My mum recently extended her asian food repertoire and courageously took up Indian cooking. She went to the local community college to sign up for an Indian Vegetarian cookery course, which was led by a lovely local Indian lady. I was inspired by her bravery and experimented one weekend by cooking Daal Kofta Curry, from scratch. I combined pure spices to make a Madras curry spice mix, made my own breadcrumbs, made my own daal, clumsily made my own kofta from the potentially-sloppy daal, and made my own curry sauce. It was tiring but I should feel proud of myself for conquering this massive task, especially as my dinners are usually only 30 minute efforts.
I got the daal kofta curry recipe from http://www.veggienumnum.com/2010/09/dal-kofta/ - the recipe uses about 20 ingredients! Impressive! Despite my amazement at the long list of ingredients, I'm sure that there are some Indian dishes that use many more spices. I guess there are also some overwhelming Masterchef 'taste-test' episodes which have dishes with billions of ingredients. Nevertheless, the 20 ingredients in this recipe was very achievable in a home kitchen.
The first step was to make the Madras Curry paste, which I got from: http://www.taste.com.au/how+to/articles/2707/madras+curry+paste. This recipe had an extra 10 ingredients!! Eeeek. The final product of the curry paste is shown in the below collage, in the top left hand corner. The smell of this fresh Madras paste was amazing. This might sound weird, but it smelt quite 'smooth' - what I mean by this is that it didn't pierce the inside skin of my nose with a high percentage of 'heat' or hot spices. I would definitely use this recipe again.
Using the first recipe (http://www.veggienumnum.com/2010/09/dal-kofta/), I made the base for the Daal Kofta. I've cooked very little Indian food before and I knew that kofta has the soft texture of meatballs - so I wondered why the recipe called for crunchy cashew nuts. Much to my surprise, the cashews gave the kofta some texture and substance. The tinier cashew crumbs added a wonderful thickness to the curry sauce.
A wonderful thing about this recipe is the surprise of the raisin or sultana that you place in the centre of each kofta (picture below). The sweetness of the dried fruit added a playfulness and ZANG to the curry. It was really lovely!
I baked the kofta until they were golden brown. I ate a few too many of the kofta at this stage and would be happy to have them as a meal in themselves or tossed in a green salad. Nevertheless, I made the curry sauce mentioned in the recipe and VOILA. You can see the final result in the bottom right hand picture below. The picture is a bit more dull than the one in the blog which I got the recipe from, but that could just be the quality of my camera. This dish lasted me almost 5 days and was sooooo satisfying. It reminded me of the wholesome food my mother cooks at home :). Happy times!