Flavorful Lamb Meatballs use the Instant Pot to good effect — the Indian spices are toasted, the meatballs are pressure cooked, and then they get a final sear in the same pot. Serve as an appetizer or a main dish, with cucumber raita or a coconut cilantro chutney.
There are two rules of thumb about meatballs, in my opinion.
- First, everybody loves a meatball.
- Second, where there are meatballs, there is a party.
Lamb Meatballs in the Instant Pot could either be an appetizer bite or a main dish, depending on your mood.
At my house we had our Lamb Meatballs for dinner with rice, but you go ahead and be waaaay more authentic if you have the time and energy and eat with an Indian bread. Pair these with a Cucumber Raita or a Coconut Cilantro Chutney (recipes below in recipe card), or just stir some cumin and lime juice into plain yogurt for a no-recipe sauce, and eat the meatball leftovers wrapped in a naan or pita.
But who are we kidding? There aren’t going to be leftovers.
Let’s make Lamb Meatballs!
Lamb Meatballs in the Instant Pot
Flavorful Lamb Meatballs use the Instant Pot to good effect -- the Indian spices are toasted, the meatballs are pressure cooked, and then they get a final sear in the same pot. Serve as an appetizer or a main dish, with cucumber raita or a coconut cilantro chutney.
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh cilantro leaves (I used 2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh mint leaves
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/2 small red onion, finely minced
- 1 pound (500g) ground lamb
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- TO SERVE ALONGSIDE: Cucumber Raita, Coconut Cilantro Chutney (recipes below)
- Using the SAUTE function on NORMAL, cook the cumin, salt, pepper and cardamom in the inner pot for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Transfer the spices to a large bowl and shake until evenly combined. Add the cilantro and mint; toss to combine. Add the garlic and onion and toss to combine.
- Add the lamb to the spice mixture; using your hands, gently combine until the ingredients are evenly distributed (don’t overmix or the meatballs will be tough).
- Place the trivet in the inner pot and add the water. Place a small plate on top of the trivet.
- Using a tablespoon or mini ice cream scoop, scoop up the mixture and shape into 24 small meatballs. Place the meatballs on the plate in the inner pot, stacking if necessary.
- Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Once cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure. Remove the plate, trivet and meatballs. Empty the water the wipe out the pot.
- Using the SAUTE function on HIGH, heat 1 tablespoon oil for about 1 minute, until shimmering. Sear half the meatballs in batches, turning frequently, for about 4 minutes, until browned on all sides and no longer pink inside. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to cook the remaining meatballs.
- Transfer the meatballs to a platter; serve with raita or chutney for dipping.
- Makes 24 small meatballs.
- RAITA: 2 cups plain yogurt, 1 medium English cucumber (or 2 Kirby cukes) finely chopped or grated, 1/2 cup minced red onion, 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, 2 garlic cloves, grated, 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Combine yogurt through lime juice in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium, add mustard seeds, cumin and salt and cook for 1 minute, until seeds pop. Transfer raita to a serving bowl, pour the tempered spices over the top and serve.
- COCONUT CILANTRO CHUTNEY: 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes, 1 cup milk (or use full fat coconut milk if you want to go vegan), 1 Serrano chile, minced, 2 cups roughly chopped cilantro, 1 cup mint leaves, 2 teaspoons minced ginger, 2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, 1/4 cup water. Combine coconut and milk in the medium bowl, soak for the 20 minutes and drain. Place coconut, chiles, cilantro, chiles, ginger, garlic, salt and cumin in a food processor; process until thick and smooth. Stop the motor and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add lime juice and water and process until smooth. Add more water if needed to create a smooth consistency. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Recipe source: “The Complete Indian Instant Pot Cookbook: 130 Traditional and Modern Recipes,” by Chandra Ram; 2018 Robert Rose Inc.; photo by Hugh Galdones. Used with permission.
Pro tip: For these meatballs (and for any meatballs, really!), mince the onion and herbs very finely so you don’t have big chunks in the meatballs.
Copyright Dorothy Reinhold | ShockinglyDelicious.com. All rights reserved.
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About this recipe:
This wonderful recipe comes from a recent cookbook, “The Complete Indian instant Pot Cookbook: 130 Traditional & Modern Recipes ,” by Chandra Ram (Robert Rose Publishing, 2018; $20-$25). It has recipes from all over India, many influenced by the author’s experience growing up as a first-generation American. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America, and cooked in restaurants and at home, so she is uniquely qualified to speak to home cooks, whether we are new to Indian food or more experienced in the kitchen. The best part of it is she makes it easy to get Indian food on the table for a weeknight dinner, and her approachable style makes modern Indian cooking accessible to all adventurous eaters who are ready to look beyond the “curry house” stereotype of Indian food.
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