Spicy dumplings

MOUTH-WATERING

Popular all across the country, koftas are really dumplings in a variety of spicy gravys. Generally prepared on occasions like dinner parties and a favourite dish at a lot of weddings, koftas are definitely not to be considered amongst the exotic dishes. But its popularity is not to be taken lightly either.

When it comes to vegetarian food, there are a host of koftas that can be prepared from bottle gourd (lauki), cabbage, spinach, paneer and malai (cream based) koftas all of which are delicious.

All these varieties are made with different ingredients. Preliminary preparation includes grating or boiling the vegetable which is then mixed with a binding agent like besan (gram flour) potatoes or paneer and then it is shaped into balls and deep-fried. Then, these fried balls are added to the gravy – which usually has a base of onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic along with spices. The malai koftas which are made using mashed veggies, potatoes, paneer and cream, and use a cream and tomato-onion base for gravy.

“Though vegetarian koftas are most commonly made in Indian households,
non-vegetarian or meatballs are a huge hit in restaurant serving Middle Eastern cuisine,” says chef Mahabeer of Trolleys restaurant, Khan Market.

“For making a non-vegetarian kofta, meat has to be finely ground so that it turns into a smooth paste. It is then mixed with spices like coriander, garlic, onions, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, or nutmeg. Then it is grilled, baked, fried, or roasted, depending on the taste. Many cooks skewer their koftas for easy cooking but it is mostly removed before it is served,” says Mahabeer.

In meat, common choices can be beef, lamb, and chicken. “In India seafood kofta can sometimes be found too,” says the chef.  "

In addition to meat, kofta can also include an ingredient like rice, wheat and millet, to make it less dense. “Eggs may be added as well, to pull the ingredients in the kofta together, and some cooks actually cook whole eggs with their kofta,” says Mahabeer.
Small, drier koftas make great appetizers, while a kofta stew can make an interesting main dish. “One should feel free to play with ingredients and gravys as there are no hard and fast rules for this popular food item,” suggests the chef.

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