I look forward to my blog hops every Friday. I love selecting a theme – usually an ingredient or holiday – and seeing what everyone links up. The entries never fail to surprise and impress me, and I often return to the blog hops for inspiration. There’s a lovely community feel to boot, in the same way that a potluck has a sense of community. Today’s theme isn’t a specific ingredient, it’s much looser than usual. Today I just want to see your favorite recipe or recipes. What dish on your blog do you make all the time, or are you especially proud of?
A while ago I shared my simple recipe for homemade paneer and promised a recipe that uses paneer at some point in the near future. Well, better late than never. This is one of those dishes that I’d eaten out numerous times but never thought to make at home. But since making this delicious version, I’ve had a hard time ordering it when we go out for Indian since it’s so darn good.
While the recipe is a bit time consuming, especially if you start with homemade paneer, it’s not particularly difficult and the result is restaurant-quality. Boiled potatoes, carrots, and peas are mashed with paneer and garam masala before being formed into about 30 kofta, or meatballs. They’re then deep fried (ok, so they’re vegetarian and gluten free but maybe not the healthiest dish on the block) and tossed in a flavorful Indian gravy.
The key to the dish is to eat it immediately. The fried kofte are crispy on the outside but soft in the middle, and so if they are left in the gravy for a while the whole thing turns to mush. A delicious mush, but not exactly what you’d want to serve to company. If you want to break up the effort, prepare the kofta and gravy the day before, then just before serving fry the kofta and add them to the reheated gravy.
- 1 pound (470 grams) potatoes, peeled and quartered
- ½ cup (60g/2oz/1 large) diced carrot
- ½ cup (70g/2.5 oz) fresh or frozen peas
- 1 cup cubed paneer
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Oil or ghee
- 2 large onions, coarsely grated
- 4 cloves garlic, finely grated
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 6 plum tomatoes, coarsely grated
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ cup finely ground cashews
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup water
- Oil for deep frying
- Flour or cornstarch
- Put the potatoes, carrots and peas in a pot filled with water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Drain and roughly mash. Add the paneer, garam masala, and salt and mash together until a soft, smooth dough forms.
- Form into about 30 1-inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper-lined sheet. Refrigerate while you make the sauce (can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered in plastic wrap, and refrigerated).
- In a large sauté pan with a lid, heat some oil or ghee over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and fry until very soft and lightly browned (do not burn). Add the tomatoes, garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric and cashews.
- Cook for a few minutes before adding the cream and water. Stir to combine. At this point you can blend the gravy with an immersion blender for a smooth sauce, or leave it as is for more texture. Sauce can be made 1 day ahead (the flavors get even better!), covered and refrigerated, and heated up before continuing.
- Cover and put on the back burner over low heat while you fry the kofta.
- Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. It should sizzle when you put a drop of water in it.
- Put flour or cornstarch on a plate or shallow bowl. Roll each ball in the flour and carefully drop into the hot oil. Fry, turning once, until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet.
- Once the kofta are cooked and slightly drained, add them to the sauce and remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for a few minutes. Serve immediately (if possible fry the kofta and add to the sauce just before serving, otherwise they can get soggy).
Some roll the kofta in breadcrumbs, some in flour, some in a batter, and some fry just as is. A rare few even bake them for a slightly healthier version.
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