Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On the Silk Road: Lauki ke Kofte

This year my son studied the silk route extensively and I enjoyed reliving a bit of my childhood through his quest. Part of the reading requirements was to read about the  famous travelers of those times and the life they lead. During the research we looked at food and how one can see the footprints it left on the local cuisine along the route. It's pretty obvious that meat was skewered and placed on a spit to cook, but new techniques of mincing it, rolling it into balls and letting it simmer in a gravy was the next step in the mixing of cultures and this is where my recipe steps in...a vegetarian version of the famous middle eastern dish of Kofte.

My husband is very fond of Kofta, especially Lauki, better known as Bottle gourd or Luffa.  While he was in grad school he said a friend of his made Lauki ke Kofte that melted in the mouth and wanted me to re-create it...alas I tried for years, but my kofta's were always hard as golf balls. I eventually came to the conclusion that all the recipes I tried weren't working! So first was the de-learn all the previous recipes I had tried ( almost 30+). I started fresh and made a bulls eye on first try, lucky me !Here is the recipe that took me over a decade to arrive at, lucky you!

Ingredients for Kofta
1 medium sized bottle gourd, grated and mixed with 2 tsp salt and placed on a colander to drain liquid, Save this liquid
1 medium sized potato, grated
3 tbsp besan/gram flour
2 tbsp sooji/semolina
1 tbsp wheat flour
2 tsp coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp garlic, grated
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Pinch of baking powder

Method for Kofta
Squeeze out the water from the grated gourd. Save this water. Mix all ingredients gently and allow it it sit for half an hour. Roll into small balls approximately the size of a medium lime. Place the balls on a foil sheet and spray cooking oil and bake in the oven at 150 degrees for 10-12 mins, the outside will take on a golden hue. Remove from the oven and keep aside. If you prefer, you can deep fry the Kofta as well.


Ingredients for Gravy
4 medium onions, chopped and blanched in the microwave
2 tbsp tomato paste, if using purée, then you will need a bit more
2 cups milk
2 tbsp Everest brand tandoori masala (optional)
2 tbsp Everest brand kitchen king masala
1 tbsp kasoori/dry methi leaves, roasted
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1 tbsp garlic, grated
1 tbsp ginger, grated
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ghee/butter(optional)
2 green chillies slit down the middle
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Salt to taste

Cook the chopped onions with 1/2cup water in the microwave for 4-6 mins, when cool, blend it. Heat oil and ghee, add onion paste and cook till it turns grey. Add tomato paste and all the dry masala powders. Cook till emits a beautiful aroma. Slowly add the milk, leftover liquid from grated bottle gourd and keep stirring till it thoroughly mixes. Cook for another few minutes, add sugar, salt, Kofta balls, coriander leaves and powder. Serve warm with roti/rice.


Sudha said...

first time here..i loved your writing style and the way you presented the recipe :)..its a definite one to try on my list

A Virtual Vegetarian said...

Thanks for the comments Sudha, I was just reading your blog...loved the kitchen inspirations!