Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Baishali'r Enchor Kofta -- Green Jackfruit Kofta Curry

There was a time when if you talked about food it would always be closely linked to family.



Ma's chhanar dalna with its soft pillowy cottage cheese squares plumped with the sweet jhol, Dida'r chingri cutlet where the red-orange tail of succulent prawn peeked just so from one end of the cutlet , Boro Mashi'r jhol with gondhoraj lebu. Food was closely associated with family and recipes were mostly handed down from one generation to other, the secrets guarded zealously within boundaries defined by blood.



There were winter afternoons when that guard was let down and recipes were exchanged over fences and terraces, but those moments were rare and in between. Crochet patterns and knits and purls were more frequently exchanged than recipes. I think it was something to do with those times when the kitchen was a woman's domain and a recipe her closely-guarded personal asset.

My Mother did learn to make a variety of papad from our neighbor Jain auntie and once in a while something different like a Bandhakopir kheer from another neighbor but mostly what she cooked was what she had learned from her family. She also would try out recipes from newspapers which were sketchy and relied a lot on the cook's knowledge. Those were made with her own adaptations and so we always tagged them as ma'r recipe.



But now boundaries have expanded and we venture out to cook from books, television, internet and above all friends. Barring a few people most folks are generous with their recipes. My repertoire of recipes teems with N's jhaaler jhol, R's chicken korma, J's eggless date cake, A's broccoli pasta, S's zucchini chingri and so on. My kids often request for this mashi's chicken or that mashi's shrimp scampi.

Sometimes these recipes are more helpful than the original as they have more precise measures and adapt with the ingredients easily available now. Though not linked by blood these recipes have a tie of their own.

Today's Enchor er Kofta recipe is my friend Baishali's.



I have known Baishali from a time when we were unencumbered with social media and thus related obligations. We happened to meet through a common friend and the lovely, warm person that B is, she immediately invited us to their home.

At that time when cooking was not something that came easy to me, Baishali and her husband were cooking up a gourmet storm. I still remember the whole red snapper that her husband cooked and the baked egg she made on our first visit to their home. The food was beyond delicious and those baked eggs have been since made several times by the husband-man to rave reviews.

We still call it "Baishali'r baked dim, as in "Achha party te ki Baishali'r dim ta hobe?"






A few months ago, I had an amazing Enchor er Kofta -- green jackfruit kofta curry at her house.Well everything that she cooks is amazingly delicious but this enchor er kofta was something so typically Bengali that it blew our mind. I was in two minds about asking for the recipe as no way was I going to get a green jackfruit, cut it up and do whatever it is folks do to make a kofta.

But then came the clincher. B proclaimed it to be very easy and said the jackfruit came from a can. Now I have no scruples about enchor coming from a can and so made up my mind to try it out. Now you see why this recipe was easier when it came from a friend than from my grandmother ?

When I asked her for the recipe, true to her nature, she very happily shared the recipe with me in details. I was a bit skeptical about my kofta balls not holding shape and so had a backup plan if the dish went wrong. Knock on wood. Nothing happened. I made it for a small party of friends who are not from Bengal and everyone loved it.



Though the recipe looks and reads long it is not a very difficult recipe and if I can do it, so can you. Trust me.

For your ease you can divide the recipe to do over two days. So on Day 1 -- make the kofta balls, fry them and have them ready. Day 2 -- make the gravy and assemble.

 Enchor Kofta -- Green Jackfruit Kofta Curry

Boil and mash the enchor and potatoes

Enchor/Green Jackfruit -- 2 can of Chaokoh Green Jackfruit
Potatoes -- 1.5 large ones

Drain the jackfruit and wash it with water several times. This is done to get rid of the brine.

Pressure cook enchor + potatoes . I did it in my Futura pressure cooker using separate cooker inserts for potatoes and jackfruit. Futura does not whistle, so after full pressure build up, I timed it for 5 mins and then switched off the heat.

After the veggies have cooled down, open the pressure cooker, drain any excess water, take them out and mash them well. Now the jackfruit might be a little hard in some sections, so I put it in my mixer and gave a whirr. If you can easily mash the jackfruit then you can skip the mixie and just use the masher.

