Monday, August 20, 2007

Malai Koftas and Memories

First time I made malai koftas was on a special demand from our dear friend R's mom (who we lovingly call Masi). Masi thought that being a Punjabi kudi I would know how to make malai koftas. Sadly enough, I didn't! Malai koftas may sound very Punjabi but I doubt they are cooked commonly in Punjabi homes (not in my home at least!). But I couldn't let her know right (specially when I was just beginning to know this sweet lady)? So Parthiv and I made them just like this! And funnily enough I still think thats the tastiest thing we ever made :) And thankfully masi agrees!

We have made these koftas multiple times since then. Making them in large batches and getting together with a group of friends has been the norm! Too bad I don't have a picture to share. I will upload it the next time I make these creamy koftas.

I would certainly not classify these koftas as exactly healthy, but if you don't mind eating greasy restaurant made pseudo malai koftas once in a while, you surely won't mind these!

They do take some effort and time. Though the list of ingredients and steps look daunting, they are pretty easy to make. You can always make some extra koftas and deep freeze them. They are as good as new when added to fresh gravy!

I am not great with my measurements as I am taste-till-you-get-it-right kind of person. Make adjustments as you think appropriate.

For Koftas (makes around 8 koftas) you need -

Boiled potatoes - 2 large
Grated paneer - about 1 cup
Green chilli paste - 2 tsp
Green cardmom powder - 1/4tsp
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Bread slices - 2
Coriander (dhania) powder - 1 tsp
A few raisins
sugar and salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Directions for koftas:
1. Mash the potatoes and bread, mix salt and half of green chilly paste, keep aside.
2. Grate paneer (microwave it for a few seconds to make it real soft), add ginger paste, rest of green chilli paste, salt, a little bit of sugar, green cardmom powder, dhania powder and mix well.
3. To assemble koftas - make a ball of the potato mixture, flatten it and fill the paneer mixture in it, top with a raisin and make a ball again. So it would be a potato ball with paneer inside.
4. Heat oil in a kadahi or wok. Deep fry the koftas on medium flame till the koftas turn golden and crisp. keep aside.

Ingredients for gravy:
Oil - 1 tblsp
Cloves - 2
A small stick of cinnamon
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Ginger paste - 2tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Tomato paste - 1/2 cup or pureed tomatoes - 1 cup
Cashew powder/paste - about 8 cashews
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Creme - 1/2 cup or Half n half 1 cup
sugar and salt to taste

Directions for gravy:
1. Heat oil, add cumin seeds, a few cloves, some cinnamon sticks, let them crackle. Then add ginger paste and a little garlic paste. Saute for a few seconds.
2. Add tomato paste or tomato puree. If you are using store bought tomato paste you might want to dilute it a little.
3. Saute well till tomatoes begin to leave the sides.
4. Add finely ground cashew paste. Mix well, you can add poppy seed paste also if you prefer.
5. Add turmeric, red chilli powder and dhania powder, mix well.
6. Add creme/half n half. Add a little water accordingly.
7. Stir on medium heat till gravy reaches the right consitency. You don't want it to be too thick as the koftas absorb a lot of gravy.
8. Add sugar to taste and stir.
9. Add salt right at the end and stir.

To serve:
1. If your gravy has gotten cold, heat it well.
2. Add koftas and heat
3. Don't stir too much or the koftas will break.
4. Garnish with fresh coriander and creme or grated paneer.

Serve with sirke wale or nimbu wale pyaaz (onions soaked in vinegar or lime), naan or parathas or jeera rice.

This can easily be converted into a Jain recipe if you use raw plaintain instead of potatoes and skip the garlic.

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