Vegetarian Concoctions

April 5, 2007

Doodhi Kofta

Filed under: Doodhi / Lauki, Main meals, Mughalai, Paneer, Punjabi — Hema @ 1:52 pm

As a kid, I don’t remember ordering anything other than malai kofta when we went out to eat at restaurants. I love koftas – any kind. When I first saw meatballs in spaghetti at a subway in the US, they reminded me of the Indian kofta. That is something I want to try some day – vegetarian ‘meatballs’ – Italian style. Then I chanced to see another version of kofta at a mediterranian restaurant here. Again, just ‘see’ because I couldn’t eat them being vegetarian. It was interesting to see new variations of my old favourite. New variations? Apparently not! Indian koftas’ Middle Eastern counterparts are the originals.

Originally Persian, Kofta, köfte, kafta, kufta or kafteh are quite a tradition throughout the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. I presume it travelled to India with the Mughals.

Interesting facts listed at wikipedia:

In Arab countries, kufta’ (كفته) is usually shaped into cigar-shaped cylinders.
In Turkey, köfte is a very popular food item. According to recent research done by a private food company, there were 291 different kinds of köfte in the country. phew!
In Bulgaria, they are called kyufteta (кюфтета)
In Greece, they are called keftedes.
In Romania, they are called chiftele
In Armenia, they are called kyufta
In Albania, they are called qoftë

I think I will stick to calling my version a kofta. I made this one with doodhi (Lauki).

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What you need:

For the kofta:

Doodhi grated – 3 cups

Ginger (grated) – 1 tbsp

Green chillies – 2-3 nos

Ajwain (omam) – 1/4 tsp

Besan (Chick-pea flour) – 3/4 cup

Baking soda – a small pinch

Salt to taste

Oil for frying

For the gravy:

Onions – 3 medium sized

Garlic – 2 cloves

Ginger – 1/2 inch piece

Tomatoes – 1 large

Cashew nuts – 1/4 cup

Khus Khus – 2 tbsp

Crumbled Paneer / Ricotta cheese – 1/4 cup

Bayleaves – 2 nos

Cinnamon stick – 1 medium

Cloves – 2-3 nos

Jeera – 1 tsp

Jeera pwd – 2 tsp

Nutmeg pwd – 1/8 tsp

Atta – 1 tbsp

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp or according to taste

Oil – 2 tbsp

Salt to taste

Cilantro to garnish

I guess that is it. The list is quite long, but most ingredients are always available in your pantry.

Grate the doodhi, sprinkle some salt on it and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Now, squeeze out all the water, add rest of the ingredients for the kofta and make a dough soft enough to shape the koftas. Remember, the doodhi will still have some water content, so add water if required only after mixing the ingredients. Shape the koftas as desired and fry them in oil till golden brown. Set aside on paper towels to drain excess oil.

For the gravy, Heat up the pan and dry roast the atta till the raw smell goes. Set aside. Heat up 1 tbsp of oil and add jeera, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Add coarsely chopped onions and saute till transparent. add the garlic and ginger and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Swith off the stove and let cool. Grind this with the tomato, cashewnut and khus khus with minimum water. Now, heat up the remaining 1 tbsp oil and add the bay leaves. Add the gravy, turmeric, jeera pwd, nutmeg pwd, salt and chilli pwd. Let this cook for about 15 – 20 minutes till the masala is cooked and you see tiny spots of oil on the surface. Not too much oil will float since the input was minimal. For a more restaurant style look, increase the amount of oil. Once cooked, add the paneer or ricotta cheese. Curd could also be substituted. Add the koftas and garnish with cilanto and cream (optional). Serve hot with naan, parathas or rotis.

Now I pack this off to Meeta for this month’s Monthly Mingle.
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I was not sure if this recipe was appropriate for the Middle Eastern theme. Though koftas are originally Middle Eastern, my recipe is quite Indian. Meeta has generously accepted my entry. Thanks Meeta for letting me in and thanks Asha for suggesting that I send it to the event.

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August 8, 2006

Rasmalai (Rakhi special)

Filed under: Bengali, Milk, Paneer, Rakhi, Sweets and Desserts — Hema @ 4:31 pm

It has been a while since I started this blog and havent posted a recipe since. So, what better day to start than Rakhi…a day dedicated to my brother, who by the way is a big time foodie and an even bigger time sweetie:)…yes! he loves sweets…anything sweet. The first time he went grocery shopping for his new home, he ended up buying half a kg rice and 2 kgs sugar! So, my dear saapattu raman, yeh recipe tere naam. Enjoy the visual treat! HAPPY RAKHI !!!

Ingredients:

Paneer       250 gms

Milk            1 litre

Water         7 cups

Sugar         3 cups if you are like my brother…else 2 1/2 cups

Cardamom powder    1 tsp

Slivered pista and almonds    2 tbsp

Saffron  few strands

Rosewater few drops

Method:

I like to make my own paneer. About 2 litres of milk should suffice for the amount of paneer this recipe needs. Once the whey seperates, just squeeze out the excess liquid and knead it gently with your hands. It is not required to hang the paneer overnight to drain out all the water as done usually. Cow’s milk is preferable but not necessary. If you have bought your paneer just crumble it up and knead it gently without applying too much pressure. You may add a tbsp of all-purpose flour for binding if required. Make small balls and flatten it out.

Boil the milk with a cup of sugar till it reduces to 2/3 the amount. Add the cardamom powder and 1 1/2 tbsp of the pista and almonds, saving some for garnishing in the end. reduce the heat and let the milk simmer. Also boil the water with the remaining sugar and add a few drops of rosewater to it.

Drop in the flattened panner balls into the boiling water and cover the pot partially. In about 10 – 12 minutes the balls will puff up and float on top of the water. Press one and see if it springs back into shape just to be sure they are done. Remove the balls from water and gently drain water from each piece individually and transfer it to the hot milk. Let this boil up for another 5 minutes and transfer this to your serving bowl. Garnish it with the remaining pista and almonds and of course saffron. You are done! Pop it into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Rasmalai

 

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