Recipes | Steamed Bottle gourd Koftas in Spicy Yogurt Curry – A Moment That Lasted an Eternity
A moment that lasted an eternity.….It was a weekday when I got a call from the talented & inspiring co-author of two wonderful cook books Mrs. Pratibha Jain. She invited me to be on the panel of judges along with some of the industry bigwigs and renowned chefs for a culinary event. The event is being conducted by a group of enthusiastic youngsters from Rajasthan in India, who are working towards many social causes in the city. I received my formal e-card invitation from the organizers and was given a warm welcome by Navaneet the ladies wing chairman of RYA Metro and other members of the group.
The venue was beautifully decorated with two large banquet halls for the 100 plus contestants. The judges were given separate I-pads to record the scores based on a couple of criteria such as creativity, taste, presentation, confidence and knowledge of the contestants.
And what a bundle of talent these young ladies exhibited to showcase their skills in salad round, most of whom were in their early 20′s! They knew what goes in to make a perfect vinaigrette, I doubt I can even match their talent of carving the veggies so perfectly.
There were edible boats made with Dates puree and filled with salad, Broccoli Mousse on crackers, steamed multigrain salad with hung curd, homemade savory cheese and so on.
With the knowledge & unlimited enthusiasm they have shown towards cooking, they all are winners to me!
Felt slightly nervous sharing the center stage, watching the audience applaud and holding the mike after ages…gave a small speech to inspire the participants and was honored by the organizers of the event.
Certainly a moment that lasted an eternity!
Steamed Bottle Gourd Koftas in Spicy Gravy
Here is an Indian curry, a recipe which is quite popular in many houses of Rajasthan in India - Bottle gourd Koftas, soft balls made with bottle gourd and dipped in spicy gravy. Normally Koftas are deep fried and then added to the gravy, But I like to steam and then shallow fry to reduce the fat content in my recipe.
- 2 cups packed grated bottle gourd
- 2 tbsp. chickpea flour
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
- 1 tsp. red chilly powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 cups of water
- Oil to shallow fry
- 2 large tomatoes
- 2 onions
- 1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
- 2 green chillies
- 1 tbsp. yogurt/curd
- 1 green chilly
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Salt as desired
- 2 tsp. coriander powder
- 1 tsp. cumin seed powder
- 1 tsp. red chilly powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. mustard seeds
- 2 cloves
- A pinch of asafetida (hing)
Method; Peel and grate the bottle gourd (lauki), squeeze water from the grated veggie by pressing it in between palm. Use the water to make the gravy.
Add chickpea flour (besan), chopped coriander leaves, red chilly powder and salt and mix well to form soft dough.
Boil water in a large vessel.
Pinch small quantity of dough and form small balls from it.
Add these balls to the boiling water. All the balls will settle down initially but will start floating once they are cooked. This may take 5 minutes. Take out all the balls and keep them in colander to drain excess water. Keep the drained water to be used in the gravy.
One another method is to arrange all the Kofta balls in a flat plate, preferably a perforated plate and steam it in a pressure cooker with one cup of water (without the vent) for 15 minutes. I prefer the second way of steaming the Koftas than boiling them in water.
Heat oil in a flat pan and shallow fry all the balls till they turn golden brown in color.
Gravy; Peel onion, dice green chilly finely. Grate the tomatoes and onions.
Take yogurt in a small bowl and add coriander powder, cumin powder turmeric powder, red chilly powder in it and mix well.
Heat oil in a wok and splutter mustard seeds in it. Add cloves, diced green chilly, asafoetida powder and ginger garlic paste and saute for 2 minutes on low flame.
Add grated onion, tomatoes and ginger-garlic paste in the wok and keep sauteing for another 6-7 minutes till the raw smell form the veggies disappear,
Add the yogurt mixed with spices and saute again for 5 minutes.
Pour the drained water and the excess water squeezed from bottle gourd in the wok and keep boiling the gravy for 10 minutes on slow flame. Take off the flame and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
- Deep fry the Bottle gourd Koftas instead of steaming and shallow frying for a scrumptious treat.
- Omit any spices if you can’t get it and you will not find much difference in the recipe.
- Try making the same recipe using mashed potatoes or cottage cheese in place of bottle gourd.
- If you wish to use deep frying method, add a pinch of baking soda to the Koftas dough before frying. This will make Koftas very soft.
- Do not add Koftas in the gravy before serving, as they will absorb the gravy and will become too soggy.