Kofta Curry

  • Time: 3 hours
  • Serves: 4
  • Level: medium

‘…it’s a real treat to have curry at home. You might not have all the spices you need, but Dad is all in favour of using Indian curry powders and pastes.’

Pete
'When the neighbours bring flat breads Dad starts cooking curry. We don't eat curry that often, so...'

What you need

6 pork sausages – good quality with high meat content

1/2cup of cooked bulgur wheat

1 egg – beaten with a fork

1/2 a small onion chopped very finely

Handful of fresh coriander chopped finely

4 large leaves of mint chopped finely

1/2 green chilli deseeded and chopped finely

1 teaspoon of garam masala

1/2 tsp ground cumin

Salt and pepper

Squeeze of lemon

 

Sauce

1 1/2 small onions – chopped finely

1/2 a stick cinnamon

3 bay leaves

3 cloves of garlic lightly smashed, cut in half and green shoots removed

5cm piece of peeled ginger chopped roughly

1/2 green chilli de-seeded and chopped roughly

2 tablespoons wet madras sauce – or equivalent

1 large tomato cut in quarters or 2 medium tomatoes cut in half

250ml chicken stock

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

150ml cream

 

For the rice

1 cup basmati rice

2 coves

3 peppercorns

4 green cardamom pods

Handful of chopped fresh coriander

 

For the raita

300ml Greek yoghurt

1/4 cucumber

3 large leaves of mint chopped finely

Lemon juice

Salt and pepper

 

For the dal

¾ cup split red lentils

2 ½ cups water

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin seed,

2 small dried red Kashmiri (or other dried) chillies – deseeded

2 garlic cloves – gently bashed with the side of a knife cut in half and any green shoots removed

 

For the parathas

1 large stack of ‘parathas’ supplied by a friendly neighbour. Or use any other Indian flatbread.

 

To serve

Mango chutney

 



Dad's Recipe Tales

Our wonderful neighbours have brought round a warm stack of homemade parathas…

I was told they’re Mrs Y’s special recipe and use three types of flour. They were delicious: as were the unannounced onion bahjis, or the surprise vegetable samosas and even the unexpected complete curry meal. The time we might predict next-door’s edible tidings is at Eid (the end of the Ramadan fast), the bell rings and we open the door to a beautiful smile and a dish of a traditional and celebratory sweet semolina.

These neighbourly offerings are not altruistic deeds of faith or charity – they’re just everyday acts of sharing and kindness. Such gestures, seem out-of-place in an age of self-interest and the individual. You might assume that neighbours would rather disturb us with loud music, grow light-sucking leyandii, or block our shared drives.

But not our neighbours. We are blessed with their consideration and friendliness. And the feeling is mutual. We watch out for each other, keep dialogues open and share local and personal news. We look after each other’s houses, feed each other’s pets and mow each other’s lawns.

Happily for me, this friendliness helps inspire my cooking. Our neighbours share their fruit and veg with us – and I turn them into cooked food. I’ve made R’s roasted tomato sauce and heritage tomato Japanese salad, Mrs Y’s pear tarts, Mr X’s quince frangipane, Mrs T-K’s mebrillo and D & A’s crab apple jelly. We return the favour with our own beans and when I can, cooked dishes and my posted recipes and stories.

 

 

How Dad Cooked It

I have a confluence of ‘use-by’ expiration dates in the fridge – sausages were not eaten over the weekend, a pot of Masala paste should be used and a tub of cream is just about to turn. Meanwhile, our wonderful neighbours have brought round a warm stack homemade parathas, so I decide to make a creamy kofta curry to go with the bread – all I need is a cucumber.

The kofta meatballs are a ruse to smuggle sausages past Mrs WDC. She likes sausages in an Italian style pasta dish with sausages and peas (which she calls ‘al giardiniera’) or dishes made with Luganega sausages – but otherwise, sausages tend to get pushed to the side of the plate.

I’ve recently taken to de-skinning sausages and using the mince in sauces. Here I use the same principle to make meatballs but have been inspired by Sabrina Ghayour‘s Persian bulgur wheat ‘meat-less’ meatballs – it occurs that I could make my koftas less meaty by adding bulgur.

  1. Make the koftas: boil the bulgur till the grains are a little overdone – about 5 minutes more than the instructions. Drain and cool.
  2. Skin the sausages and put into a large bowl, add the remaining kofta ingredients and mix well. Form them into small balls and let them rest in the fridge for an hour.
  3. When they have rested roll them in flour and squeeze again into balls. Shallow fry until they are well browned all over.
  4. Make the rice: Add the rice to a small saucepan with tight fitting lid. Add a small glug of vegetable oil, and add the spices. Heat the pan to medium high and stir the rice and spices continuously for 3 minutes. Boil a kettle of water  and add 1 + 3/4 cup water boiling water to the rice. Stir, then turn the heat to its lowest setting cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the chopped herbs and cover. Leave for 15 minutes.
  5. Make the dal: wash the lentils, put the lentils and water in a pan and add the turmeric and simmer for 30-40 minutes adding more water if it gets too dry. The dal should be fairly liquid – though I prefer it a little thicker. Leave until ready to serve, then gently re-heat and transfer to a serving dish. Heat the oil in a pan add the remaining ingredients and fry quickly: the chilli will go dark and the seeds may pop, the garlic should just colour – do not let things burn. Pour this over the dal.
  6. Make the sauce: Put garlic, chilli, ginger, masala sauce, and a little of the chicken stock into a small food processor and whiz it until it is a smooth paste. Sweat the onions with the cinnamon stick on medium high heat until translucent and just starting to lightly brown, add the cumin, coriander and bay leaves – stir for 30 seconds – do not let the spices burn.
  7. Quickly add the blended paste and fry for 5-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the remaining stock. Lower the heat and cover the pan and braise the sauce gently for 10 minutes – add the garam masala and koftas and continue to gently braise for 10 minutes.
  8. Add the cream, (remove the tomato skins if desired), bring up to a simmer whilst carefully stirring. Adjust the seasoning. Cover and rest for 5 minutes.
  9. Make the raita: Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Grate on a large grater. Using your hands, squeeze out the excess liquid. Put into a bowl and add the mint, stir and season to taste. There is no garlic here – the sauce provides a fresh and simple foil to the richness of the rest of the meal.
  10. Serve: fluff up the rice and serve everything hot in separate serving dishes. Spoon out some mango chutney into a small dish. Warm the parathas. Garnish the koftas with chopped coriander

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