Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dudhi Kofta Curry

I was in the mood to cook (as always) but the weekend was different, we have this cloudy days with a slight mist rolling in, in the evenings weather and that makes it perfect for eating something warm, comforting and deep fried! Making fritters was not on my mind however, I had mentally bookmarked 'Doodhi Kofta Curry' a few months ago and finally got down to making it this weekend.  After I had gotten over my 'Aloo Palak' and 'Chana Masala' ordering days I was open to most vegetables(except baingan anything) and then came the 'kofta' phase. I fell in love with vegetable balls, as I called them, covered with a tomato-ey gravy. A kofta disguises the vegetables so cleverly.. makes it a bhajji /fritter I used to tell myself, so who wouldn't want to eat  something as yummy as this? But this does not get made at home much. it does involve a lot of work and most importantly a lot of deep frying, which all of us tend to shy away from.

I have recently moved to a new apartment and  while there are good things with this apartment, the only minus was , it has an electric stove. I had given up my gas stove and settled for this vastly inferior coil stove. Oh well, you win some .....  yada, yada.
I have now learnt to use it well ( pat myself on the back) and find that I need not grumble over it as much, except  on those occasions when the tea boils over and spatters over the surface and smells like the California wildfires and emits as much smoke. I feel justified in using a few of the juiciest and choicest swear words and mopping up the remains and getting on with it.

To move on to the star feature of this post... Dudhi/Lauki / Bottle gourd/Opo squash takes on a completely different avatar in this curry and transforms into crisp dumplings which absorb the flavors of the gravy and make every bite a delight and leave you (and your guests, if you make this when you invite some one over) wanting more and asking for the exact recipe. I know my friends did! 

For the Dumplings:

2 lbs. Bottle Gourd / Doodhi
2 tsp.  kosher /sea salt
1 small Red Onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs, raw Cashew nuts
4 large cloves Garlic
4 lengthwise slices , Fresh Ginger (2" l x1" W x 1/2 " t)
4 fresh Green Thai  or Serrano chiles
1/4 cup Chickpea Flour / Besan
2 Tbs. Rice Flour
2 Tbs. finely chopped Cilantro
Oil, to deep fry

For the Sauce:
2 Tbs. Ghee or Canola oil
1 tsp. Cumin / Jeera seeds
1 small Red Onion, coarsely chopped
4 fresh Green Thai  or Serrano chiles
1 can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes
2 Tbs. EACH Raw cashew nuts and Golden Raisins
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Turmeric
1/2 cup Half and Half
1 tsp. Punjabi Garam Masala
2 Tbs. Finely chopped Fresh Cilantro


To make the dumplings: cut and discard the stem and heel ends of the  squash. Peel the squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the  seeds and spongy mass leaving being firm pale green 'boats'.
Shred the squash using a food processor or box grater. collect the shreds in a medium size bowl and mix in the salt. Allow the squash mixture yo stand for about 30 minutes to release its liquid.

Meanwhile, place the onion, cashews, garlic, ginger and chiles in a food processor and pulse to form a slightly chunky blend

Grab a handful of the shredded squash and squeeze tightly between the palms of your hand to drain the liquid completely. Transfer the squeezed squash to another bowl and  repeat this for the remaining squash. Discard the drained liquid.
At this stage I usually start with heating the oil ( on medium eat) to deep fry the dumplings. 

Add the minced onion mixture and sprinkle in the two flours and cilantro.Combine quickly to make a slightly wet batter. Take a Tbsp. of the batter and  condense it in the palm of your hand to form balls. You should get about 25 rounds. (the longer you let the batter rest the more liquid the squash will continue to leach making it impossible to handle. If you add more flour, it will make it manageable but also will make the dumplings dense).

Line a cookie sheet with  3-4 sheets of paper towels. Once the oil is ready, gently slide in the dumplings into the wok, without over crowding the pan. 
Fry turning occasionally until they are honey brown and crisp. Remove them with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on the paper towels. Repeat for the remaining dumplings

To make the sauce: Heat Ghee in a large sauce pan / wok over medium - high heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle. Immediately add the onions, cashews, chiles and raisins. Stir-fry until the onions are dark brown, the chiles pungent and the cashews have turned honey brown and the raisins have swelled and darkened, about 5 mins. 
Add the Tomatoes, salt and turmeric to the sauce, stirring once or twice.
Then transfer the mixture to a blender jar and puree, scraping the inside of the jar as needed to make a smooth and spicy red sauce,Pour this back into the wok / pan. Pour 1/2 cup of water in the blender jar and swish it around to wash it out.  Add this to the pan. Stir in the half and half and garam masala.

Gently add the dumplings to the sauce, making sure they do not break apart. Heat the curry over medium- high  until the sauce starts to bubble. Then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer until the dumplings are warmed through and have absorbed some of the sauce, about 5 mins. 
Do NOT stir the sauce, for fear of breaking the dumplings) Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

*The koftas and the sauce can be made a day in advance and kept separate. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Heat the sauce  over med- high heat and  then add dumplings as in the step above, to serve.
*Zucchini can be used in place of bottle gourd. it does not need peeling or seed removal, just cut the stem and heel and grate.
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13 comments:

  1. happy cooking with the electric oven. the dudhi kofta looks divine.love this creamy gravy.

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  2. A delicious accompaniment with indian bread...Ideal for entertaining too.. instead of serving d usual malai kofta..

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  3. Fabulous looking kofta curry, irresistible..

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  4. Dudhi kofta is my "favoritest" koftas..all I need is some puris n I am all set :)

    US Masala

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  5. You always make me hungry.....after a nice lunch. I am hungry again....Love u
    Ash.

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  6. That curry looks extremely delicious! Wonderfully spicy!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  7. Manasi,
    Thanks for the great recipe. yumm...it came out really tasty!
    Visited your blog for the first time thanks to Nupur. Would keep using this blog for all my kitchen experiments.
    Thanks again,
    Swarupa

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  8. Your photos are so beautiful. I would love to try out this recipe.
    Renuka
    http://cuminandcardamom.blogspot.com

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  9. Hey Manasi came over to see the kitchen and saw this dudhi kofta curry! Just posted my version last nite.

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  10. Always wanted a recipe for good homemeade dudhi kofta,found one now thanks.
    I'm adding your blog to my reading list.
    Rajani

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