The whole spicy food thing is getting on my nerves now. I mean, i don’t have anything against fragrant, spiced food but why the hell is everything we eat so damn pungent. Again, don’t get me wrong, I am a big one for chilli pickles and raw green chillies with a meal but I hate it when perfectly delicious food is made spicy for no apparent reason (or maybe that the dish is otherwise so poor, only chillies can salvage it!). So off late I have been cooking dishes that are low on the ‘mirchi’ factor but get full marks for flavour. Arab cooking is like that, very aromatic and you can actually taste the meat. I am slightly averse to the flavour of lamb of mutton that has been boiled or worse still pressure cooked, but Arabs manage to overcome that with such few ingredients. I make these Kofta’s that are in simple tomato gravy, very Mediterranean in essence and the whole dish is surprisingly light for something made with red meat.
For the Kofta:
½ kg mutton mince
½ cup finely chopped onions
2 green chillies finely chopped
4 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
Paste of 1 onion
4 tomatoes blanched and coarsely chopped
3 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp garlic paste
½ tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
Mix together all the kofta ingredients and leave aside. Heat oil, fry the onions, ginger and garlic pastes till lightly browned. Add the masala’s (except the garam masala) and fry for another 5 minutes or till the oil separates. Add a cup of hot water to the masala and simmer for few minutes. In the meantime, make small balls of the Mince mix and drop into the simmering curry. Leave some space between each to move them around but not just yet, let them get done on one side so you don’t have to flip these delicate sweeties around too much. Simmer on each side of the meatball for 7 minutes or so. Sprinkle the garam masala and finely chopped coriander on the top of the curry and serve with rice or ‘khubus’.
This dish turns out yum in a ‘Tagine’ pot... these Moroccan earthenware pots are excellent to stew foods in and for ‘paella’ like pulao’s. Used in Africa as well, this two piece set, has a shallow pot/dish to place the food in and a tent like lid to cover with. All the space in the peaking lid holds on to the steam, flavours and fragrances of the dish and whatever you make comes out rich and wholesome!