Beef Kofta Curry

 Neven’s guest this week is Tommy Bowe, one of Ireland’s leading national and international rugby players. From the Six Nations to the Rugby World Cup, Tommy plays at the highest level and eating healthily is essential. Neven shows Tommy how to cook a nutritious Beef Tagine and learns all about his extraordinary sporting career.

These delicious koftas show how versatile minced beef can be and are bursting with ginger, cumin and fresh coriander. You can also make this curry using turkey mince with equally successful results.



  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp freshly grated root ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 x 500ml (18fl oz) carton of passata
  • (Italian sieved tomatoes) sea salt and freshly ground black pepper toasted flaked almonds, to garnish
    • 500g (1lb 2oz) lean minced beef
    • 1 small onion, grate
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, plus extra to garnish
    • 2 tsp freshly grated root ginger
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 350g (12oz) chickpea flour
    • 1 tsp fine sea salt
    • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil about 400ml (14fl oz) soda water olive oil, for cooking


  1. To make the koftas, place the minced beef in a bowl with the grated onion, coriander, ginger and cumin seeds and season with a pinch of salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Mix until evenly combined, then with dampened hands, divide into 20 even-sized balls.
  2. Heat the rapeseed oil a large pan wide enough to take the koftas in an even layer with a lid. Add the green chilli, garam masala, ginger and turmeric, stirring to combine. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant, then pour in the passata. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and season to taste.
  3. Add the koftas to the pan in a single even layer, then cover and cook gently for 25–30 minutes. Gently shake the pan occasionally to ensure the koftas aren’t sticking to the base of the pan, but don’t stir. Using a tongs, turn the koftas over, then shake the pan gently and continue to cook with the lid off for 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly
  4. Meanwhile, make the socca flatbreads. Place the chickpea flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre, then slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil and enough of the soda water until you have achieved a smooth batter. Put a thin film of regular olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and place over a high heat. When it’s really hot and almost smoking, ladle in one-quarter of the batter, swirling it around so that it is evenly distributed.
  5. Cook the socca flatbread over the high heat for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 2–3 minutes,  until the base is set and the top looks like it is drying out. Carefully flip over and cook for another couple of minutes. When the flatbread is cooked, carefully slide it off the pan and cover loosely with foil while you make the remainder.
  6. To serve, ladle the beef kofta curry into bowls and garnish with the coriander and almonds. Set the bowl on a plate and put a separate plate of the socca flatbreads in the middle so that everyone can help themselves.