Cocktail Meatballs (Chotte Kofta)

Taste and savor my authentic and unforgettable curries, kebabs, curried pasta, chutneys, vegetables and seafood from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2016) and Editor’s Choice India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine (2016) with simple easy-to-understand instructions on how to make different curry powder blends, sauces, and pastes.

spicy-meatballs-on-naan

Cocktail Meatballs (Chotte Kofta)

Serves 6-8

This is a very popular nonvegetarian hors d’oeuvre served at parties with Sweet Mint Chutney.

Meatballs

2 pounds lean ground lamb or beef
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½  teaspoon ground dried red chilies
¼  cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 egg
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
Sauce

2 cups water
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1″ piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground dried red chilies
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt to taste
¼  cup vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
6 green cardamom pods
6 cloves
1 large onion, peeled and chopped fine
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼  cup plain low-fat yogurt

Prepare the meatballs: Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Make 20 uniformly sized meatballs and set aside.

Prepare the sauce: Place ¼ cup of the water, the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, ground chili, paprika, and salt in a blender and puree. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon and fry over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until the spices turn a shade darker. Add the onion and fry until brown and soft. Stir in the garlic paste and fry for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the turmeric and mix thoroughly for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the yogurt and cook for one minute. Gently add the meatballs and remaining water, stirring thoroughly. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove the lid and increase the heat. Cook until the liquid has evaporated.

Gently transfer the meatballs to a warm serving platter. Remove and discard the whole spices from the sauce and pour the sauce over the meatballs. Serve with roti or skewer each meatball with a toothpick and serve immediately with Sweet Mint Chutney.

Sweet Mint Chutney (Meethi Pudina ki Chutney)

1 cups fresh mint leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
¼ ” piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
2 medium tomatoes
2 fresh green chilies
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon tamarind concentrate
Salt to taste

 Remove and discard the stems from the mint leaves.  In a blender, combine the mint leaves and all other ingredients.  Blend to a fine paste.  Serve in a small bowl as an accompaniment to Cocktail Meatballs.

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Sautéed Potatoes in Turmeric, Cumin and Fenugreek

Healing with foods, herbs, and spices is nature’s gift to people.  Growing up in India, my mother always impressed upon us, “Remember that spices and herbs have medicinal properties and are the heating and cooling energy specialists of the body.  They aid the digestive process and provide heat to the body and cool it.”

Onion helps to destroy bacteria and infection-causing microorganisms, and is considered a diuretic.  In India, garlic is used for many purposes, including aiding digestion and absorption of food and is considered a mild and gentle laxative.  Its rejuvenating and aphrodisiac properties help prevent decay, postpone aging, and revitalize tissues.  As a natural antibiotic, it destroys and inhibits the growth of bacteria, and other microorganisms, heals wounds, and protects against infection.   Ginger tea with honey and fresh lemon juice helps to relieve colds, cough, sore throat, and chest congestion.  Chili is excellent for the skin because it opens up clogged pores and expels toxins.  Cumin seeds have been used as a flavoring agent and medicine for thousands of years.

Turmeric is a unique, colorful, and versatile spice, and an essential flavoring agent for curries, lentils, and vegetables.  As a natural astringent substance, turmeric helps to tighten and firm tissues, organs, and skin and rejuvenate the body.  In India turmeric paste is applied to external wounds, cuts, or bruises to protect against infection and stimulate cell growth.  It heals skin conditions such as acne.

The ancients considered fenugreek a rejuvenating and aphrodisiac spice that helps to prevent decay, postpones aging, and revitalizes the organs.  Fenugreek contains substances that soften the skin on application.  Poultices of fenugreek, prepared from pulverized seeds are applied to relieve pains associated with neuralgia, sciatica, and gout.

Taste and savor my authentic and unforgettable curries in my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2016) and Editor’s Choice India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine (2016).  Learn how to make different curry powder blends, sauces, and pastes with simple and easy-to-understand instructions.  Turmeric and a combination of twelve or more different healing spices give curry its distinctive, delicious and unique flavor.  The magic of curry is in the blending and sautéing of spices.

Garlic, Ginger, Green Chili, Onion

Sautéed Potatoes in Turmeric, Cumin and Fenugreek (Aloo Methi Sabzi)

Serves 6-8

This is a very popular vegetarian dish in India that is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a variety of Indian bread (chapatti, paratha, poori, naan) and Basmati rice and lentils (dal).

6 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut in ¼” pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
½” piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
1 fresh green chili, chopped fine
¼ cup corn oil
½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon red chili powder
Salt to taste
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
½ cup dried fenugreek leaves

In a medium saucepan or wok heat the oil over high heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and stir until they change color and the mustard seeds start popping. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic and ginger and stir for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Add turmeric, chili powder and salt and stir thoroughly for a minute. Add the potatoes and cilantro leaves and mix thoroughly, cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add fenugreek leaves and mix thoroughly. Cover and turn off the heat. Serve hot with Indian bread, lentils, raita (yogurt and cucumber) and rice.