You should get a mix which has the same texture like aloo seddho(mashed potatoes)

Spice up the enchor-kofta mash

Heat Oil in a saucier/kadhai

Add
1 small onion finely chopped
2 green chili finely chopped
Fry until onion is pink and soft

Now goes in
1 tsp Garlic paste
1 tsp Ginger paste
1 tsp of Red Chili powder
a fistful of raisins(golden kishmish)

Saute for a few minutes and then add the
mashed jackfruit + potatoes

Add salt to taste and a 1 tsp of Bhaja Moshla(or Garam Masala)

Saute for 6-7 minutes until the spices are well mixed with the mash and the mash has become dry and coming off easily from the sides. Taste and make any adjustments.

Switch off stove and let it cool.

Shape the Kofta balls

At this point if you are able to make tight enough balls out of the mix then you are good. However I added 1/2 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs to the mix as I was not able to make perfect round balls.

After the breadcrumbs it was a breeze. I made the balls and put them in a single layer in the freezer for half an hour. Refrigerating them tightens them and makes them firm. I know, sounds weird, righ?
You can also refrigerate them overnight but I had to fry them that night itself and time was short so freezer it went.

Fry the Kofta Balls

Heat enough oil in a Kadhai or saucier to deep fry the balls.

Check if the oil is hot enough by adding a tiny piece of the kofta balls. If it bubbles and rises up then the oil is ready.

Gently put the balls in the hot oil.

Fry them in hot oil until they are a nice fried brown.

Cook the Gravy


Prep for gravy

Chop 1 onion in large pieces. Fry until pink and soft. Cool and grind to paste. This is our Onion paste.

Chop 2 large potatoes. Each in eight wedges. Fry with a sprinkle of turmeric until golden. Remove and keep aside. (Potatoes are optional)

Soak 1 tbsp cashew in water for 15 minutes and make a paste.

Blend tomatoes to make a puree. You can use canned or fresh tomatoes.

Dry roast 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds and 2 red chili. Cool and grind to a powder to make Bhaja Moshla.

Make the Gravy

Heat oil

Now temper the hot oil with
2 tejpata
2 cardamom
a pinch of Hing (asafoetida)
2" ginger grated
I mix the hing and grated ginger in water and then added it to kadhai.

Stir around for a few minutes. When you get the flavor of hing and ginger add the onion paste

Fry again for 2-3 minutes

Add 1 tbsp of tomato paste
+ 1 cup of pureed tomato
+ the cashew paste
Fry with a little sugar until the raw smell is gone and the oil starts surfacing

Add a tsp of the Bhaja masala, pinch of Turmeric powder, Red chili powder(to taste) and saute for a minute

Add the potatoes and fry with the masala

Now add about 1 cup of water and let the gravy simmer to a boil.

Adjust for salt and sugar

If cooking for a party you can finish off with a little cream.

Before Serving

Put the kofta balls in the serving bowl after warming them.

Pour the gravy over the koftas. Don't let the koftas soak in the gravy for too long as they will absorb all the gravy. About 20-30 minutes should be good.

Heat in the microwave and serve. Goes great with roti, naan, pulao and rice.

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7 comments:

  1. Gach Pantha at its best :)... My Dida used to prepared a no onion no garlic version of this dish with hing, garam masla and ghee...

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  2. gosh! title itself is interesting, by the way thanks for sharing the complete recipe in details. Probably look forward to make the way you have shared in this post.

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  3. Can we have Baishali's Baked Egg recipe as well :)

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  4. Can we have Baishali's baked egg recipe too!

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  5. This was a superb treat for us Bong Mom. We are in love with enchor all over again. Making it again right after a week :)

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  6. Great recipe! Will it work if I froze the koftas after frying and then reheated a while later with gravy? This recipe is rather long and I was tempted to stop at echor aloo mash and eat that like aloo seddho! Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Yes it will work. I usually make the koftas a few days ahead and freeze them raw. Then I fry them on the day before I am mserving. Next day assemble

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