Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chicken Kofta with Saffron-Cashew Sauce

The recipes is from Neela Batra's 1,000 Indian Recipes. Kofta are Middle Eastern meatballs made with spices and nuts (or bulgur or rice). We made this dish for the first time a few months ago and loved it! Fragrant and comforting - perfect winter food. Our 10 month old baby even loves the sauce. We spoon it over rice and she gobbles it up. Go easy on the jalapeno, if you plan to share with baby though.

The ingredients can be found at most grocery stores. And don't be scared off by the long ingredient list and instructions - it's not that hard to make and totally worth it!

Kofta Mixture
25 almonds
6 quarter size slices of peeled ginger
1/2 cup cilantro
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tps ground cardamon

Saute these items in a dry pan a few minutes until fragrant. Use food processor to grind up. (We use the term "wazz" in our house....please forgive our dorkiness).

Set aside the kofta mixture and wipe out the wazzer. Use to make the sauce mixture next.

Saffron Cashew Sauce
3/4 cup unsalted cashews (I just rinse salted cashews off)
8 quarter size slices peeled ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno, stemmed
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1/2 cup whole milk or half-n-half

Wazz up and set aside

Next take 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut into medium pieces) and grind up in the food processor. Place in a big bowl and add 1 egg and the kofta mixture. Combine thoroughly, roll into 1 inch balls and place in fridge on baking sheet for at least 30 minutes.

In a dutch oven or stock pot, heat a bit of olive oil, 1 cinnamon stick, and 2 bay leaves. Saute a few minutes until fragrant. Add the sauce and cook until slightly golden. Then add 2 cups chopped tomatoes and increase heat. Cook until most of liquid has evaporated. Be sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom and sides. Then add 3 cups water and 1 small container plain greek yogurt. Stir to combine. Bring to boil and then lower heat to simmer 15 minutes. Then gently add the kofta balls.

Make sure they are nestled in the sauce and simmer 20 minutes. Add a dash of lemon juice and fresh cilantro leaves at the end. We also add baby spinach at the end and let it wilt. Serve over basmati rice and enjoy!

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