Food For Joe: Vegetable Kofta Curry

You will have heard about ‘koftas’ across a variety of different cuisines including Afghani, Balkan, Pakistani, Azerbijanian, Bangladeshi, Iranian, Turkish, Arab, and of course – Indian!

An Indian style kofta curry is a fantastic way to make a mild veggie curry that’s filled with nutty and creamy textures. Pour yourself a nice cold beer and get stuck in:

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For the Kofta balls:
One can of chickpeas
75 grams of flaked almonds
225g grated courgette
¼ cup finely chopped fresh coriander
3 garlic cloves, chopped vvvvvery finely
Fresh ginger – about a table spoon, again chopped really finely
Half/ One teaspoon (If you’re daring) red chili powder
200g Panko breadcrumbs
1 heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds

To prepare the Koftas (Part 1):
Grab a bowl and give the chickpeas mashing with a fork, so they’re soft and malleable but not overmashed puree. To this, add the ginger and garlic and mix well.

In a frying pan, cumin seeds for a few mins, or until they release a yummy fragrance. In another frying pan toast almonds until golden and brown. Now add both of these to the chickpeas, and mix well.

Next, add the grated courgette and chopped coriander, and mix well.

Now it is time to get your hands dirty. Add in the breadcrumbs to the bowl, bit by bit, while mixing the ingredients in the bowl together by hand. You’ll know it’s the right texture because it will be firm, and hold together.
Now, take the bowl and put in the fridge for 30 mins or more – about the same time it takes to prepare the sauce.

For the sauce:
170 grams of cashew nuts –you need to have soaked them in a bowl of water for two hours
240ml vegetable stock
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, again, chopped very finely
About a table spoon of fresh ginger – again chopped really finely
A tin of coconut milk
Half a tin of chopped tomatoes
1 finely chopped green finger chili
One or two drops of lemon juice
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric

To prepare the sauce:
Drain the cashews and add to a blender along with the vegetable stock – I’ve got a tiny blender so I tend to do half the cashews with half the stock at a time.  You’re wanting to achieve a smooth puree, it will still have bits of the cashews in it, but that’ll give the sauce some body.

You’ll now need a good size pan to create the gravy. To start, you will need to temper the spices. To do this, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the pan on a medium-high heat, until the oil seems to ‘shimmer’ Then, turn it down to a medium heat and carefully add the spices.  If you aren’t sure whether the oil is up to temperature, just drop a couple of cumin seeds in and if they sizzle gently then it’s just right. If they burn to a crisp then your oil is too hot. Temper the spices for about 10-20 seconds – you’ll know once they are tempered because they will release a strong (maybe open the window…) aroma.

To this, add the onion and cook for a few mins, then add the garlic and ginger and cook these for about a minute. Next add the tomatoes, and blended cashews.

Take the pan off the heat source and introduce the coconut milk slowly, stirring it in the rest of the ingredients in the pan. Season with salt and a couple of drops of lemon juice.

Turn the temperature right down, so the ingredients are just simmering for 15 minutes or once it has thickened up nicely. The sauce should have a lovely shine to it!

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To prepare the Koftas (Part 2): 

Heat about a centimetre or so of oil in a decent non-stick frying pan.

Use two table spoons to create big quenelles of the kofta mix.

Pop the koftas into the pan and turn them around and around till they get coated with the oil. Just keep an eye on them and turn every few mins.

They should not take longer than 10 minutes to be browned and cooked through. It is wise to take one out and try it before take the lot of them out – particularly if you like a little snack when cooking  😉

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Put them on greaseproof paper or kitchen towel to get rid of the excess oil:

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Finally, introduce the koftas to the sauce and gently bathe them in the sauce.

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Serve with rice or naan, with a generous sprinkling of coriander.

Inspired by this recipe

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