Monday, September 23, 2013

Banana Koftas

One particular variety of banana locally known as kaas kol is cooked as a vegetable dish in our region. They are fried like potatoes, made into tikkis, added to vegetable as well as fish curries. Today I made stuffed koftas in a little gravy that was thickened with cashew nut paste. The garnishing was done with finely chopped serrated coriander.

For the koftas:-

4 unripe bananas
3 tablespoons flour (maida)
Salt to taste
A quarter teaspoon of coarsely grated pepper
Oil for frying the koftas
(These ingredients made 14 koftas)

The stuffing:-

1 medium onion, finely chopped
A handful of raisins, washed and roughly chopped
About 12 cashew nuts, broken into bits
Salt to taste
Chilli powder for that hint of heat
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

The gravy:-

1 onion, finely grated
2 cloves of garlic and a thumb-size piece of ginger, finely ground
2 tablespoons tomato puree
A quarter teaspoon red chilli powder
A teaspoon of coriander powder
A pinch of turmeric powder
8-10 whole cashew nuts ground to a paste
A teaspoon of freshly ground garam masala
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2-3 Indian bay leaves/tejpatta
Salt to taste
1 cup of hot water
A bunch of serrated coriander chopped fine for the garnish
Fresh out of the frying pan before being added to the gravy

  • Wash the bananas and cook in a pressure cooker with the skin on till one whistle.
  • Remove and cool. Peel the skin and mash with a potato masher.
  • Toast the flour in a heated pan till the raw smell goes off. Add the same to the mashed bananas. Also add the grated pepper and salt to the mixture.
  • Prepare the stuffing by frying all the ingredients mentioned above in a tablespoon of oil. Let it cool.
  • Take a bit of the mixture and form a round shape. Press in the centre and add a quarter teaspoon of the stuffing. Cover the stuffing by gently shaping it into a ball. Proceed with the rest of the mash as well as the stuffing.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and fry the koftas, a few at a time, till they turn golden brown on all sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.  
  • In the remaining oil (should be about three tablespoons, any excess can be removed) add the bay leaves and then the onions.
  • Fry till the onions change colour and then add the other spices, except the thickening agent, the garnish, and the garam masala.
  • Cook till the oil separates. If the cashew nut paste is thick, a little water can be added to it before it goes to the gravy pan. Add the hot water and cook till the gravy looks done. Add the garam masala.
  • At this stage, the koftas can be added to the gravy. Reduce the heat and let the koftas soak up a bit of the moisture for a few minutes before putting off the flame.
  • Alternately, the hot gravy can be poured over the koftas if you feel that the koftas might fall apart.
  • Remove the bay leaves from the gravy. Garnish. You can also pour some cream over the koftas before serving. 

Note: The stuffing may sound very little but it adds a lot of flavour to the koftas. The spices, the hint of sweetness from the raisins and that bit of crunch from the nuts enhance the taste of the dish.
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