Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lauki kofta...

Koftas generally refer to meatballs made of minced meat of beef, lamb or chicken are mixed with spices shaped to round balls and are fried. Unlike middle eastern and central asian cuisine,  you can find many vegetarian varieties of kofta too in Indian cuisine. Potato, paneer, banana, bottle gourd etc are mashed or grated to make koftas. These koftas are then dunked in a  flavourful and spicy gravy to prepare a delicious curry. Kofta curries are very popular in India, be it veg or non-veg.

Today I made lauki or bottle gourd koftas, a vegetarian curry without onion and garlic. I was planning for this dish for a long time. Few months back I saw a tempting image of Lauki kofta in Instagram account of @playfulcooking. This proved to be a trigger. Kankana's blog is full of such delicious clicks. Do visit her space and enjoy all those drool worthy food pics.

Lauki or bottle gourd is a also know as opo squash or calabash. The fruits of this vein grown plant are eaten as vegetable. Lauki is very healthy as it's rich in dietary fibers, and contains extremely low fat and cholesterol.

To make koftas from bottle gourd the first step is to grate the bottle gourd. And as bottle gourd contains 96% water, all the water from the grated bottle gourd needs to be squeezed out. The bottle gourd juice is very good for our health. The juice can be taken as a health drink or can be used to make the curry. I used it in the curry. The curry I made was without any onion and garlic. Though onion and garlic can be added in the curry as per choice.

Things needed to make Lauki kofta:

(Serves: 4)

For the koftas:

  • Bottle gourdor lau or lauki (grated): 2 cups
  • Chickpea flour: 1/4 cup
  • Green chilies (finely chopped): 2-3
  • Ginger (grated): 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Garam masala powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Oil to fry the kofta

For the gravy:

  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Dry red chilies: 2-3
  • Bay leaves: 1-2
  • Green cardamom: 2-3
  • Cinnamon: 1 inch
  • Cloves: 3-4
  • Ginger (paste): 2 tsp
  • Tomato (paste): 2 tbsp
  • Yogurt: 2-3 tbsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder: 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Ghee: 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

Steps of making Lauki Kofta:

1. Wash and peel bottle gourd. Grate the bottle gourd. Take the grated vegetable in a cheese cloth and squeeze out all the water. Collect the bottle gourd juice, keep aside.

2. In a pan or kadhai heat enough oil to deep fry the koftas. In a bowl take the grated and drained bottle gourd, chickpea flour or besan, grated ginger, chopped green chilies, garam masala powder, salt, mix well and make round koftas. Fry the koftas to even brown color. Take out and keep aside.

3. Clean the pan, heat 2 tablespoon and 1 tablespoon of ghee, when hot add cumin seeds, dry red chilies, bay leaves. Crush the green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves in a morter pastle and add it to the oil.  As the spices release a nice aroma add ginger paste, tomato paste and cook for 3-4 min over low heat. Add cumin powder, turmeric powder, kashmiri red chili powder, mix well. Add a little (2-3 tablespoons) warm water and cook for 2-3 min.

4. Add yogurt, cook till oil separates. Add salt and sugar to taste. Add the bottle gourd juice and let it boil. Add the fried kofta. Cook for 5-6 min. Sprinkle garam masala powder and little ghee. Transfer into a serving bowl garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with rotis or rice.

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