A tribute to Tarla DalalI was busy watching one of Indian series on telly on 6th Novemeber when I got a message from my friend informing me about the passing away of Tarla Dalal. The rest of the evening I felt very sad and my heart was heavy. If there has been anyone else besides my mum, Nunu and kaki who has influenced my cooking it is Tarla Dalal. When I was growing up there were no cookery shows on telly or recipes on the internet. We totally relied on cookery books and recipes handed down by family and friends. My first cookery book was The Pleasures of Vegetarian Cooking by Tarla Dalal. It was one of the first Indian cookery books available in Kenya. Over the years I not collected quite a few of Tarla Dalal's books but have tried so many of her recipes and gained a lot of tips and knowledge from her. My kaki and I would open up her books and select a recipe to try out on Saturdays in the afternoon after my mum has gone off to her room for a nap. A few dishes did land up in the bin as we may not have followed the recipe probably but majority received accolades from our huge family. Our first pizza, tacos, palak paneer, pasta, cookies, eggless cakes were all from a Tarla Dalal recipe. I remember trying to find green tomatoes for our Taco recipe, trying to roll out thin cannelonis without a pasta machine, making tonnes of vegetable stock, serving delicious drinks and desserts. As we explored the wide world of different cuisines, kaki and I followed the recipes word to word. Over the years as I gained more experience, I have adapted a lot of her recipes to my methods and availability of ingredients. All her recipes are easy to follow and turn out well. I am so glad that Tarla Dalal shared her talent, knowledge and creativity with millions all over the world. I feel there probably are very few Indian homes that may not possess a Tarla Dalal book.
So today's post is dedicated to Tarla Dalal, one of the first cookery book writers and cookery show host of India. I never got the opportunity to see her in person but her recipes through books, shows and now the modern world of computer will forever stay in our hearts and stomachs. I chose to make laknavi kofta curry from her book Party cooking (page 114-115) as most of the ingredients are available readily throughout the year. I have adapted a few of the measurements and methods according to my needs.
LAKNAVI KOFTA CURRY
For the koftas:
4 medium potatoes boiled (approx 500g)
1 cup finely chopped spinach (palak)
1 cup finely chopped fresh coriander (dhania)
1 cup finely chopped fenugreek leaves (methi)
2 to 4 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp gram flour (chana flour) (my own addition)
1 tsp green chilli paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garam masala
1¼ tsp salt
For the gravy:
2 large onions minced or grated
1 cup fresh yogurt
1 cup milk
2 tbsp fresh cream
4 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
¼ -½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
10 to 12 cashew nuts
2 tbsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
2 tbsp cucumber seeds (or pumpkin seeds) optional
1 tsp green chilli paste
½ - ¾ tsp salt
2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander
oil for deep frying
Preparation of the koftas:
- Peel and mash the boiled potatoes.
- Add rest of the ingredients for the koftas and mix well.
- Grease your hands with oil.Take about a tablespoonful of the mixture and make into oval shapes or round.
- Heat the oil for frying over medium heat. When it is ready, fry the koftas till they appear light brown in colour. Keep them on the side till required.
Preparation of the gravy:
- Mince 2 large onions and keep it on the side.
- Process the cashew nuts, poppy seeds and pumpkin seeds into a coarse powder.
- Heat ghee in a wide pan. When it is hot, add the onion paste and stir fry till it begins to turn slightly brown.
- Add the garlic paste and stir fry for a few seconds.
- Add the ginger and chilli paste. Mix well.
- Add the turmeric powder and the cashew nut powder mixture.
- Stir fry for a few seconds. Add salt.
- Add the yogurt and milk. Keep stirring till the gravy begins to thicken.
- Add the cream and let the gravy simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir is occasionally.
- Add the koftas and garnish with chopped coriander before serving with naans, parathas, chappati or rice.
- Adding gram flour makes the koftas slightly crunchier.
- If the kofta mixture is too soft, add more flour.
- To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a very tiny piece of the kofta into the oil. it should come up immediately.
- If the koftas separate while frying, add a bit more flour.
- Prepare the gravy and koftas in advance. Heat the gravy well before serving.
- Leftover gravy becomes very thick. Just add a little milk or water when heating it up.
- Use oil instead of ghee or use both.
- Make sure that the chopped spinach, fenugreek and coriander are not watery.
You may want to check out the following:
|Arti's pea kofta curry|
|paneer lauki kofta curry|