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Vegetarian Kofta Curry

Vegetarian Kofta Curry

Make something comforting

This week, try a vegetarian spin on kofta curry, a saucy dish of gently spiced meatballs. It’s based on a recipe from the food writer Tejal Rao’s grandfather, though her take swaps out the meat for mashed black beans bound with bread crumbs and seasoned with ginger and herbs. It tastes delicious with some flatbread, over a bowl of rice or even in a sandwich.

Yield 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 green chiles (such as jalapeño or serrano), stems removed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 spring onions or scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped, 1 tablespoon reserved for garnish
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, chopped, 1 tablespoon reserved for garnish
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala, plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon red chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
  • ½ cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 8 to 10 ripe Roma tomatoes (about 3 pounds) or 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  Black pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Put the garlic, ginger and green chiles in a food processor, and pulse until you have a coarse paste. Put half the paste into a large bowl. Set the rest aside.
  2. Add the beans, spring onions, fresh herbs, bread crumbs, egg, garam masala, chile powder and salt to the large bowl with the paste. Mix well with a fork, mashing up the beans as you go into small pieces.
  3. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and arrange on the pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, and bake until lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium. Sauté the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, ginger and chile paste, and sauté until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. If using fresh tomatoes, purée them until smooth in the food processor. Stir the tomato purée or crushed tomatoes, coriander and cumin into the skillet, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the kofta to the skillet, and turn the heat to low. If necessary, add enough water for the liquid to come about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the meatballs, then simmer another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kofta are warmed through and the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with a light dust of garam masala and some extra herbs.
Recipe created by Tejal Rao for cooking.nytimes.com https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1021415-vegetarian-kofta-curry

Photo by Heami Lee.