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I am cooking for a dinner party in a couple of days and one of the friends is allergic to egg but the 2 recipes I found and like ask for eggs. The recipe that mum uses also asks for eggs to bind the meat so the meatballs do not lose shape and breakdown when boiling in the curry.

Can someone please help and suggest something that will still bind the meatballs without losing too much of an Indian touch to the flavours?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you add salt to your meat and leave for a few hours this will break down some proteins in the muscle (myosin), which cross-link / bind with each other. Hopefully you wouldn't need the egg to bind. I have done this with burgers and meatballs before, so no reason this wouldn't work OK for kofte

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This is true, but it will also create a more rubbery, sausage-like texture which is usually not desired in a meatball. –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 1 at 15:25
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Having done a side by side comparison before, given good quality mince and binder the difference in texture is negligible. OP wants to avoid eggs, so I think my answer covers this off. Nobody has ever complained about my kofta ;) –  geedubb Jan 1 at 16:00

In basic a meatball recipe, the egg whites do help bind the meatballs together, but they are not essential.

If you use somewhat fatty ground beef (which will more naturally stick to itself when raw compared to very lean meat) and a starchy binder, you should get them to hold together sufficiently even without any eggs at all.

Omitting the egg also has the advantage that you don't have to adjust the other seasonings or flavors in your meatballs, as its lack will simply let the other flavors shine through more directly.

You will want to handle the meatballs gently as they will be somewhat more fragile when raw.

Baking them to develop color and flavor, rather than frying will help with this, and it is much easier as well.

Your second recipe linked is actually a meatball mixture around a hard boiled egg. In this kind of recipe, the egg is a featured ingredient, and substituting for it is kind of impossible without radically changing the dish. I would suggest either having plenty of alternatives which are dietary acceptable to your guests, or not preparing this dish.

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If you're really set on no eggs, and the possibility of rubbery meat excludes salt; an alternative starch binder or a convoluted cooking method is in order. Someone else has already adeptly handled starch binding so, if you have some time and extra cheesecloth...

Form your meatballs and suspend them individually from long oven/grill safe skewers by wrapping them in a bit of cheesecloth--like a small pocket. **style points for pretty skewers

Impale the cheesecloth restraint with skewers that exceed the span of your intended curry cooking vessel. They will look like a series of strange kinetic office paperweights from the 90's, and will dangle into the curry when you are ready to add the meat(if the skewers are too short they will fall in). If the worst happens and they wind up falling apart, it will be on individual plates rather than mucking up the whole curry base. Happy eating!

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