Kola Urundai Kuzhambu / South Indian Meatball Curry

Kari Kola Urundai Kuzhambu / Indian Meatballs Curry with Kheema (Minced Goat or Lamb Meat)


A chettinad specialty, and the Indian version of meatballs in a spicy tangy tamarind-based curry. The minced goat meat (kheema) is mixed with a special spice powder made with roasted gram flour, cinnamon, ginger-garlic, chilies, onions, etc. and made into meat balls that then simmer in the tamarind-coconut curry soaking in all the flavors. There is something about meatballs that only meat-eaters can understand.. if you don’t believe me, try watching Rachel Ray make any meatball recipe and you’ll know what I mean!


This is how my grand mom and mom have always made it and it was my very first attempt at making it all on my own. I used to have to wait longingly for mom’s next visit to get my hands on this yummy dish.. well, I guess I can make it now! But I’ll still miss you mom 🙂

PS: If you are vegetarian, don’t go away yet: there’s a meat-less all-vegetarian version of this recipe that I’ll be making soon and will post so you can enjoy some yummy urundai kuzhambu too!!

[updated with new pictures in Feb 2015]

Source: Mom Mom Mom

Cooking Time: 15 mins prep + 35 mins cooking | Serves: 6 (~20 medium meatballs in the curry)


For the meatballs (kola or kari urundai):

  1. 1 lb ground lamb or goat meat (kheema)
  2. 1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
  3. 4-6 curry leaves, finely chopped
  4. 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  5. 3/4 cup roasted Bengal gram dal (pottukadalai / dahlia)
  6. 2 cloves (1 tsp) garlic
  7. 2 inches of fresh ginger
  8. 4 Thai/India green chilies, adjust to taste
  9. 1 small cinnamon stick (1″)
  10. 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  11. 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  12. 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded or chopped
  13. 1/2 tsp ground turmeric powder (haldi)
  14. salt to taste

For the sauce/ curry:

  1. 2 Tbsp oil (coconut preferred)
  2. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  3. 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  4. 2 dry red chilies, broken
  5. 5-6 curry leaves
  6. 1 medium onion, finely chopped (approx. 1/2 cup)
  7. 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (approx. 1 cup)
  8. 3 cloves garlic (1 Tbsp), minced
  9. 1/2 tsp ground turmeric powder
  10. 1 Tbsp ground coriander powder
  11. 1 tsp red chili powder, adjust to taste
  12. 4 cups tamarind water, extracted from golf-ball sized dry tamarind (substitute with about 2 tsp tamarind paste)
  13. 1/2 cup coconut milk (substitute with 1/4 cup shredded coconut, ground to a fine paste with 1/2 cup water)
  14. salt to taste
  15. 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped


Prepare the meatballs (kola urundai / kheema kabab):

  1. Grind together all the ingredients listed under ‘For the meatballs’ from 5 to 14, into a fine dry powder.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients – chopped onions, cilantro and curry leaves – to the ground meat, along with the spice powder and combine using clean hands until the meat mixture reaches a dough-like consistency.
  3. Divide and roll into equal sized balls (flatten slightly to promote even and quicker cooking of the meat), about the size of a lime, and set aside. Note: The meatballs will increase in size when cooked. Use gentle pressure when forming balls, to keep the meatballs aerated and easy to break apart when served.


Prepare the curry:


  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, fennel seeds, curry leaves and dry red chilies and saute until the mustard crackles.
  2. Add the onions and some salt to help it cook faster, and saute for about 5-7 minutes until browning begins.
  3. Add the turmeric powder, minced garlic and tomatoes and saute until tomatoes are soft and mushy.
  4. Add the red chili powder, coriander powder and saute for a minute or so.
  5. Add the tamarind-water and mix well. Check for salt and add if needed. Allow this mixture to come to a boil and then reduce heat.
  6. Gently add the meatballs to the simmering tamarind curry, trying not to overlap any.
  7. Allow the meatballs to cook for about 20 minutes on medium heat, flipping or turning occasionally.
  8. The meatballs will begin to rise and float up to the top of the curry when they are cooked through.
  9. Add the coconut milk and give it a stir taking care not to break the kababs.
  10. Add the chopped cilantro and bring the curry to a boil and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Kola urundai kuzhambu is ready to serve with hot rice or dosa.


  1. You can deep fry or bake at 400-450 degree F (for about 7-10 minutes on each side until well done in the center) these meatballs to make kheema kebabs. They taste awesome and make a great appetizer!
  2. Though 4 cups of tamarind water seems like a lot, all of that is needed to allow the dumplings to cook in the sauce and as it cooks and soaks in the spices, the curry will thicken.
  3. The gram flour is what helps in binding the kababs/ dumplings and it is not required to steam or pre-cook the meatballs before dropping into the curry.

Kola Urundai Kuzhambu (South Indian meatball curry)

12 Responses to “Kola Urundai Kuzhambu / South Indian Meatball Curry”
  1. Zul's Corner says:

    “Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”
    ― Mark Twain

    It came deliciously. And my whole family liked the food. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe.

  2. Raynukaa says:

    Hi, can we freeze the left over kola urundai raw ones and use it later??

    • aishcooks says:

      Absolutely… Just thaw it overnight in the fridge or quickly by leaving out on the countertop for sometime. Freeze them individually in a tray first before bagging it so they don’t lump together if you want them to hold their shape when frozen.

  3. Pavani says:

    I love your site! I tried this out today and it came out well! The koftas didn’t fall apart! Thank you!

  4. Kitty says:

    Hi, thanks for this recipe! It looks absolutely delicious! Why does the minced meat need to be washed? Can this step be skipped? (I’m lazy lol!)

    • Hello Kitty..

      Thanks for stopping by! Oh yeah – you can absolutely skip that step. I guess I’m used to doing that from habit – back in India the meat was not always cleaned very well before being packaged at the butcher’s and mom would always give it a rinse or 2 at home. I’ve stopped washing the packaged meat these days, especially when I know it is a trusted brand/store that I am buying from. So sure.. go on and give that step a skip and try it out when you can. I’m sure you’ll love it!

      – Aish

  5. Priya says:

    Aishoo tried this recipe yesterday came out so well .yummy yummy 🙂 . All praises from my husband .Thank you dear

  6. Pallavi says:

    Yummylicious 😃 will definitely try this recipe.

  7. PoppyBhavan says:

    Super,Duper.Lip Smacking

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