Thursday, September 03, 2015

Fish Kofta Curry -- and the summer that was

Updated on Apr, 2018 with this photo. Scroll down for recipe.

We are in the last leg, rather finger of the summer holidays. Four more days to go and school opens on Tuesday. It has been a long vacation and a surprisingly fun one. I think that is what happens when you set out with very low expectations. With our holidays(to Yellowstone, which I need to write about soon) done at the very beginning of July and no excitement of grandparents visiting, when we had looked upon the stretch of two months lying ahead of us back in July 9th, it seemed like barren two months of little fun. A lot of our and the kids' friends were also away in India for the summer and the prospect looked really bleak.

As is my habit, I am filled with utter remorse if  summer vacation is not "fun" enough and so I even had a panic attack or two and had I been born in the West I would have a shrink who could have profited by my state. The husband-man who looks down upon my attempt at concocting "summer fun" with utter disdain and thinks I am getting sucked in by Western ideas of "must-have-fun-in-summer" had his own set of panic at the prospect of getting dragged out in the heat instead of zoning out in front of X-files on Amazon prime.

All this panic and absence of "shrink" led to marital discords and two absolutely exciting summer months. Okay, not exactly exciting because of the discord but because we had so little expectations.

So what happened ?

To begin with, almost every week, there were visits to the pool at a dear friend's house(who also feeds you after you have cooled off at the pool) and then at another friends' community pool. There were umpteen sleepovers for the kids with family friends of all ages preceded and succeeded by sumptuous dinners. There were day trips to beaches, lighthouses, nearby national parks and weekend visits to friends who live few hours away. Birthdays were celebrated and lots of movies watched. Library visits were done weekly and loads of book read.

Every evening was playtime, where the kids in the  neighborhood would be out on the driveway and sidewalk, playing tag, scooter and whatnot until dusk fell. It felt almost like India where the kids just played out in the open without any organized playdate. Over the summer I met some of Big Sis's friends who live in the same town but not in the neighborhood and it was such fun to meet their Moms and get together.

Small art projects were done and two Ikea Bekvam spice racks which were bought way back in the winter were painted by Big Sis and converted to book racks.

And then I think Big Sis's dream came true when thanks to a very very sweet friend, we went to Six Flags great adventure and BS could ride on the Nitro. It might not seem like a big thing but with a Mom who NEVER rides a roller coaster and a Dad who does not enjoy riding one, BS's chance to ride the Nitro was very slim. It only happened because her friends' Mom, who is the most sweet and brave person I have ever known and who loves roller coasters, took BS on the Nitro. I think it was the high point of summer for her!

This summer turned out like this sunflower whose seeds were put in ground way back in June by BS whose science teacher had given them the seeds. No one really expected them to grow and only two seeds were planted. One of the plants did not survive a rainstorm but the other one inched its way up. And last week we had this huge sunflower looking towards the sun.

When we least expect it, life surprises us.

Now to this Fish Kofta Curry which again was surprisingly good even though the fish koftas were baked in the oven. Both the girls loved it. I liked the baked koftas just like that and the husband-man did too but the girls preferred them in the curry. My mother usually made fish koftas with fish like Rohu which she boiled and then painstakingly deboned. I have simplified the process with Fish Filet which I cooked in the Microwave.

Fish Kofta Curry

I had 2 standard sized Tilapia Fillet
Cook the fillet of fish in the MW for 5-6 minutes. I would suggest do it in intervals of 3 minutes each. I had Tilapia fillet which was frozen and it took me 6 minutes to cook it fully. Yours might take like 3-4 minutes if fresh.

Cook one big size potato whole or halved in the MW. Prick the potato with a fork mercilessly and then wrap in a plastic cling wrap. Zap in the MW for Baked Potato setting which is like 3 minutes.

In a big mixing bowl put the cooked fish, breaking and crumbling it. Add 1 tsp of lime juice.
Once the potato has cooled, peel and mash it. With your hand mix the fish and potatoes to make a smooth mix

Heat about 2 tsp of oil in a frying pan. Add 1 clove of garlic minced. When fragrant, fry about 1 cup of onion till it is soft and browns on the edges.
 Add 1 tsp of Garlic paste, 1 tsp of Ginger paste, 4 green chili chopped fine and fry for couple more minutes.

Add all of the the above to the fish + potato mix

Next add
2 tbsp of seasoned Bread crumbs
1 tsp of fresh Garam Masala
1/2 tsp of Paprika (or Red Chili Powder if you want it hot)
chopped fresh mint or a tsp of dry mint
salt to taste
a little sugar(optional)

Mix everything well with hand till you get a smooth dough like mix.

Fashion small tight balls from this mix. You can either deep fry the balls or bake them. Your choice.

To bake, grease a baking tray(I usually line a baking tray with aluminum foil and grease the foil) and place the balls on it. Drizzle the balls liberally with olive oil.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Bake the balls for about 25-30 mins . In my counter top small oven it takes 30 mins.

To Make the Curry

Fry 1 medium sized onion until pink and soft. Cool and grind to a paste

Make a puree of 1 big juicy red tomato

Heat oil in saucier or pan

Temper the oil with
1/2 tsp of whole cumin seeds 
1 Tej-patta
2 green cardamom
2 clove

Add the onion paste. Fry for 3-4 minutes.

Now add the tomato paste and fry until the raw smell of onion is gone. Add 3-4 green chillies chopped fine if you want it hot.

1 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp ginger paste or 1" ginger grated
1/2 tsp Kashmiri mirch or Red Chilli powder
1 tsp of Coriander powder
pinch of Turmeric powder

With a sprinkle of water fry the masala until you see the tell-tale sign of oil separating

Now add about 1-2 cup of water, salt to taste and let the gravy simmer. Remember that the koftas will soak up some gravy so have some extra gravy to begin with

Now add 1 tsp of Bhaja Moshla** or Garam Masala and little sugar to taste.
*For a different aroma, add a tsp of Kasoori methi crushed between your palm. 
**Bhaja Moshla is nothing but cumin, coriander, dry red chili toasted to fragrant and ground to a powder

Now put the koftas in a serving dish and pour the gravy over the koftas. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice, pulao or rotis.

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  1. Your posts never fail to break me into a grin, no exception with this one. Love coming back here to read your thoughts, if not for your simple, improvised yet delectable recipes. Am going to try this over the weekend with a can of salmon I have in my pantry. Thanks.......

  2. I ordered a meal consisting Mexican Tortilla Soup, Zucchini Bread, Chicken Teriyaki and Shrimp Salad from Biteclub yesterday .However I'm disappointed that the company doesn't meet the standards they brag about. Many of the ingredients' quality in the Shrimp salad were very average. There was no "wow" factor. The salad was way too sour and lemony. Chicken was barbecued but over cooked. The zucchini loafs were slightly uncooked in the center! Also, too much oil for me. The soup was probably the only thing that I can say was ok. Biteclub is not worth it.

  3. In India also, it is a must-have-fun-summer! It is not a simple summer vacation like we had!

  4. Is this similar to the chitol muithya, or is the gravy here different?


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