Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Kofta Curry (IP recipe) Bottle Gourd & Zuchhini dumplings in a rich and aromatic Gravy.

How do you all plan a menu for guests? Do you make multiple dishes? Like 2 gravy based vegetables, 2 dry, roti and puri, pulav and dessert to follow.
Or, do you plan a simple and manageable menu?

I am the latter type. I plan a manageable list of things I can cook without getting frazzled. IMHO, I also like to keep it simple because too many items on the menu may mean that the guest may not be able to do justice to it all or not sample something at all. 
It all ends up in too many leftovers which, honestly, no one likes to eat again. 

There was also another discussion, on a FB Food group, where a member asked how we plan a menu. By cuisine, she meant.
When I thought about it, I found myself thinking, if I have guests from the North of India, or East or even from Maharashtra, I go ahead and plan a South Indian menu. 
And a North Indian menu is of course welcomed by almost everyone.

Do you step out of your comfort zone and try something new? 
Contrary to what I have been taught, namely, 'when you have guests, make what you are confident about, this is not time to experiment', I go right ahead and try something new. 
How do you plan a menu for your guests? Please share your tips and tricks, I'd love to hear from you.

A few weeks ago, we invited M's friend and his family for dinner. I made this kofta curry and our guests loved it. 
The best part is, it was an easy curry to make! These days I find myself reaching out for my #EPC (Electric Pressure Cooker) all the time. To those of you who use either #InstantPot or a similar EPC will know exactly what I mean. I start my day with setting up my Tea, before I drop off S to school and come home to a perfectly brewed cuppa.
Or , set the EPC to cook a batch of Pav Bhaji as I drop him off to Taekwondo and pick up something from the grocery store that I forgot over the weekend.
Let us however get back to this kofta curry. 

To make the Koftas:
I used this recipe from an old post.
The variation was that I added 1 zucchini to the bottle gourd and used my appe pan / abelskiver pan to sallow fry them instead of deep frying.

Important: * Grate the zucchini and bottle gourd, sprinkle a little salt and let it sit for 15 mins or so. The salt will draw out the excess water from the vegetables. Squeeze it all out and then use the grated vegetables.
Failure to do this will only make the fritter kofta batter runny and will not taste good. 

Shredded Bottle Gourd (Lauki/ Dudhi) and Zuchhini

Using the Appe Pan / Abelskiver Pan to make the koftas

These koftas freeze very well.

I found this gravy recipe here. I modified it slightly to suit my requirement and also based on what I had in my pantry.

Here is how I made the gravy:

6-7 Tomatoes, chopped
1 large Onion ( I used Red Onion), Chopped 
8 fat cloves of Garlic ( if you have smaller cloves, use about 12), peeled
1 inch Ginger, peeled and sliced
1 stick Butter
Fistful Cashew nuts
2 Tbsp. Kashmiri Red chilies powder 
Alternatively, add 1 Tbsp Kashmiri red chilies powder and 1 tsp Regular (hot) chilies powder for a spicier gravy
1 scant tsp Turmeric powder
1 heaped Tbsp Sugar ( I used granulated white sugar) 
2 Tbsp Kasuri Methi ( dry Fenugreek leaves)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup Water

The Spice Pouch
 Spice Pouch:
1 x 1 inch Cinnamon stick
1 tsp Cardamom (green)
1 number, Black Cardamom (Badi Elaichi)
1 tsp Cloves / Laung / Lavang
1 Star Anise

To Begin:
 Prepare the spice pouch. I used the pouch shown in the picture, it is the 'water filter' pouch one easily gets in India. Alternatively, use cheesecloth (cut it into a square, layer 2-4 square pieces on top of one another) place the spices on the cheesecloth and pull the sides closed and secure with a piece of string. The spices should not spill out. Set aside.

To the inner steel pot of your Electric Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot add
The peeled and chopped onion, just big pieces.
Chop the tomato (quarters). Pitch them in.
Add all the ingredients listed under the gravy list ( from tomato to Water)
Add the spice pouch
Close the cooker and seal the lid ('whistle' set to Sealing mode)
Use the 'Manual' mode and set it for 15 minutes.
Let the cycle complete and the pressure release naturally (NPR)
Open the lid, carefully remove the 'spice pouch'
Using an *immersion blender, blend the gravy till smooth
Add the kotas to the gravy
Switch to the Sear / Saute mode and let the gravy come to a gentle boil and the koftas absorb the gravy.

*If you do not have an immersion blender, let the gravy cool and then blend it in the regular blender till smooth. Transfer the blended gravy to the steel inner pot, you can later add the koftas to it and heat the gravy to let the koftas absorb all the flavor on the 'Sear' / 'Saute' Mode

Garnish with chopped cilantro and a swirl of cream if you wish to. 


- Instead of koftas, add cubed Paneer to the gravy ( Paneer Butter Masala)
- The original recipe calls for Honey, I used sugar instead and used just 1 tbsp. If you like sweetness to the gravy, use more. 
- The original recipe calls for milk to be added to the gravy with the other ingredients, I did not. The cashews did a great job of adding richness to the gravy and I was very happy with just that.
- Use Kashmiri red chilies powder for a deeper red colored gravy. I had the spicy variety on hand and so had to use half the quantity.
- The gravy freezes well, as do the koftas. Just make sure that they are frozen separately. Thaw the gravy  and koftas in the fridge overnight and then heat them (medium-high heat) together. 
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  1. Lovely recipe, Manasi. I know you through comments on Nupur's blog and I visit your's too. I was wondering if you have Instant pot or use another EPC. Thanks!

    1. Hi Amruta, thank you!
      I do not have the 'IP'.
      I use a multi cooker 'Magic Chef' which has the same functionality as the IP. If you check an older post ( tea and travel
      Pains) I have pictures of my EPC .


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