How long did you think it would be? I mean, how long did you really think it would before I came back with another paneer recipe? You must have known it wouldn’t be long because you all know how I can’t resist that rich, creamy, irresistible goodness!
Kofta (as they are usually referred to in the South Asian Subcontinent) have a heavy presence over various cuisines; from the Arabian Peninsula to what was once Persia to North Africa and also Eastern Europe. The concept of the kofta (or kufteh, köfte, keftes, kufta, ćufta… I could go on for a really long time so I really think I should stop here) is that a ground form of particular ingredients are spiced (according to what herbs and spices are predominantly available in that country) and rolled into a certain shape. Now, they are usually rolled into spherical shapes but in some Arab counties they are shaped rather like long kebabs, therefore the concept obviously varies according to where it is being made. Kofta can be fried, steamed, grilled or baked according to what ingredients you added to the mix. I liken this particular recipe to a softer version of the Italian potato dumpling, gnocchi but non-vegetarian kofta would most likely equate to meatballs in Italy. Ground meat is usually the key ingredient but here at KO Rasoi I like to do things a little differently so, being the paneer monster I am, I gave in to my yearnings…
I just had to share this recipe I created with you guys because it makes the softest, melt in the mouth kofta coated with the silkiest, delicate spicy-sweet sauce you have ever tasted. If this hasn’t sold you then the combination of honey, fennel and cardamom in the tomato, almond and cashew nut sauce will certainly get your tastebuds dancing to a Bollywood beat. That’s how certain I am that you will like this.
I’m not even going to say anything else except ‘good luck’ (… In putting your spoon down once you pick it up and start eating).
For the kofta
450g paneer (fresh or grated on the fine side of a cheese grater if you are using a block of paneer)
1 tbsp ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green chilli, chopped
2 tbsp coriander, chopped finely
1 tbsp cornflour, plus more for coating
1 1/2 tsp salt
Oil to deep fry
For the sauce
¾ cup blanched almonds
¾ cup blanched cashews
¾ onion, minced
6 tbsp concentrated tomato puree
1 ½ tbsp ghee
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida
2 tbsp ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 red chillies, minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp fennel powder
2 tsp clear honey
1 tsp ground cardamom powder
2-3 cups water
Salt to taste
¼ cup coriander, chopped
1. Mix together all of the ingredients for the kofta and knead for 3-4 minutes until you have a dough-like consistency. Set aside.
2. Grind together the almonds, cashews, 1 cup of water, and the onion. Set aside.
3. Heat the ghee in a large non-stick pan and add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, ginger, garlic and chillies. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato puree and ground almond and cashew paste. Cook this until oil emerges at the surface.
4. Add the cumin and coriander powder, fennel powder, honey, cardamom powder and salt. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes and adjust the thickness of the sauce boiling with some water. Season with salt and garnish the sauce with a little chopped coriander if you wish.
5. Roll the kofta into oval shapes making sure there aren’t any cracks in them. Use a little oil to stop the mixture from sticking to your hands.
6. Heat enough oil in a pan to deep fry the kofta.
7. Roll the kofta in a little cornflour and dust any excess away.
8. Fry the kofta on a medium heat until they are a very light golden colour and drain on kitchen paper.
9. Assemble the dish just before serving by gently mixing the kofta with the sauce. You can make this ahead of time by keeping the kofta and sauce separate until you are ready to serve.
Serve with some steaming hot basmati rice and naan. Enjoy this… I really did!
The results of the Create for a Chilli Chopper will be on their way to you soon!