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)

Meatballs
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.

Gravy
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.

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