Kofta is one of my favorite dishes among North Indian foods. Kofta can be made with almost any vegetable if you fancy. This is made with zucchini, but I remember eating a similar version made with lauki or ghia in Delhi. Hubby and I called her ‘Bhabhi’ meaning sister-in-law in Hindi, who was a tenant at my In-laws’ place. She made super yummy lauki koftas which I can’t forget to this day.
Koftas probably originated in Persia that were made with meatballs. In most of the Middle East and some parts of Europe kofta is mostly made with meat. In India there are many vegetarian varieties like Malai kofta, raw banana kofta and the list goes on.
I always make kofta in the aebleskiver or guli appa pan which uses less oil than deep frying. It is comparatively a healthy dish minus the guilt of having deep fried koftas. The koftas are melt-in-the-mouth and very moist. The sauce is slightly sweet and spicy and yogurt lends a slight tartness as well.
Koftas are a welcome dish when you are tired or rather bored of eating veggies the same style. Kofta is a fancier version of serving vegetables with sauce just like a gift wrapped in a fancy wrapper. Come, let’s make some koftas now.
30 minutes for kofta and sauce
About 45 -50 minutes
For the kofta:
- 2 zucchini, grated
- 2 tsp cumin coriander powder
- 1 tsp fennel powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 green chili chopped finely
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 4 tbsp besan or gram flour, roasted
- Oil as needed to make koftas in aebleskiver or guli appa pan
For the sauce:
- ½ onion, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 1 green chili, chopped finely
- 2 tomatoes, grated
- 2 tbsp cashew nut powder or almond powder
- 2 tbsp besan, roasted
- ¾ cup yogurt, whisked
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 2 tbsp ghee
- Salt to taste
- ½ -1 tsp sugar, optional
- Water from squeezing zucchini
- ½-1 cup water, as needed to adjust the consistency of the sauce
- Cilantro to garnish
To make kofta, place the grated zucchini in a cheesecloth and squeeze as much water as possible. Reserve the water to use in the sauce.
Heat the aebleskiver pan and mix all the ingredients mentioned in the kofta except oil. Form a soft dough/mixture and make small koftas or balls.
Add oil in each cavity of the pan, place the koftas and cook, turning all over from time to time until brown and slightly crispy. You can cover with a lid while making koftas to speed up the cooking process.
Place the koftas on paper towels to drain. Meanwhile start preparing sauce by adding ghee in a pan and when hot add onion, garlic and green chili. Saute for 2 minutes.
Add tomato and saute for another 5-8 minutes. Now add almond or cashew nut powder and saute again for 5 minutes. Add roasted besan and mix well.
Add yogurt, reserved zucchini water, salt, red chili powder, garam masala and sugar.
Check the consistency of the sauce and add water as needed. Add koftas just before serving and garnish with chopped cilantro.
Make sure to work with the koftas as quickly as you can because once you add salt it will release water and may make it difficult to form koftas. One trick is to divide the dough into two parts, add salt to one portion, make koftas and repeat with the second batch.
The famous proverb "you are what you eat” as quoted by the French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is very true. Food nourishes you from the inside out. Good health is of utmost importance to me. Vegetarianism and Veganism are gaining immense popularity these days. Natural, organic, healthy and homemade is my mantra.
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