Many meals I make in the winter months feature beans and rice or are soups (some featuring beans...and rice), so Indian curries are a refreshing change. I usually wing curries, throwing vegetables in at random and adjusting spices as I go, but they all turn out too similarly for me to feel like I'm doing anything special.
For this curry, though, I followed a recipe, and I loved it. The star of the show is....cabbage balls! Don't worry, cabbage haters. Cabbage balls don't taste much like cabbage. They're savory and sweet and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and really, really good. (Did I sell you with that "really, really good" description? Good.)
Who knew they existed, or, if Who did know, did Who know they were so delicious? Who, this one's for you!
(Makes about 30 koftas)
Serve over rice with naan.
1 pound tomatoes, 2 tbsp coriander seeds, 2 tbsp cumin seeds, ½ tsp poppy seeds, 1/2 tsp saunf seeds, 1/2 tsp anardhana powder, 2 tbsp minced/grated ginger, 2 medium green chillies, 3 dried red chillies, a large handful of cilantro, 1 medium onion, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 clove garlic minced (optional)
1. Grind all the ingredients for the gravy together into a fine paste, adding about 2 cups of water. 2. Sauté the gravy with 2 tbsp. butter letting it thicken. Bring this to a boil, seasoning with salt.
Okay. Big changes. Saunf? Anardhana? Don't I wish.
I used the following:
-one medium onion, diced
-@ 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced or grated
-5 smallish cloves garlic, minced
-one and a half tsp. ground coriander (I now have seeds, but ground coriander worked well)
-1 and 1/2 tsp. ground cumin (ditto)
-1 tsp. poppy seeds
-1 tsp. turmeric
-1 tsp. dried cilantro (If it had been summer, I would have snagged the fresh stuff from the garden and used more.)
-ground cayenne, to taste (Again, in summer, I would have snagged fresh hot peppers from the garden, instead.)
-@ 5-6 tbsp. plain yogurt
-1 quart canned tomatoes with juice
-one pinch of sugar
-salt, to taste
-a few tablespoons of ground cashews (I was given some cashews, so why not?)
I sauteed the onion in a bit of olive oil until soft and translucent and added the minced garlic and ginger for a minute or two at the end. I added all remaining ingredients, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon (home-canned tomatoes easily fall apart; store-bought would have to be smushed in a food mill or whizzed in a food processor). Let simmer over low heat for the flavors to meld while you make the koftas.
1 small head cabbage, 1 carrot shredded or finely minced, 3/4 cup besan* flour, 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tbsp red chilli powder, Salt, oil to deep fry.
*Nope. Sorry. This is what I used.
-1 small finely shredded cabbage (@ 4 and 1/2 to 5 cups)
-Did I use carrot? Had we run out of carrots? I can't find "carrot" on my scribbled notes. Will someone please tell me? (Add it if you want it; omit it if you don't.)
-2 finely minced medium onions
-1 tsp. garam masala
-1/2 tsp. ground cayenne
-3/4 tsp. salt
-garlic powder, to taste
-I added about one cup of regular flour until the texture was right for frying instead of besan (chickpea flour). I plan on grinding some besan to have on hand, though, because enough interesting recipes include it.
Mince the cabbage (best done with a food processor). I grated mine with a hand grater. Add salt and leave it for a few minutes, then squeeze as much of the water out of the cabbage as possible.
Add the besan (or regular flour) to the cabbage, along with the rest of the kofta ingredients, and knead it together. Form this mixture into small balls, and fry them in hot oil until brown. Add the balls to the gravy, and let it soak for about half an hour (we ate it immediately, without the soak).
Her tip: Squeeze as much water out of the cabbage as possible so the balls will absorb less water while frying. Add the carrot after you squeeze out the water in order to squeeze out the maximum amount of water.
My tip: Wait until a pinch of flour sizzles before frying the kofta, otherwise they'll soak up a bunch of oil.
My second tip: Don't eat all the kofta immediate after frying them. I had to restrain myself.