Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Kofta Curry

Kofta Curry

The word Kofta arises from the Persian word Koftan meaning to pound-ground as one does to make the meatball from ground meat. The word "rissole'' can be the English reference to what one is preparing.  

While there are a variety of Koftas, from plain meatballs, to ones that are filled over a boiled egg or half of an egg to keep it smaller - called Nargisi Kofta. The Kashmiri Kofta is often sausage shaped and pan fried in oil infused with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves to add flavour.  Koftas are served with yogurt, raita and naan. 

Yet the Kofta curry is very different. These koftas are often cooked in the curry itself allowing them to be soft and supple, as they should be, melt in the mouth and silky cream like to taste. Delicately flavoured they are  an absolute foodie delight. 
Growing up I only ever remember having the perfect kofta curry in my neighbours home in London. An elderly aunt, Roshan aunty was a friend of the family, an exceptional cook with a heart of gold. I may have been just 18 but can literally recall the flavours. When I asked her she said, its always the ingredients. The meat and the malai- cream makes it special. 
While I am unsure if she will find my recipe exacting, its the closest to hers I have been able to capture. 

Traditionally beef is used but she used lamb and so have I. The curry one generally finds on any menu is a tomato based yogurt infused one. But I have prepared my own version of it in following my dream of getting it like hers. 

A malai kofta curry with saffron rice

1/2 kg or 1 lb lamb or beef ground meat
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp cumin powder
8 tbsp milk powder or thick cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chillie powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masalo


Grind together 

3/4 cup sweet cashews
1 cup of tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes
2 green chillies
1 cup fried onion
6 full stalks of corriander 
1 stalk fresh mint
1/2 tsp garam masalo
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
2 dry large red chillies or 1 tsp red chilli powder

Cook this in a pan for 10 minutes until the oils separate. 

Add 2 cups of coconut water, mix well and bring it to a boil. 

Serve hot with white boiled rice, coconut rice, saffron rice or lemon rice. 


Using milk powder helps it bind easily and yet once soaked into the curry the kofta remains soft and succulent.  

Once the kofta is browned all over, cover the pan to allow it to steam cook. This allows it to cook and keep soft at the same time.

If you prefer a non nut based dish, use crushed sunflower seeds. Chestnut flour is also an alternate. 

To read about an ancient cuisine you can purchase my cookbooks called The World of Parsi Cooking; Food Across Borders and The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo Credit : Niloufer Mavalvala

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