KOFTAS may have originated in MiddleEast. Present day they are very popular in Turkey, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Arab countries. The origin of the word KOFTE is the Persian word KUFTE meaning 'mashed'. In olden times, since people did not have meat grinders they minced meat to very small pieces and then mashed them in large mortars. Usually made of ground meat, these days vegetarian versions are also made, especially in India where there are a lot of vegetarians. Fish being very popular in South India and West Bengal, we also prepare fish kofta, though not a common practice.
I love preparing kofta. I somehow find the entire process of making kofta very pleasureful. Weekends are fixed for such time consuming recipes. I usually do it with minced chicken/mutton, raw bananas, bottle gourd , or a mixed vegetable one. The gravy is usually tomato based or a malaider one made with cashew paste and cream. This recipe is the most common chicken kofta balls in a rich tomato gravy.
A sunday lunch with kofta curry, rice and salad is so indulging. Actually the balls can be made on saturday evening, deep fried. While some can be saved for next day's gravy, the rest can be had with salads and your favourite wine to make saturday evenings colourful.
INGREDIENTS[for the kofta] :
Minced Chicken : 300gm
Minced Garlic : 2 tbsp
Minced Ginger : 1 tbsp
Green Chilli[chopped] : 1tsp
Fresh Coriander Leaves[chopped] : 2 tbsp
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp
Cornflour : 2 tbsp
Oil : 100 ml[to deep fry, the extra can be saved for later use]
INGREDIENTS[for the gravy] :
Tomato : 2[big]
Garlic Paste : 1 tsp
Ginger Paste : 2 tsp
Onion : 2[medium]
Cumin Powder : 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds : 2 pinches
Bay Leaf : 1
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Sugar : 1/2 tsp[optional]
Red Chilli Powder[Kashmiri] : 1 tsp
Oil : 2 tbsp
Wash the minced chicken with help of a strainer. Transfer into a bowl. Add salt, minced garlic and ginger, chopped green chilli and coriander leaves, turmeric powder and corn flour. Mix well and shape into medium sized balls as in picture.
Wash and chop the tomatoes discarding the seeds. Peel and slice the onions. Make a paste of both onions and tomatoes separately. Get the ginger and garlic pastes done.
Heat 100 ml oil in a wok. Fry the kofta balls in batches at medium to low heat. The balls should be fried uniformly. Once all of them are fried, transfer the leftover oil in a bowl keeping only about 2 tbsp in the wok. Reheat the oil.
Temper with a bay leaf and cumin seeds. Add the the onion paste. Fry till it turns light brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry till the raw smell goes away. Add the tomato paste. Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes.
Now add the cumin, Kashmiri red chilli powder and coriander powder, salt and turmeric. Stir till the oil separates from spice mix. Add one coffee cup water. Cover and let boil for 3 minutes at medium to low heat. Now open the cover, put in the kofta balls. Add the garam masala powder and sugar. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes. The gravy should be thicker. Switch off. You can use a tablespoon of cream at this stage, I did not.