A good friend of mine lived in Damascus for a few years in her youth and always tells beautiful stories of perfumed alleys and souks. I invited her for dinner a week ago and made this wonderfully fragrant dish- it was a great success! Adapted from The Spice Bible by Jane Lawson
Heat the oil in large, heavy-bottomed frying plan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes, or until soft and lightly brown. Add the garlic, garam masala and chilli powder. Cook, stirring until well mixed and fragrant. Remove half of the onion mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.
Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste to the remaining onion mixture in the frying pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes and then add the coconut milk and the beef stock. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
Add the ground lamb, herbs and beaten egg to the cooled onion mixture. Put a bit of oil in your hands and form the koftas into walnut-sized balls. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to come together.
Return the sauce to simmering point over medium heat. Add the kofta balls and cook over low heat for 1 hour, or until cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened. Gently stir the kofta balls occasionally. Stir in the lime juice and season to taste. Garnish with the extra herbs and serve with couscous or basmati rice.
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