Friday, May 6, 2011

Vegetable Koftas with Creamy Coconut Curry

When I saw Barbara's, of Tiger and Strawberries blog, recent post on tender lamb koftas it awakened a cravings for a dish which represents my first foray into Indian food as a young child- vegetable koftas in a sweet korma sauce. This dish from our local Indian restaurant was a perfect introduction, tasty little potato dumplings wrapped in a chickpea batter in a smooth creamy sauce. This recipe is a more grown up version with a bit more heat and spice. It is an adapted recipe from Madhur Jaffery's -Eastern Vegetarian Cooking and I was also inspired by how Manjula made her Cabbage Koftas.

Although this dish is a little fiddly it is worth the effort and what's morethe koftas and curry sauce can be made separately the day before and then heated up together just before serving. Perfect if you are having guests around and curry always tastes better the second day after the flavours have mixed together.

Vegetable Koftas with Creamy Coconut Curry (serves 3-4)
Vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, gluten free

For the Koftas
200g Courgette/Zucchini, grated
150g Potato, peeled
150g Pumpkin, peeled and deseeded
100g Chickpea/gram flour
1tsp Crushed garlic
1 1/2tsp Finely grated ginger
1 green chilli, finely chopped
30g Onion, finely chopped
1tbs Fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying

For the Curry Sauce 
2tbs vegetable oil, from deep frying
50g Onion, finely chopped
1 Green chilli
2tsp Grated ginger
1tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2tsp Fennel seeds
1/2tsp Ground coriander seeds
10 Curry leaves
1/2tsp Turmeric
2tsp Garam masala
400g Can tomatoes, chopped
250ml Coconut Milk
salt to taste
1 tbs Fresh cilantro/coriander to garnish

  • Chop the potato and pumpkin into small (1/4 " or 1/2cm cubes). Boil these cubes for a few minutes in a saucepan until just tender. Drain and leave to cool slightly. 
  • In a large bowl add the grated courgette/zucchini and all the other ingredients apart from the potato, pumpkin and chickpea flour. Combine the ingredients together by gently squeezing the mixture between you clean palms. 
  • Next add the potato and pumpkin cubes and mix well. 
  • Now add half the chickpea flour and stir. Add the remaining flour until you form a wet batter, you may not need to add all the flour if your mix is not very wet.
  • In a saucepan heat up the oil at a depth of around 1 1/2"/4cm of oil, over a medium heat. Drop a small piece of the kofta mixture into the oil. If it bubbles straight away then it is time to make your koftas. 
  • Using your hands form small balls of the kofta mixture (mine made 16 to give you an idea of size). Drop them into the oil until the pot is full but each individual ball can still move freely around. The balls should turn a golden brown and be cooked through in around 5mins. Turn the balls occasional to ensure even cooking but not too often as they may start to break up. 
  • Remove the koftas from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat until all the mixture as been used. Set the koftas aside whilst you make the curry sauce. 
  • Add the 2tbs of oil to a pan over a medium heat. The pan should be big enough to hold all your koftas  in a single layer. 
  • To the oil add the onion, chilli & ginger and saute until starting to brown. Once this happens add the remaining spices bar the garam masala. Saute for a further 30 seconds then add the tin of tomatoes and coconut milk. Simmer for around 10 mins then add the garam masala and salt to taste. 
  • Just before you are ready to serve add the koftas to the sauce and simmer over a low heat for 10 mins or until the koftas are heated through. Add chopped coriander/cilantro and serve with basmati rice or Indian bread.

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