No, I am not going to give you another lecture on the origin of koftas and how we adapted it. You already know it. Some years ago I used to live with a roommate who was a vegetarian. I wasn’t though, but I didn’t want to go through the trouble of making fish only for myself and also bothering my non-fish eating roommate. As I love vegetarian food, I used to cook mostly vegetables. One day I made knachkolar/plantain kofta curry. I tried it for the first time in my life. I didn’t go gaga over it, but for some reason my roommate really liked it. Plantain not being one of my favorite vegetables, it got wiped out from my memory after a while. Never made it again as I never craved for it.
A couple of months ago when I visited her, she said she still remembers my koftas. I was truly surprised. I would never have guessed. I totally forgot the recipe and even the taste of it. All I remember is that it didn’t taste excellent. But I promised her that I’ll make it and post it on my blog.
Couple of weeks ago when my Maa came to visit us, the first thing I asked her to make was knachkolar kofta. I know I do not have the patience to go through the entire process and I was guilty of postponing the whole thing for a long time. The whole cooking happened in my absence, so I do not have any first hand experience of how to cook it her way. Maa just told me the recipe and I am writing it. Trust me, Maa’s koftas tasted really good. I mean real real good. She made it very differently than I would have thought. As with any other koftas, they tasted way better after a day or two. We had it the day they were made and they were still a little hard inside. We had it again after a couple of days and they had absorbed all the goodness from the gravy and tasted awesome.
It was a weekday and I didn’t have time to photograph this dish extensively. I’ll update this post if Maa makes it again and will surely post more photos.
As I said, I wasn’t at home when it was cooked, so cannot give you any proportion. Go with your instinct and experience.
To make the koftas:
Plantain: Try to get the Indian variety; if you cannot find them, use the American ones. Actually Maa made it with the American plantains and she said they were very hard.
Crushed black pepper
Raisins a handful
Chopped green chili
A little bit of ginger paste
Salt (not too much as the koftas will be absorbing the salt from the gravy as well)
Little bit of garam masala (cardamom-cinnamon-cloves powdered together)
For the gravy:
Whole cardamom, cinnamon and cloves
Whole dry red chili
Garam masala powder
Cumin-coriander-red chili powder
Salt to taste
Soak the cashews and the poppy seeds in the water for 10-15 minutes and then grind them to a paste.
Making the koftas:
- Cut the plantains into one inch pieces and boil them until soft.
- Drain the water and peel the skin (you can reserve the skin to make khosha bata, my Maa made it and it was very tasty)
- Mash the plantains with the back of a spoon until very smooth. If your plantain is not very sticky, you can add boiled potato too.
- Add all the spices (except raisins) and mix them with the mashed pulp. It should form a dough like consistency.
- Form small balls and put 2 raisins inside them. Close the balls again or reshape them.
- Once all the balls are made, deep/shallow fry them. Make sure you keep an eye on the heat/flame. The koftas might get burnt if the heat is too high. Roll them gently while frying for even browning or cooking.
- Drain them on a paper towel/absorbent paper/cloth.
Making the gravy:
- Heat up the oil and add the whole cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
- Once they sizzle, add the bay leaves and the whole dry red chilies. Let them release the aroma.
- Mix the cumin-coriander-red chili-turmeric powder with the ginger paste and add it to the oil. Cook it until oil separates.
- Add the cashew-poppy seed paste and sauté them again for few minutes. You can replace the cashew poppy seed paste with melon seed paste. Or add cashew paste but not poppy seeds. It’s upto you.
- Once the spice paste looks well cooked, add warm water and few slit green chilies and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the heat to a medium high and let the gravy get cooked.
- Once the gravy is done and reaches it’s desired consistency, add the garam masala powder and cover the pot.
- Arrange the koftas on a tray and pour the gravy over it. Let the koftas soak the gravy for several hours before you serve.