the front of the store. I don't look at his work.

Back home the husband says the store is owned by Egyptians and none of them understand Hindi.

Couple of months later and I am bolder. He, the butcher, now calls me "Sister". I still talk to him in Hindi mixed with English. He talks to me in his own language mixed with English. We exchange pleasantries. All is well. I still hesitate to tell him how I want, what I want, but he understands. He makes me minced meat out of chicken breasts. I know he is not putting in anything but that in his grinder. I feel better and on the way out I also get some dates.

BS loves meatballs. They make her happy and sweet. I used to get a pack of frozen turkey meatballs for her from the PriceClub. She liked them, I was ok.

But then I realized that we could freeze meatballs in a mail from Happy Cook when she tried my Kofta Curry. I wasn't sure if they would be soft on baking though. Like these Chicken Masala balls of mine are softer on frying than baking. And then I saw this recipe and the blogger saying that these freeze very well and she also baked it.

So I added breadcrumbs and eggs to the ground chicken along with all spices I usually do. I added some mint and corriander leaves for that Indian herb feel. I did not add onion. If using onion I would suggest you fry them and then make a paste or add to ground chicken. Also you can go totally creative and add your own spice combo to the minced meat.

I made some fresh meatballs and immediately baked them. They tasted great. I think the eggs made them really soft and juicy on the inside. Then I froze them raw in a single layer in the freezer. After they were all individually frozen, I put each days portions into separate freezer bags. I have used them up within 7-10 days so far. They work great in Pasta, in a sandwich, wrapped in a Roti or just by themselves. Update: I fried some and added them in a curry yesterday and it was a quick delicious meal.

How do you make your meatball ? How about a veggie ball ? If you haven't done either, time is up, do it now. It is easy and saves you a lot of time on a busy work day.
Update: To make things clear, I froze the raw meatballs. But Kay says in her comment that she bakes and freezes them, whick makes it even better. She does not add egg and adds molasses and they stay good for 3 weeks.


Spicy Chicken Meatballs

I got my ground chicken freshly made from my local butcher. I had about 1lb & little more of ground chicken.

Made a paste with
3-4 fat garlic cloves
2 tbsp of chopped ginger
6-8 cloves
1" stick cinnamon(optional)
handful of mint and corriander leaves
4-5 green chili(optional, I don't add)
Note: Add very little water while making the paste

To the ground chicken add the following
the paste made above
1/2 tsp of Garam masala Powder (from here)
1/2 tsp of Cumin or Corriander powder (lightly roast and powder the seeds)
1/2 tsp of Kasoori Methi crushed between your palms
1/4 cup bread crumbs (this is eyeballed, adjust as needed for binding)
1 egg beaten well(it is fine if you skip the egg)
salt to taste
pepper powder to taste
a sprinkle of Thyme
few drops of Olive Oil

2nd Option:
If you are a lazy bum like me and want to get away with something more quick, then do this
In a bowl add the ground chicken
To it add
Finely chopped red onion
Minced garlic
Tandoori Masala(Raja Brand is good)
Finely chopped mint and coriander leaves
Bread Crumbs

Salt and pepper

Work everything well into the mix

Fashion balls or patties of this mix. Freeze them in single layer. Note: Usually I will make one ball, fry and do a taste test. I will then adjust the seasonings in the mix and proceed to make the other meatballs.

Fry them or bake them to serve. While frying very little oil is needed if you have shaped them like burger shaped patties.

Similar Recipes:

Chicken Masala Balls

Kofta Curry


  1. Now that you learned the technic of freezing you will freeze much more variety of food items. I fo that always so i hav ealways home made food than going for a take out or buying from a delli.
    Meat balls looks really yumm.

  2. The meatball sandwich looked delicious. Loved the story of your meat shopping

  3. Fantastic meatballs..thanks for sharing about freezing..

  4. LOved the freezing option..that really saves time and can be used in varities.....thanks for sharing....

  5. They look so good Sandeepa. I am going to give it a go with turkey mince which I get readily available in our Amish market.

