Saturday, January 28, 2017

Streamlined, three pot, pantry-based, relatively healthy, totally doable....and tasty.....Malai Kofta

The fact that I needed so many qualifiers should tell you that Malai Kofta is originally a fussy recipe. Which is why I always order it in an Indian restaurant, whether they make it well or not, since I really don't like to deal with it at home. But here's a version I tried today, which almost puts in the weekday rotation...well, not really, but certainly in the make-more-often realm.

Paneer could be homemade or store bought. I avoided using khoya and cream, since I usually never have those at home (well, I try not to keep cream at home). This makes it much more pantry-based, and relatively healthier (assuming you can ignore all the ghee). Instead of stuffing the kofta, I mix everything, without much change in the final results. Saves a lot of time. The gravy is a lot simpler than the usual multi-step version. I also used Appe-pan for frying, which also helped make it more streamlined from clean up perspective.

Start with making the paneer: Bring about 4 cups of milk in a pot, add lime juice or citric acid dissolved in water. Once the milk curdles, strain it while you prepare other stuff. It should yield about a cup of paneer crumbles. It doesn't need to drain for too long.

Microwave three medium sized potatoes. Peel and mash in a bowl, add squeezed paneer, about half a cup of milk powder (this is the khoya substitute), one finely chopped green chili, about a teaspoon of ginger (I had some frozen on hand, which, again, saves time), 1/4 cup finely chopped cashews, 3 Tbsp finely chopped golden raisins, 1 big pinch garam masala and salt to taste. Don't need corn starch for this. Mix everything nicely, knead lightly, and split into a dozen portions, and roll into balls.

In a steel pot, boil about a cup of water, add two medium-large white onions, roughly diced (big dice), three small cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon ginger, one tomato, cut in four wedges, and about 3/4 cup cashews. After a minute or so, pick out the tomatoes, remove the skin and put them back in the pot. Boil everything for about five mins or so, till the onions and cashews soften up. Make sure there's not too much water left in the pot. Turn off the heat, and grind into a fine paste using an immersion blender.

In an appe pan, add about 1/4 tsp ghee (or oil) in each section. Once it's hot, add the balls, and fry on each side on medium heat till golden brown. 

In a non stick pan, heat about a Tbsp of ghee, add two bay leaves and 3-4 slightly smashed whole green cardamoms. After a few seconds, add the gravy paste, and fry well for about 5 minutes. Don't skip this step, otherwise the gravy will not taste good. Add some water (I clean up the previous post, etc with some water and add), about 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, one pinch garam masala, and salt to taste. Let the gravy boil for another couple of minutes.

Serve the warm gravy on top of fried koftas with parathas....and enjoy the bliss.....

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