Northern Indian Lamb Meatballs

2 small garlic cloves
1 piece (1 inch) peeled fresh ginger, sliced
2 T vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ t ground turmeric
¾ t cayenne pepper
2 T plus 1 t ground coriander
1 can (8 ounces) plain tomato sauce
1 dried bay leaf
Coarse salt
12 oz ground lamb
1 c fine fresh breadcrumbs
⅓ c finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 large egg
6 prunes, quartered
½ t garam masala

Process garlic, ginger, and 1½ teaspoons water in a food processor until a chunky paste forms; set aside. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion; cook, stirring, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Set aside one quarter of onion in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon garlic paste, ½ cup water, the turmeric, ½ teaspoon cayenne, and 2 tablespoons coriander to onion in skillet. Cook 3 minutes, stirring. Add tomato sauce, 1½ cups water, and the bay leaf. Season with salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer.

Mix reserved onion, lamb, breadcrumbs, cilantro, egg, 1 teaspoon each garlic paste and salt, and remaining teaspoon coriander and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Divide into 24 pieces; roll into balls. Stuff each meatball with a prune quarter; roll to enclose. Add meatballs to simmering sauce (add water if meatballs are not covered by sauce). Cook until sauce has thickened, about 40 minutes. Stir in garam masala.

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