  6. wow!!yummy meatball...never tried dis...gud one.

  7. Hmm.. this is valuable info.. thanks for sharing your discovery! And that taste-test of urs is such a good idea. Will definitely make this sometime.

  8. i am exactly like you in the hypocrisy department. couldn't help smiling when i read that :)

  9. I guess we all are hypocrites at some level, but it takes a really honest person to admit it :)

    The meatballs look really delicious. We do get freshly minced chicken here but for some reason never thought to buy it like that. Instead I buy chicken, cook it in the pressure cooker with spices, shred it and run it through the blender with chana dal, egg and spices to make cutlets/meatballs.

    The freezing is interesting because this way I can go to all that trouble for more than one meal!

  10. Great recipe ..... luv d story behind meat shopping :) I can imagine myself at ur place.

    Cheers n Happy Cooking,

  11. Been there, doing that! :-D - the hypocrisy, the communication in two-three different languages ... the one or two times I tried making kheema koftas, they came undone.

  12. HC

    What else can I freeze ? Except dals of course


    Will post the sandwich when I make it again


    Yeah that is a neat idea.


    Hyan busy din e kaaj e lage


    let me know how it turns out and what spices you added. i keep changing mine.

    Rekha, NotYet, Aparna

    Thank You


    yes this works really well for me. These balls can also be put into curries like I did yesterday.


    You eat meat ?????


    Wow that must taste good.

    Thanks :)


    Egg acts as a good binder. Even chana dal as Miri suggested. Try and it will never come off.

  13. This reminds me that I have some chicken balls in the freezer that I need to use up. I normally freeze the uncooked ones and bake/fry them fresh as needed.

    Oh and the question on what else can you freeze? Marinated lamb chops, marinated fish for fish fry, sambar - these are a few things that I freeze often. Comes in handy for a quick meal.

  14. Sandeepa!...Aami back to your virtual place now ! (and I thought of you many times!). Karonta tumi hoito guess korecho: a few month old infant! Now everything you do takes on a different shade for me, as I wonder how you do it all. Tomake porey mail korbo. Ekhono prochur basto, kintu getting better. I am drooling seeing all the goodies I missed for a while.

  15. Sandeepa, I do put very finely cut raw onions in the meatballs and they turn out very good. Makes the meatballs moist. And yes, I bake and freeze them as well - I make a huge batch that lasts 3 weeks. And when I pack lunch I put the frozen meatballs in my lunch container and by next day lunch time, it has softened up and absorbed quite the amount of curry. I mostly use turkey meat. And since I can't eat gluten, I put some coconut flour. I also add in 1 tbsp molasses to add some kick. It tastes good and I don't need an egg to bind the stuff together.

    Frozen meatballs rock my world too!! :)

  16. Thanks for this one! bishesh kore ei freeze korar idea. ami fridge- rekhe kori kintu freeze korini kokhono!

  17. Woaw, my dear, you have such a talent for writing. I can really imagine your Egyptian butcher and you entering the shop!
    These chicken balls looks delicious and I will try them for my meat-eating husband!! Yeah... I am a vegetarian who will cook meat for her loved ones...

  18. Hi Sandeepa,
    Love your meatballs. Bhaiya-Sister story ta pode bhishon hashlam. I do the similar acts when it comes to buying chicken from an Asian store in UK...I look through the shop glass wall and observe my hubby's movements.Best part I learnt was freezing. I am not so good at freezing things. Hopefully I shall try this.

  19. Hi sandeepa,
    you can also grind the chicken breasts in your food processor. Washington Post did a great recipe for indian style chicken breast burgers using the food processor.

  20. Great idea! I freeze everything... so nice to have stash of freshly frozen food when you're exhausted and much better than buying things like chicken nuggets!!

  21. You chicken balls look really moist.

  22. I guess we are all hypocrites at some point or the other; when I was in india,I used to turn away from the so called shops too ;-)

    My baked meatballs-

  23. Yum, those look scrumptious! TRhey look great in the sandwich too!

  24. what is the temp setting for baking?


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