My skill level in the garden can best be described as a "green meets black thumb", plants that are less fussy do well while those that are more finicky might not. But sometimes even the less demanding plants will throw me a curveball. Take my little dwarf fig tree for example, it was doing fine until suddenly some of the leaves started showing tiny raised black dots. The leaves would eventually brown (I think this some type of plant rust problem) and then fall off. I couldn't figure out if the plant needs more water or less and I thought all was lost until yesterday when I noticed several tiny little ovules of figs suddenly coming out from the sides. It would be a bummer to lose this one, especially now with this fruit to come.
I'm on my way to Brooklyn, NY this week to attend the Saveur Food blog awards. Besides all the potential food stuff, I'm looking forward to meeting and spending time with the other nominees. Some I've already met in person and others I'm excited to meet in person finally. This is also going to be a nice little vacation of sorts and I plan to visit Milk Bar and eat lots of cookies and cakes.
But before I leave on my trip, I wanted to share something . Koftas are probably one of my favorite Indian dishes, they're easy and pretty much a one bowl dish with the addition of rice or a piece of flatbread. To simply describe an Indian kofta , it's a round ball made of meat or veggies, traditionally you would deep fry or shallow fry them but you can bake them. After browning the meatballs, they are cooked once again, this time in a rich creamy sauce and garnished with fresh herbs, The spices are what make this meatball recipe special, besides the usual suspects in the aromatics, coriander and cumin add a delicious level of smokiness to the meat and balance the heat of the chili.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this kofta curry,
I've used lamb but beef can be easily substituted in the same amount.
When sautéing the aromatics you can use ghee instead of vegetable oil for a richer flavor.
Mince the onions as fine as possible, the ones I used this time for the recipe were a little larger than I would have liked them to be. The finer the chop the chances of the onion falling out of the meatball on cooking are even lower. If some larger pieces of onion come off the meatball during cooking, save and add them to the curry later.
Add little or less chili powder depending on how hot you would like it.
Use a finely ground almond flour, it will make the curry deliciously creamy and velvety.
lamb kofta curry
yields: 12 individual meatballs / about 4 servings
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder
2 teaspoons chili powder (using a hot chili powder such as the Kashmiri chili type)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
2 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoon ginger root, peeled and grated
1 large egg
2 cups red onion, finely minced
1 lb ground lamb
enough vegetable oil for shallow frying + 1 tablespoon
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup water
1 tablespoon mint leaves, fresh
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, fresh
1. Grind all the ingredients from the turmeric powder to the coriander seeds in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle to form one fine powder. Place aside until ready to use.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, place half of the salt, ginger, garlic, onions and half of the ground spice mixture prepared in step 1. Stir in the ground lamb and the egg with a large spoon and mix until evenly combined. Divide the meat into 12 parts and shape each into a ball with your hands.
3. In the meantime, heat a little bit of oil in a large cast iron skillet or non-stick pan on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, shallow fry about 4-5 meatballs at a time until they are browned evenly. This will take about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Drain the excess oil from the meatballs over a plate lined with a sheet of adsorbent paper towel. Cook the rest of the meatballs and keep aside.
4. In a medium-sized wok or saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add the remaining onions and cook for about 3 minutes until they turn translucent. Add the remaining ginger and garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining ground spice mixture in and cook for another minute with occasional stirring. Stir in the almond flour and cook for 1 minute. Finally add the meatballs along with the 1 cup of water. Carefully fold to mix taking care to avoid breaking the meatballs. Bring the mixture to a boil on high heat, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Add the remaining salt. Remove from stove and transfer to a serving dish, garnish with mint and/or cilantro. Serve hot with rice or Indian flatbread such as naan or roti.
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