Homemade with love: Dal Kofta Curry.
While I’m undeniably addicted to baking, I am always excited to try new recipes – especially ethnic dishes. A friend recently suggested this Dal Kofta Curry (courtesy of Veggie Num Num) and I’ve since made the dish twice. Even my boyfriend – generally a sceptic to lentils or vegetarian – loved the dish and says the kofta balls have a meaty texture. The recipe is easy to follow, though it will take about 1,5 hours from start to finish… I promise, it’s worth the effort!
Dal Koftas (Kofta ‘meat’balls)
1½ cups split red lentils, rinsed
3 cups vegetable broth or water
125g (4½ oz) raw cashew nuts
1 brown onion, finely mined
1 cup wholegrain breadcrumbs
3 tsp madras curry paste
3 tbs sultanas (raisins) (optional)
*When I’m cooking for two, I make only half the recipe and it’s enough for dinner, plus leftovers for two lunches.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/356°F. Bring the broth to boil in a large saucepan, add the lentils and allow to gently simmer for 25 minutes until lentils are soft and liquid absorbed. Set aside to cool.
Using a food processor or by hand process/grind the cashew nuts. Don’t process them too fine – keep a little chunkiness to them. Combine the cooled lentils with the cashew nuts, minced onion, breadcrumbs and curry paste. Combine well, the mixture should come together nicely forming a mass, add a little more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet or an egg (for non-vegan) or a little peanut oil if the mixture is too dry.
Roll a tablespoon of mixture into a ball, placing a sultana/raisin in the middle of each kofta ball (if using). Place the rolled kofta balls on lightly greased baking trays (the kofta can be made ahead and refrigerated; this can help to hold them together). Place the kofta balls into the preheated oven and cook for 40 minutes, check after 20 minutes and turn the kofta balls over to allow to cook evenly.
Once lightly golden remove from the oven and set aside. Kofta balls can be served as an appetizer with raita or prepared with a curry sauce as below.
Dal Kofta Curry
30 Dal Kofta Balls (see above)
2 tbs peanut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fresh minced ginger
1½ cups vegetable stock
1 cup homemade roasted tomato paste (try this recipe) or 1 x 400g (14oz) tin chopped tomatoes
200ml coconut milk
fresh coriander (I garnished with fresh mint)
Heat the peanut oil in a good sized heavy-based frypan or saucepan over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and allow to heat in the pan for 30 seconds until they begin to pop. Add the powdered spices and fry over a low heat until they form a paste, add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for a further minute.
Add the stock and tomato puree and bring to a gentle simmer, allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until reduced slightly. Gently add the roasted kofta balls and allow to cook for a further 3-4 minutes moving the kofta balls around carefully, they may begin to break-up a little but this adds to the texture and thickness of the curry sauce so don’t be too alarmed. Just be careful to cook them gently so they do stay mostly together.
Add the coconut milk a little at a time and continue to gently cook over a low heat. Add a good squeeze or two of lime juice and scatter with fresh torn coriander before serving. Serve with rice; garnish with chutney or lime pickle if desired.
3 cups natural yoghurt
½ – 1 continental cucumber, grated
cracked black pepper
salt to taste
To make the dressing, combine all ingredients together in a bowl adding cracked pepper to taste.
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