Friday, June 24, 2011

Bottle gourd balls in tomato based gravy

Lauki ke kofte

Serves: 4

For the Koftas/Veg Balls
Bottle gourd - peeled and grated, about 1 lb
Gram Flour - 2 tbsp
Green Chillies - 2-3
Ginger - 1/2 tsp grated
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp, finely chopped

For the gravy
Onions - 2 medium, finely chopped or grated
Tomatoes - 2 medium, pureed
        or Fresh tomato puree - 1 cup
Green Chillies - 2, chopped
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp, chopped
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch stick
Cloves - 2
Bay leaves - 2
Cardamom - 1, split open
Oil - for deep frying and cooking
Water - extracted from the bottle gourd and more as required

1. Peel and grate the bottle gourd. Mix half-teaspoon salt and keep aside for fifteen minutes.
2. Squeeze to remove excess water. Store the water in a bowl separately.
3. Add very little salt, red chilli powder, chopped green chillies, and coriander leaves,. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
4. Then add two heaped tablespoons of gram flour(besan), cumin seeds and mix well.
5. Divide it into ten to twelve equal portions and shape into a ball.
6.  Heat oil in a kadai and deep-fry the prepared koftas, in small batches for two to three minutes or until golden brown in colour and crisp from the outside. Drain and remove onto an absorbent paper. (If koftas tend to break,then either oil is not properly hot or you need to add some  more amount of gram flour)
7.  Heat 3-4 tbsp of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. When the oil is hot but not smoking add the bay leaves, cinnamon. cloves and the cardamom.
8. Then add the ginger garlic, saute for a min, add the green chillies and then add the onions. Close the pan with a lid and cook for a few minutes until the onion turns golden brown. Alternatively one can fry the onions, then grind them to attain a smooth gravy
9. Add the tomato puree, red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric and cook for some more time with the pan closed.
10. Stir occasionally and check that the gravy is even and well blended. Now add two cups of water(including the water extracted from the bottle gourd) and bring it to a boil. Add salt, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. 
11. Sprinkle with the garam masala and turn off the heat. The gravy should neither be too thick nor too thin but medium.
12. When ready to serve place few koftas in bowl, pour  hot gravy over it and garnish it with coriander leaves. Never boil the koftas in gravy, as they are very soft and would crumble and get mashed easily

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