Many a times when I returned home from school, I used to see my mother at our doorstep waiting for us to return home, chatting away with our neighbour, who was waiting on her doorstep for her children...Our neighbours had become an extended family for us, since our own immediate family was nowhere in the neighbourhood..we celebrated festivals together, played games with the children, shared our successes at school and generally had a good time.
Its only after coming to the US that I realize how important those relationships were and how much I miss them here...For the past few years that I have been living here, I never had neighbours at my front door, coming in to chat about inconsequential matters, inquiring after me, my work or my kid, sharing food or sharing some new recipe...
But all that changed when we moved into our home..I discovered to my delight that my next door neighbours were a full fledged Indian family, complete with kids and in-laws :D. Their kids come to my house and play with my toddler, the mom-in-law (henceforth known as Aunty-ji) comes in to talk and the lady of the house is also very friendly..It reminds me of what would have been if we were living in India and makes me less homesick...Its just good to have a nice relationship with your neighbours, because you can then be there for each other in times of need! The fact that they keep plying me with home grown fresh squashes is not that bad either ! (Just kidding, am not that selfish ! )
But its true that they have been offloading some extra produce this year, in the form of the bottle gourd (lauki, sorekaayi, haalu kumbalakaayi, doodhi).Initially I used them in subzis and sambhars. I even made a lauki halwa one day.
Then I remembered that Aunty-ji had mentioned that they made koftas with it and had even rattled off the recipe..Well...that was it then...I would try my hand at making koftas...
Recipe for Lauki Kofta
1. Aunty-ji (Elderly Neighbour)
2. Adapted from this recipe.
What You Need:
For the kofta:
1 medium bottlegourd
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp All Purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp chile powder
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 cup gram flour (besan)
oil for deep frying
For the gravy:
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup Finely chopped Onion, almost pureed
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 inch fresh ginger, finely minced
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbsp Cumin Powder
1 tbsp Coriander powder
1 tsp chile pepper (add more for increased heat)
1 cup Tomato Puree
1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder
1 tsp kasoori methi (Dried Fenugreek leaves)
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
How to proceed:
1. Peel the gourd and grate it.
2. Put the gratings in a paper towel and give it a slight wring to take out excess water, if any.
3. Add the salt, A.P flour, baking soda, chile powder to the grated bottle gourd.
4. Sprinkle in the bread crumbs. Mix well
5. Let stand for 15 minutes.
6. Make balls, roll in dry gram flour.
7. Deep fry the koftas in hot oil over medium heat until golden brown.
8. Drain on paper towels.
(Note: Use a small - medium pan for deep frying and use only the optimum amount of oil. That way you can minimize the use of the oil.)
1. Add the oil to a pan. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and saute until onion is translucent.Make sure that the garlic doesnt burn.
2. Add the turmeric poweder, cumin and coriander powders and the chile powder. Stir fry for a couple of minutes, taking care that the spices dont burn.
3. Add the tomato puree, nutmeg powder, cinnamon powder, kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves). Bring to a boil.
4. Simmer on medium heat for about 7 - 8 minutes.
5. Add the water and bring to a boil again.
6. Adjust the seasonings according to taste. Add more water if consistency is too thick.
Add the koftas to the gravy and simmer for an additional 2 -3 minutes.
Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve with any kind of indian bread.
(rotis, naans or parathas)
The koftas were delicious(if I say so myself ! ). The thickness and the flavour of the gravy complemented the creamy flavour of the koftas. Mind you, these koftas are nothing like the malai or paneer koftas that are served at restaurants. Nonetheless, these taste good when accompanied with bread and can be savoured with rice as well !
Although I loved the outcome, I am not sure I will make these very often. But that is only because I detest deep frying ! The dish itself is quite simple and finger-licking good, if a tad time consuming !
(Aunty-ji was quite gratified that I had made good use of both her produce as well as her recipe ! )