Petitchef

Stuffed Paneer Kofta Curry with Tandoori Roti

oftas especially fascinate me as somehow I relate them to exotic curries. Unfortunately though Indian restaurants in the US (atleast the ones I have been to) more often than not fail to do a good job in making kofta dishes (and most others too). They are either not seasoned appropriately or overly laden with cream and butter. Hubby and I both love koftas so I prefer to make it myself. Me being me, I use no cream, very little oil and I have given an option to alternatively bake the koftas rather than deep fry them. I totally admire them. To me they are exotic with the different layers as they unfold when you bite into them. Simmered into a spicy and creamy gravy simply makes them irresistible.
A little general knowledge doesn't hurt, here's some about koftas-  Kofta or kufteh, köfte, keftes, kufta, ?ufta? have a heavy presence over various cuisines in the South Asian sub continent. They are essentially the distant cousins of American meat balls. The concept of the kofta is that a ground form of particular ingredients are mixed with various spices (according to what herbs and spices are predominantly available in that country) and rolled into a certain shape. Now, they are usually rolled into spherical shapes but in some Arab counties they are shaped rather like long kebabs, therefore the concept obviously varies according to where it is being made. Kofta can be fried, steamed, grilled or baked according to what ingredients you added to the mix. Vegetarian koftas are also very popular especially in India and different vegetables like bottle gourd, cabbage, potato other mixed vegetables are used and of course the very much liked ingredients by us veggies the evergreen Paneer!
Many people wonder about the difference between naan and tandoori roti. Here's my opinion- naan is a  mainly a white flour yeast based dough, cooked in the tandoori oven while tandoori roti is made mostly with a whole wheat flour is not yeast based and is flatter and more chewy.  Naan is normally long and oval in shape were rot is round and like a pita or chapati. I obviously love my naan and it often over-shadows the tandoori roti but the roti is an equally good and healthier alternative.
Ingredients:
For the koftas: 
Paneer ......................... 2 cup grated (reserve 1/4 cup for kofta filling)
Potatoes ....................... 2 big (about 1 cup boiled and grated)
Green chilli .................... 1 finely chopped
Cornstarch ..................... 3 tbsp + more if needed
All purpose flour .............. 1 tbsp
Golden raisins ................ 1 tbsp
Cashews ....................... 1 tbsp finely chopped
Cilantro leaves ............... 2 tsp finely chopped
Carrot ......................... 1 medium grated fine
Salt ............................ to taste
Red chilli powder ........... 1/4 tsp
Cooking spray or oil for brushing/ Oil for frying
For the gravy:
Cooking oil .................... 2 tbsp
Onion .......................... 1 large minced fine about 1 1/4 cups
Tomato puree ................ 3/4 cup
Ginger garlic paste ........... 2 tsp
Coriander powder ............ 1 tsp
Turmeric powder ............. 1 tsp
Red chilli powder ............. 1 tsp (or to taste)
Garam masala powder ....... 3/4 tsp
Salt ............................. to taste
Honey or sugar ................ 1/2 tsp or to taste
Asafoetida ..................... a pinch
Evaporated milk  ............. 1 12 oz can (see notes)
Kaoori methi .................. 2 tsp
Few raisins and cashews for garnishing
Method:
Making the koftas:
1. In a medium bowl, take potato, paneer (3/4 cup), salt, red chilli powder, green chilli and cilantro. Mix. Add in cornstarch and all-purpose flour and knead into a dough. Make about 16 to 18 golf sized balls. Apply some oil on your palms to avoid the dough from sticking to your hands. It also helps in making the balls. If the balls are not binding then add a little more cornstarch.
2. Flatten each ball in the palm of your hand. Place a little of the finely chopped cashews, a little paneer (out of the reserved 1/4 cup) , carrot, cilantro and one or two raisins in the middle and gently bring the edges up and seal it. Make sure the formed ball is smooth and does not have a tear in it.
3. Deep fry the balls till golden brown.Set aside. See notes for the baking the kofta.
 Making the gravy:
1. Heat a medium sized non-stick pan on medium-high heat. Add asafoetida and the onions, turmeric and salt. Fry for 5 -6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the ginger-garlic paste, coriander powder and red chilli powder. Lower heat to medium. Fry for 2 -3 minutes. Add in the tomato puree,cook for about 7-8 minutes or until oil starts to separate. Stir often as it tends to burn quickly.
2. Add in the garam masala and mix. Add honey and let it come to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the milk and simmer for 5 minutes. Check the consistency. If you like it thinner, you can add more milk and let it simmer for another 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. When ready to serve, place the koftas in the serving dish. Pour the gravy over it. Garnish with chopped nuts.  Serve with tandoori roti, naan or cumin rice. ENJOY!
Ingredients:
For the roti-
Whole-wheat flour or atta ............ 1 1/2 cup
All purpose flour ........................ 1/2 cup
Baking soda ............................. 1/4 tsp
Baking powder ......................... 1/2 tsp
Salt ....................................... 3/4 tsp
Sugar ..................................... 1/4 tsp
Oil ........................................ 1 tbsp
Yogurt .................................... 1/4 cup, well beaten
Warm milk ............................... 1/2 cup
Water ..................................... 1/4 cup
Atta for dusting
Ghee or butter
Method:
1. Mix the flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and oil together.
2. Next add the yogurt and milk and mix. Add water as needed and mix to make a smooth firm dough.
3. Knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes. It should be softer that chapati dough. Set the dough aside and cover it with a damp cloth. Let it rest for 1 hour.
4. Turn the oven to high broil.
5. Divide the dough into 7-8 equal parts. Roll each dough piece into a smooth ball and press flat. Take each ball and press it into the dry flour on both sides which makes it easy to roll.
6. Roll each dough piece into 6-inch circles. Place them onto your baking/pizza stone in the oven closest to the heating element. You can place about 2 rotis on the baking pan/stone at a time. Cook for 3-4  minutes on one side, flip and cook for 1-2 min till few brown spots appear.
7. Take roti out of the oven and brush lightly with clear butter or ghee. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes before baking the next roti to allow the oven to reheat.


Notes:
1.If you want a healthier alternative for koftas- prepare a baking tray lined with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking oil spray. Place the kofta balls about half an inch apart. Spray some cooking oil on top. Set the oven in high broil mode and broil the koftas till they turn golden brown (about 10-12 minutes). Flip on the other side gently and broil till golden brown (about 5-7 minutes). Keep an eye as every oven is different. Take out and keep aside.
2.To make tomato puree at home, take two medium tomatoes boil them till they get tender, drain, peel and blend. Ready to use.
3. Evaporated milk substitute- mix about 3/4 cup water and 2/3 cup milk powder and use, you can use regular milk- take 2 cups and simmer till it reduces to 1 cup and use.








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