Weekends are so good. To unwind, be lazy, do nothing, nap, shop, catch up with friends and family, cook and eat peacefully, and so on. But, one of the most favorite things for my husband and I to do is to snuggle with our kids before bed time and recall plenty of little stories from our childhood and their babyhood. Many stories get repeated over and over again, many new ones get recalled and many get made up (sshhhh!!). It is always a great time loaded with a lot of fun, giggles and laughter.
So last night we were talking about my childhood, my passion for cooking as a child and some kitchen disasters that came along the way. I recalled a good episode from my kitchen disaster series. I was quite surprised that this little snippet, which was about the biggest ever kitchen disaster in my life, has been latent all these years. The kids, including my husband 😉 couldn’t wait for me to start.
Summer vacations can be really boring if both your parents are employed full time and when you have to be all by yourselves from dawn to dusk. Even if you traveled on family vacations and did other activities, you’ll have a good four to five weeks to kill. Back then, we had only one TV channel that would start its operations happily at 5 pm. No Internet, electronics or anything fancy to get you drowned into. Although reading, board games, sibling fights and playing with friends helped you while away most of your time, the scorching heat of Chennai summers would confine you indoors and leave you with very limited options to have fun. You had to be really creative to keep yourself busy and happy.
It was one such boring summer that forced me to into the kitchen and had me kick start my culinary explorations. Trying out simple recipes like making lemonade and cooking rice took me to the top of the world. I would ask for some easy recipes from my mom, line up the ingredients and get into action with my creativity when boredom kicked in. My younger brother G, used to be around me all the time was ever ready to be my little helper.
I was about eleven or twelve years old then. One afternoon I had a sudden urge to cook rice using a pressure cooker. I had seen people use pressure cookers and nothing seemed like a big deal with it. I was charged and I thought “It is going to be a breeze and mom is going to be so proud me”. I got on to the task with full confidence and enthusiasm.
I handled every single step with utmost care. Perfect rice to water ratio, gasket in place, cooker weight in place and the level of flame was just right – there was absolutely nothing that could go wrong. I patted myself on my back and was brimming with pride, confidence and joy.
Now comes the best part. I do not know if I wasn’t paying proper attention, it looked to me like the cooker had started to make its whistle sounds way too soon. I started to get nervous. I was worried that the rice wouldn’t get cooked properly. I decided to do something to contain the steam within the cooker for some more time. So I called my little helper G and had him press the cooker weight down using a heavy skillet. When the steam was trying to escape, I had him press it down even harder and I stood right next to him to make sure he did it right. In about a few minutes the cooker exploded with a loud noise. We ran out of the kitchen for our lives and it was very fortunate that we survived without even a small scratch, burn or bruise. Our neighbors came running upon hearing the explosion. After some time, one of them accompanied us to the kitchen to see the aftermath. The cooker lid and the skillet that G was holding had gone all the way up to hit the ceiling and come back smashing the gas stove. The stove had gone totally out of shape. Semi cooked rice had splashed all over the kitchen and significant amount of it was stuck to the ceiling. It was bad, really bad.
My parents were shocked and became speechless when they came back home and learned about the accident. They hugged both of us, cried and thanked God for keeping us safe.The thrashing and bashing I received need no mention. G cursed me for several years calling the incident as my plot to kill him. The story ended up being a lesson to my kids.
G and I have a good laugh every time we recall this big stupidity of mine, even today.
Coming to the recipe, it is one of my favorites. Have made it several times for my family and friends and they’ve devoured it every time. You will enjoy it too. Try making it and let me know.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Inactive Time :60 mins
Total Time: 40-60 mins
1 cup boiled and mashed potatoes
1/2 cup finely grated paneer
1/3 cup finely grated carrots
1 tbsp chopped cashew nuts
2 finely chopped green chilies
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
oil to deep fry
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped tomatoes
5 cashew nuts (raw)
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp crushed kasuri methi
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1 pinch orange-red food color (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream
chopped nuts and cilantro for garnish
Squeeze water out of the grated carrots. Combine all Koftha ingredients in a mixing bowl. Knead to make sure all ingredients are combined well.
Heat oil in a deep fry pan. Meanwhile, make bite sized balls out of the koftha mixture. Roll the balls in breadcrumbs and gently drop in the oil one after the other.
Fry the kofthas until they are golden brown. Place the fried kofthas on a paper towel to drain any excess oil from them.
Soak cashews in milk for an hour.
Saute onions in oil until cooked and slightly brown. Add tomatoes and continue to saute for about five minutes. Add chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, food color (if using), sugar, cardamom powder and salt and continue to cook until the tomatoes turn mushy and the spice powders get mixed in completely.
Turn off heat and let it cool. Blend cashews to make a fine paste. To this, add the cooked onions and tomatoes and blend well to get a nice and smooth paste.
Return to the pan, melt butter and fry kasuri methi under low-medium heat till they are fragrant and slightly brown. Pour in the sauce and cook under medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Lower heat, add 1.5 cups of water and heavy cream and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat.
Alternate Method For The Curry (using Multipurpose Curry Paste)
Saute kasuri methi in 1 tablespoon butter, add 3/4th cup of multipurpose curry paste, 1.5 cups water and 1/2 cup heavy cream and whisk well. Simmer for 10 mins and turn off heat.
Just before serving warm up the curry and add the kofthas. Drizzle some heavy cream and sprinkle chopped nuts and cilantro for ganrish.
Enjoy with naan, parathas, roti or rice. Tastes wonderful with “Easy Pulao for a Busy Weeknight“.
1. Make sure to drain and remove any water from the potatoes soon after they are cooked. This is important to get firm kofthas that don’t get disintegrated while frying
2. Potato is the binder in this koftha. So, please make sure to knead to combine the koftha ingredients well
3. You can refrigerate the kofthas for a couple of hours before frying. This will also help to get nice, firm and crispy kofthas
4. You’ll need a small jar to blend the cashews to a fine paste. Smaller the jar finer the paste will be. The same holds good for blending the onions and tomatoes also