Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Khurmani Kofta Curry/Meat balls stuffed with dried apricots

Khurmani kofta curry with peas pulao
When it comes to cooking meat I cannot imagine leaving out onions and garlic but going through a book on Kashmiri cooking in the Saraswat style I came across a recipe that I had to cook! I was actually wondering how to use the apricots I had in stock (from the Diwali hamper). I have had this book titled The Pleasures Of Kashmiri Cookery by Anu Wakhlu for nearly two decades and had tried out a few dishes years ago. Leafing through its pages I came across this recipe using dried apricots.
The recipe is the same except that there are minor changes in the measurements and the addition of one extra ingredient.
Ingredients:
300 grams finely minced meat (I used goat meat)
10 apricots
A handful of blanched, peeled and roughly chopped almonds (optional)
1/2 cup curd
2 tbs chilli powder
2 tsp aniseed powder
1 tsp ginger powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala
4 tbs mustard or refined oil
2-3 cloves
1 black cardamom, ground
A pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
Shahjeera for garnishing (given in the book but I used coriander)
Apricots stuffed with almonds and the meat balls
Method: 
  • In a large bowl put the minced meat, aniseed powder, ginger powder, salt, 1 tsp chilli powder, ground cardamom, 1 tsp curd, 1 tsp oil and mix well. Marinate for thirty minutes.
  • Soak the apricots in hot water and set aside for about 30 minutes till they are plumped up.
  • Remove the kernels and stuff that space with chopped almonds. 
  • Form the minced meat into balls. Put each almond-stuffed apricot inside each ball.
  • In a pan add 3 tbs oil. Add a pinch of asafoetida.
  • Add the chilli powder and sprinkle a bit of water so that the powder does not burn.
  • Add beaten curd and the rest of the spices except the garam masala and mix well.
  • Next add two cups of water and let it boil.
  • Gently add the stuffed balls and let them boil on a high flame for 5 minutes.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes till the koftas/meat balls are cooked through and the gravy thickens.
  • Add garam masala, and the garnish. 
  • The dish is ready to be served. 

The curry felt delightfully different. The koftas did not remain as photogenic as they looked before they were added to the gravy. But I didn't mind at all. Aniseed is a spice that I don't often use in my cooking. Teamed with the rest of the spices, our meal was a very aromatic one indeed!
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