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Golden Dollops of Divine: Paneer Kofta

Megha Mamgain

Updated: November 27, 2013, 6:52 PM IST
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Recently I witnessed an amalgam of two of my most favourite things- food and films. Sight of delightful home cooked food on 70 mm.


So, after watching "The Lunchbox", I was stuck with the image of the perfectly round paneer koftas that Irfan's character gets to eat...Ofcourse I got up very hungry after the film, and was aching to make the soft paneer koftas, good enough to conquer a man's heart through his stomach.





So I went out the other evening and bought myself a 250gm slab of fresh bouncy cottage cheese. I grated that and half a boiled potato (figured I'll need that for binding). I added some salt, red chilli powder, some chopped green chillies, finely chopped coriander, little bit garam masala, some finely chopped ginger (if you like) and maida or cornflour- enough to knead this into ball of the consistency of regular roti flour. Not too tight, remember you need to be able to make small balls out of this.








Basic Ingredients: Paneer, Corn flour, Cream, tomatoes, Onions, Boiled potato, masalas, dry fruits





It is more pressing and patting the mix rather than trying to roll it into a ball. I then stuffed 2 raisins and a cashew in the heart of each of these beautiful dollops.

















On the side I soaked some cashews in warm water, which I would need later for the curry.





My non-stick kadhai is a bit old and the "non-stick" element is a bit gone, but that's ok...my kofta balls didn't stick and nor will yours. Just don't be miserly with the oil, they have to be deep fried. I used olive oil, and when it was hot enough carefully dipped the paneer balls into the oil. I could hear the gentle sizzle as they turned a wonderful golden crispy brown. Love starts way before eating...just looking at these round glistening babies, I heart was filling up with joy.














As tempting as they were, (really had to fight with myself to not pop one right then) I had to leave them aside and start on the curry. I just removed some oil from the wok and threw in some zeera (Cumin) some cloves, one cardamom, and a small stick of cinnamon, and fried in low heat. Now for most other preparations, I just chop onions, but since I wanted a smooth curry for this, I used my mixer and got a nice whitish pink paste of 2 big onions. I put that into the wok and fried...patience was the key here and also precise stirring. This to ensure that the onions are homogeneously fried and do not stick to the "not so non-stick" wok.


I added garlic paste to this when the color convincingly changed to brown...and out came the aroma, that for me, comes close to one of the best aromas of the kitchen (second only to the aroma of a baking cake) Taking in a deep whiff, I added tomato puree (just toss two plump tomatoes into the mixer with one green chilli). Now on to the masalas- prudently coz the Kofta's have their own salt too...so little salt and turmeric, red chilli, some coriander powder.





(CHEAT SHEET: I added a bit of meat masala to this, don't worry the masala in itself is all veg, but it gives the curry the depth of flavor that you want).





At this stage I made a paste of the cashews that had been soaking, and added that to the wok. In the fridge was a saucepan of milk previously boiled, sitting on top of it was a happy layer of cream. Cream and a cup of milk went into the wok.





(CHEAT SHEET: You can also use milk powder with some water or packaged cream)





I am almost done, and I can see it and smell it!! Yummm...just a little bit water to give the gravy the consistency I want, and soon the curry is bubbling away and my appetite is growing. Its time now for the koftas to get their holy dip into the gravy...I pop them in. I garnished with a little drizzle of cream and its done.





I made some rotis to go with this and what a dinner it was.








Try it out and let me know if it worked for you.It is the perfect comfort food for a chilly evening and definitely a dish to impress your mother/wife/in-laws with. It shows off your technique, your knowledge of spices and flavours.


First Published: November 27, 2013, 6:52 PM IST

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