For the meatballs

For the sauce

For the rice


  • STEP 1

    Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment. Tip two-thirds of the lentils into a medium bowl and mash them (the mashed lentils will help bind, the whole ones will add texture). Mix in the whole lentils, lamb, the spices, onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, a good grind of black pepper and a pinch of salt, taking care not to overwork the mixture.

  • STEP 2

    Using slightly damp hands, shape into 18-20 x 4cm meatballs. Lay the meatballs on the prepared tray, cover with cling film and chill while you prepare the sauce. Can be chilled overnight to develop extra flavour, if you like.

  • STEP 3

    Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a non-stick frying or sauté pan, and fry the onion and cumin seeds over a medium heat for 6-8 mins until the onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat slightly to start to brown the onion and stir in the garlic, ginger, ground coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and curry leaves, stir-frying for a few mins. As the onion browns, stir in the cinnamon stick, green chilli, tomatoes and purée, briefly stirring to soften the tomatoes. Pour in 100ml of the coconut milk, scraping the bottom of the pan to gather up any brown sticky bits, and let it bubble briefly and thicken. Pour in 250ml water, bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover and gently simmer for 15-20 mins to thicken very slightly – but keep checking so it doesn’t reduce too much (add a splash of water if needed). Season with pepper.

  • STEP 4

    While the sauce simmers, uncover the meatballs and cook in the oven for 20 mins until cooked through and starting to brown on top – there is no need to turn them. Remove and pat down with kitchen paper to drain off any excess fat. Cook the rice following pack instructions.

  • STEP 5

    Stir the remaining coconut milk into the sauce over a low heat, then add the chopped coriander. Sit the meatballs in the sauce and cook for 5 mins on a very gentle simmer to warm through and blend the flavours, then remove the cinnamon stick.

  • STEP 6

    Meanwhile, cook the beans in a little boiling water for 4 mins, tipping in the peas for the final min. Drain and mix with the cooked rice and a grinding of black pepper. Tip the meatballs into a serving dish or divide between bowls, sprinkle over a little garam masala and the coriander, and serve with the veggie rice.


To cut down on the fat and saturated fat, I swapped half the mince for lentils - which also increased the 5-a-day. I reduced the amount of salt but boosted the flavour with a variety of spices and other flavourings. I used rapeseed oil for frying (only a small amount) and reduced-fat coconut milk, plus I added extra veg to the rice to increase the 5-a-day.

Goes well with


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