Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bottle Gourd Dumplings (Ghiya Kofta)

My Step Mom's sister had come over yesterday and gave us two bottle gourds (ghiya) from their veg patch. We decided to make kofta which is one of my favorites. I had wanted kofta (dumplings) with a somewhat sweet and sour sauce but... because Mom is not too keen to try flavors she is not familiar with, I stayed with her style of cooking kofta.

Bottle Gourd or Ghiya

I would like to say that I hardly ever follow recipes. The thing is, it is very rare, at least in our home, to find all the necessary ingredients for something and town is about 5 kms away. So... Mom and I make adjustments and substitutions most of the time. I am also not a person who measures things. It is not that I am bragging about my cooking skills -- lots of times I make a complete mess of things (I have burned more than a few dishes). I am no chef. I just tend to go by taste and by instinct.

Another thing... I am no fan of red or green chili. No offense to people who love spicy food (like Mom). I just never developed a taste for it and I find it very difficult to enjoy food if my tongue is burning and my nose running. But then I am of a rare species. Which is why, if you are attempting to cook a dish that is featured in my blog, do use spices according to your preferences and tastes. Use as little or as much chili as you would like. People have different preferences and tastes so it is up to you to adjust the recipe according to your taste.

For this dish, you will need the following ingredients:

  • medium-sized bottle gourd
  • 3 medium onions (chopped)
  • garam masala powder
  • salt 
  • besan (chickpea flour)
  • oil for frying 
  • haldi (turmeric powder)
  • tomato puree

For the kofta, the first step is to grate it. There are two ways to go about it. You can either skin it first or you can grate it with the skin on (as long as you make sure that it is washed properly and thoroughly either way). I grated it with the skin on as the bottle gourd was rather tender.

grated bottle gourd

Now... there is one thing that I think is very important to mention.... Bottle gourd has a very high water content and if you add salt, the salt will encourage the liquid to seep out. The way to handle it is to either add salt and then squeeze out the excess liquid. There is also the option of not squeezing out the liquid but there is a very real danger of the excess liquid making the batter runny. There is a third option of not adding salt to the kofta at all and instead adding salt to the sauce later on. Anyway, after the kofta has been grated, add some chopped onions, garam masala powder (or any powdered spices that you think you would prefer to season it with), and there is the matter of the salt.

Grated Bottle Gourd with onions and masala mix
Then I added besan (chickpea flour) a little at a time and mix it in lightly until a thick batter forms.

Add Besan (chickea flour)

Once the batter is made, heat oil in a pan. Once the oil is smoky, drop spoons of the kofta batter into the oil. Fry until the bottom of the koftas are a rich golden brown then turn over to fry the other side.

oil being heated in a wok

Koftas being fried

Once the koftas have been fried, they are to be set aside. Using another pan, add some of the oil that has been used for frying and sautee onions. Once the onions have began to caramelize, add some haldi. Add pureed tomatoes (or tomato sauce). You can add more puree or tomato sauce if you want the sauce to be tangier. 

Then add water (as much as you would prefer your sauce to be). Mom likes the sauce more of a tari (almost watery). Allow the mixture to boil and bring it to a simmer for at least 10 minutes. If there is any leftover batter, you can add it as it will help to thicken the sauce.

Add the koftas, cover and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Be careful not to let it simmer for too long as the koftas can become too soft and fall apart. 

Kofta served

Kofta can be served with rice or roti. 

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Posted by: Bames Pabla
Bames Live, Updated at: 7:37 PM

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