I usually like it when my sister-in-law invites herself over for a "lovely Indian" (that describes my cooking AND me, by the way - so there!), because it obliges me to try out recipes that I've been hoarding to make "one of these days". She's vegetarian - she doesnt even eat eggs - despite being English and has been since she was 8 years old or thereabouts, to the mystification of her family. Anyway, she loves Indian food and I in turn try to introduce her to a wide variety of dishes when she visits us. Well, not all at the same time, of course.
This time I decided to try aloo koftas. After researching a wide variety of kofta recipes on the Net, I settled for the Vegetarian Society's recipe which was really simple. I wasnt sure how to get the potato balls to hold together and yet stay soft, but the recipe's tip of rolling the koftas in plain flour (I seasoned the flour) and deep frying them was just BRILLIANT! The koftas held together beautifully but didnt get hard.
One thing I'm really grateful for is that I didnt add the koftas to the gravy till just before serving. As it is, when I reheated the koftas along with the gravy, in the microwave, the damn things simply sucked up the gravy like a vacuum cleaner, making the whole dish rather thicker than I'd really wanted... I suppose I should have anticipated that, but I didnt.
Anyway, like I said, if I'd put the koftas in the gravy right after frying them, all I would have had to show for my efforts would have been potato mush in gravy. Tasty, perhaps, but mush nevertheless. Brr. Am I GLAD to have avoided that disaster!
Recipe for: Aloo (potato) kofta
4-5 large potatoes
1 cup peas
3 spring onions, finely chopped
3-4 green chillies (or to taste), finely chopped
2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
Salt to taste
Gram flour as required (or use plain flour), seasoned lightly with ground black pepper to taste
Oil for deep-frying
For the sauce:
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion ground to a paste with 1 tomato
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Juice from 2 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
4 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1-1/2 cups water
Coriander leaves for garnish
1. Pressure cook the potatoes, peel and mash.
2. Cook the peas in the microwave, and add them to the mashed potato, breaking them down slightly.
3. Add the spring onions, chilli, coriander, spices and salt.
4. Mix well and form into small balls (size of a large marbble). Roll each one in the seasoned flour, knocking off any excess.
5. Heat the oil in a kadai or deep pan. Fry the potato balls in batches till golden. Dont overcrowd them.
6. Drain the koftas on kitchen paper until required.
7. To make the sauce, heat 2 tbsp oil and fry the chopped onion till it goes soft.
Then add the ground onion and fry on medium high until the oil starts to leave the sides.
8. Add the garlic, ginger juice and spices and cook for 2 minutes.
9. Stir in the chopped tomatoes.
Fry on medium high again, until the tomatoes have broken and the sauce has thickened.
10. Just before serving, put the koftas in a serving dish and pour the hot sauce over.
Serve immediately with cumin rice or parathas.