Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guilt free Gobi ka Kofta (Cauliflower balls in gravy)

Cauliflower or Gobi or Hookosu (Hoo/huvu~flower, kosu~cabbage) was not a vegetable I grew up with, it was a real late entry into my life. It was not a very eye catching veggie in the street corner veggie shop in Mysore since it would usually be wimpy and also pricey due to the fact that it was not a native of the South Indian climate. Nammamma never brought this vegetable home and we grew up without eating it though its much cheaper, versatile sister cabbage was a quite regular fare at home. Once when I asked nammamma why she didn't get the gobi home, she said 'it is stinky :-)', well that applies to the regular cabbage also but she made curries and sambar with it, so why not this one? After probing a little bit, she said 'it looks like chicken when you cut it' :-)). You have to give it to nammamma, a staunch vegetarian, she has never had chicken in all her life and I am confident she has not seen it from close corners either. So here was my amma who told me that she didn't use gobi because it looked like chicken, give it up for stereotyping :-).

I think I tasted gobi  at home for the first time after I got married, amma makes gobi bhath, gobi fry etc when it is fresh and within reach of common man. I have grown to like it and frequently make it at home.

Cauliflowers are low in fat, low in carbs but has high fiber content, water and vitamin C and hence is a great addition to your recipes. While I love a good kofta and order it almost with every restaurant meal, I am never satisfied with the quality/taste of it. Either I find it too greasy, koftas too hard and come back home chiding myself for having ordered it again. The cycle repeats again and life goes on... The other day, I was browsing books in a Half price book store (Yes, in case you didn't know, sometimes you get good deals there) and found an Indian cook book by Nita Mehta, the book was not in a very good shape and I saw a recipe for Gobi kofta without onion. I came home and tried it from memory but made some changes to suit our palate.  I wanted to retain the nutritional value of the vegetable at the same time not compromising on the taste factor. So here comes a keeper recipe for 'Gobi kofta - the slim way' adapted from Nita Mehta.

What do you need to make Gobi Kofta?
I will break the ingredients into 2 sets, one for the kofta and one for the gravy.

Kofta Ingredients:
1 medium sized cauliflower/gobi - ends removed and florets grated
1 sweet potato - boiled, peeled and mashed into a pulp
1 potato - boiled, peeled and mashed
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1-2 Tsp corn flour for binding
1/2 Tsp red chili powder
2 Tsp cooking oil

Gravy Ingredients: 
3 medium sized tomatoes chopped into 4 pieces each
1 medium sized shallot/red onion - about 2 Tblsp chopped fine
1 Tblsp ginger paste/2 inch ginger root chopped fine
1 Tsp Garlic paste/1 clove garlic chopped fine
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp garam masala powder
1 Tsp dhania-jeera powder (or use an additional spoon of garam masala)
1 Tsp red chili powder
1 Tblsp kasoori methi
1 Tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 small tej patta/dry bay leaf
1 Tsp cooking oil
2 Tsp of almonds/cashew nuts (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes)*
1/2 cup milk (I used skim milk)
Chopped cilantro/coriander leaves for garnish
* I use almonds as they are I am a health(y) nut :-)
How do you make Gobi Kofta?
Making Kofta:
  • Stir fry grated gobi in a pan and add salt until it softens up a little bit for 10-12 minutes.
  • Once the gobi is cool to touch, add mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn flour, red chili powder and mix well.
  • Form small lemon sized balls from this mixture and keep aside for 15 minutes.
  • Now comes the waist line friendly part of the whole dish, I use my non stick 'imported from India' paddu pan (see picture below), this is also available at stores here as Aebleskiver or Ebleskiver pan.
  • Heat the paddu pan, drizzle with drops of oil and place the gobi balls in gently as they are still fragile at this stage.
  • Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes on each side and flip it (remember 'gentle') and cook it until both sides turn golden brown and crisp. 
  • Exhaust all the gobi balls you made the same way and store the gobi balls on the side until the gravy is ready, it is very tempting to just pop one of those balls and keep munching on them but you will end up with gravy sans kofta in that case :)
Making Gravy:
  • Heat oil in a wide pan, add cumin seeds and let it sizzle.
  • Add the ginger & garlic, stir it for 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped onion and stir frequently until onion turns light pink. 
  • Prepare a puree of tomatoes, tej patta and the soaked nuts.
  • Pour the puree into the pan, add salt and let it simmer for 15 minutes until the raw smell of tomatoes is gone.
  • Add the dry powders and let the flavor cook into the gravy for 5 minutes.
  • Add the milk and water to get a pouring consistency, the sauce thickens up as it cooks and cools.
  • Let the sauce simmer for another 5 minutes. 
  • Crush the kasoori methi in your palms and sprinkle it on top of the boiling gravy, switch off the stove.
NOTE: The process takes time but does not need constant baby sitting. I was in fact working on the day I made this, set my kitchen timer at various points and continued to work. 

To serve: 
  • Keep the gravy warm until it is time to serve.
  • Drop the gobi koftas in to the gravy and coat them with the gravy just before serving
  • Serve delicious, melt in the mouth gobi koftas garnished with cilantro as a side dish to roti or rice. 
  • When you make the gobi balls, you can keep a raisin and cashew nut in the middle of the gobi balls for that extra restaurant touch, but my koftas were naturally sweet with the sweet potatoes.
  • You can omit onions for the gravy like in the original recipe.
  • You can replace milk with cream for a richer gravy, I found my gravy to be just perfect.
  • Once you make the gobi balls, keep them outside for about 15 minutes for them to naturally dry a little bit, this makes it easier to fry them.
  • I have tasted koftas made with gram flour or besan which gives a strong pakoda-like taste, corn flour is very non intrusive in taste and acts as a good binding agent.
Here goes my Gobi kofta to Vardhini's Healing Foods-Cauliflower event started by Siri


NamsVeni Pothas said...

Gobi Koftha with Chapati is a very nice combination for a winter night menu. it is a tasty and mouth watering dish.

Vardhini said...

I use the paniyaram pan too for kofthas. Healthy and tasty. Thx for linking to the event.

Nagashree said...

Yes, I like this too over the baking method. Thanks!