Palak Kofta

palak koftaKofta is something that can be made so many ways, with so many things. They are typically a meatball of sorts – however this dish is vegetarian. This was a fun dish to make and we really enjoyed it – and it was a bit different from the other Indian style dishes I make. There was a whole 12 ounces of spinach used to make the kofta – making it a delicious way to get more veggies in my diet.

For the Koftas:
12 ounces fresh spinach (frozen works as well)
1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1/2 white onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
up to 1/3 cup water

For the sauce:
3/4 cup milk
1/2 white onion, diced
1 medium tomato, pureed or 1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoons coriander
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

curry2If you’re using fresh spinach – coarsely chop it up and add it and the diced onions into a food processor and combine well. It’s too hard to make into balls otherwise. For frozen spinach, warm it and squeeze all the water out and combine.

Place the spinach and onions in a medium sized bowl, and add the ginger, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Slowly add in the flour, and add water as needed until the spinach is lightly coated and is easy to work with. Heat a skillet with a bit of oil (I used about 3 tablespoons) and make balls out of the spinach mixture. It should make about 12 balls. Gently place them in the oil (I cooked 6 at a time) and leave sit on each side for about 1 minute, until it lightly browns. Carefully roll them – using a spoon is much easier than a spatula here – and cook each side for about a minute, until all sides are slightly browned.  Place the balls on a paper towel after cooking to remove excess oil.

curry1In a medium skillet over medium heat add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the ginger, coriander, chili power, garam masala, and cumin. Cook together for 2-3 minutes and add the cup of water and the tomato puree. Cook for 7-10 minutes, letting the onion and tomato mixture absorb some of the water. Add in the milk and combine well. Next add in the spinach balls, cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat to low. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Serve with rice or naan bread – serves 4.

curry3A few notes – other gluten free flours will work in the kofta. Chickpea flour is what is commonly used – and I’ve used rice flours with good results.

For frozen spinach – I’d suggest using 16 oz – and allowing it to fully thaw (or even warm it a bit) before using.

I’d have typically used heavy cream – however I’m trying to make dinner here a bit healthier and swapped to milk with good results.

About the spices  – kofta is made in so many ways, you can easily substitute. I’ll always suggest fresh ginger over dried, and the garam masala and cumin are always  good beginner spices if you don’t want to invest in a lot of spices. I’ve said it before but once you get a few spices in your cupboard – dishes like this become easy to put together.

I enjoyed making this – however it did take me about 45 minutes or so to prepare. Relax and have fun!

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