Archive for October 2008

Kaju Burfi

October 28, 2008


Happy Deepavali (or Diwali for short)!

Kaju burfi is a festive sweet, traditionally prepared by using an array of dairy-products and nuts (almonds, cashews, coconuts, pistachios or a variety of grated vegetables), or flour, sugar and flavorings in my nani’s kitchen.

2 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar or to taste
1 1/2 cups cashew (kaju) flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground cardamom
3 drops rose essence

1) Lightly grease a 10-inch baking pan (stainless steel round plate or thali) or line it with non-stick parchment paper for easy clean up. Set aside.
2) Combine milk and sugar in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan and bring to a full boil, stirring constantly until sugar has completely dissolved.
3) Add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and a generous pinch of salt to boiling milk. Stir to mix and cook the milk mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated. (At this stage I like to add a generous pinch of mace or nutmeg and additional ground cardamom). Add the remaining ingredients except rose essence and stir until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
4) Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring constantly to prevent from sticking on the bottom of the pan, until all the liquid has evaporated. At this point the mixture should have the consistency of cookie dough (almost resembling almond paste).
5) Remove from the heat and add the rose essence (or pure almond extract) if desired. Empty the mixture into the baking pan and spread evenly with a lightly buttered back of metal spatula. Garnish it with sliced cashews or silver leaf for festive look. Let it cool for at least 1 to 2 hours and cut into squares or diamond shapes if you prefer. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Refrigerate the leftovers.

Yield: 12 servings.

Kofta

October 15, 2008

Kofta is traditionally a Middle Eastern and South Asian round or oval shaped meatball, made primarily with minced or ground meat usually lamb or beef flavored with onion, herbs and seasonings. However, I have the memories of eating many vegetarian versions of koftas made with an assortment of grated or chopped vegetables (e.g. edible gourd or lauki, ash gourd, cauliflower, carrot and paneer etc.) in my nani’s kitchen. These are quite versatile and may be served as an appetizer (small kofta or mini bites) or as an entrée served with creamy rich sauce along with the side dishes of naan and fragrant rice.

Cauliflower Kofta

2 1/2 cups grated cauliflower
1/4 cup grated onion
1 teaspoon grated ginger and pinch of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala and salt to taste
1 cup chickpea flour or more to hold the shape
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves and extra for garnishing – optional
Vegetable oil for deep-frying koftas
Prepare the sauce as needed

1) To prepare the cauliflower kofta: In a large bowl, combine grated cauliflower, onion, ginger, baking powder, garam masala, 1/3 teaspoon salt, chickpea flour and chopped coriander leaves. (Add 1/2 tablespoon water and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper if needed). Mix thoroughly and shape in about 10 to 14 medium-size koftas or balls. It is extremely important to season the mixture generously and use the light touch while shaping the koftas.
2) Carefully drop onto the heated oil and deep-fry, a few at a time, until crisp and lightly brown on both sides 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and repeat the process until all the koftas are deep-fried. Set aside.
3) Prepare creamy rich sauce according to the AP Spice Paste recipe given under this blog or simply use the commercial Masala Simmer Sauce. At this stage I like to add defrosted green peas (pan-fried paneer or extra firm cubed tofu) and cook for about two minutes. Adjust the spices according to taste.
4) Stir in garam masala if desired and carefully add koftas in a single layer to prepared sauce. Gently turn koftas once; making sure not to break them. Simmer about 2 to 3 minutes and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves just before serving if needed. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Note: The koftas shown in the picture with this recipe do not include the sauce or gravy.