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.

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