Saturday, August 20, 2011

Turkey Kofta Korma, a rich dish of meatballs in cashew-cream gravy

Turkey kofta korma is an actual dish from South India. The turkey meatballs typically contain spices, chilies and cilantro, and the smooth gravy includes ground white poppy seeds, coconut and curry leaves.

My recipe is an amalgam, with the basically southern turkey meatballs but a more northern style korma gravy enriched with ground cashews rather than poppy seeds and coconut.

As with many Indian dishes, the list for seasonings for this one is extensive. And, sadly, curries are somewhat tedious to make. But they can reward the effort.

This dish goes well with lightly salted basmati rice and a fresh chutney of diced tomato, onion, cucumber, a little hot chili, and chopped cilantro, finished with salt and lime juice to taste.

The recipe serves six generously.

Turkey Kofta Korma (Meatballs in Cashew Cream Gravy)

2 tablespoons golden raisins, finely minced
1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 pounds ground turkey
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3/8 teaspoon ground fennel
3/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Mix minced raisins and breadcrumbs together with fingers to loosen raisins. Add remaining ingredients and knead all together well. With moistened hands, shape into walnut-sized meatballs and flatten them slightly. Set on oiled cookie sheet and hold until needed for the recipe.

2 medium-large onions, diced
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 whole cardamoms
4 whole cloves
1 small stick cinnamon, broken in half
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pounded in mortar along with ginger
3/4 inch fresh ginger, finely minced or pounded in mortar along with garlic
2 teaspoons turmeric
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup yogurt
2 cups water
6 tablespoons ground cashews or cashew butter whisked with 3/4 cup water
Coarsely chopped cilantro for topping

In wide pot, fry onions in oil over medium-high heat, along with whole spices. Stir often, until becoming golden colored.

Meanwhile, prepare garlic and ginger. Measure ground spices and salt into a small bowl.

When onions are golden, stir in garlic and ginger. Lower heat and fry, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Add spice mixture and fry, stirring, 2 minutes.

Beat yogurt in a bowl until smooth. Stir into pot. Raise heat and simmer mixture 2 minutes. Add water and let simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.

Drop meatballs into simmering mixture. Do not stir them, or they can break. Shake ans swirl pot gently from time to time. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes, shaking or swirling pot occasionally. Meatballs will become more firm. Stir carefully. Simmer 10 more minutes.

Whisk cashews and water. Stir into korma. Heat until it returns to a gentle boil. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Taste sauce and add salt, if needed.

Serve with rice. Sprinkle korma with chopped cilantro.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Georgia Peach Pilaf Rice

Yesterday for a pot-luck gathering where pulled pork barbecue was to be the central dish, I made a rice pilaf with local peaches, the classical Georgia fruit, which is still in season.

Other than containing fresh chopped fruit, the pilaf follows a traditional Middle-Eastern pattern.

The recipe will serve six to eight.

Rice Pilaf with Peaches

2 cups Basmati or other long-grain rice
2 medium peaches, from Georgia if in season
1/2 small onion, minced
4 whole cloves
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups unseasoned chicken broth, or part water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Rinse rice well and drain. Spread rice out on a cookie sheet to partially dry.

Peel peaches with vegetable peeler. Chop flesh into small bits using a chef's knife on a cutting board.

In heavy pot, fry butter, onion and whole cloves over medium-low heat, stirring often, until onion is well softened and butter loses its cloudy appearance.

Add partially dried rice. Raise heat and stir and fry 3 minutes, scraping bottom of pot frequently.

Add broth plus salt. Stir well once. Bring to a boil without further stirring. After 1/2 minute, cover pot tightly. Reduce heat to lowest setting. Simmer 12 minutes.

Have peaches ready. Open lid of pot, spread peaches quickly on top of rice but do not stir rice. Replace lid on pot.

Simmer, covered, 8 minutes. Turn off heat, but keep lid on the pot.

After 10 minutes of resting, fluff rice with rice paddle or fork.

Keep covered and warm until served.