Like artists, all chefs and cooks I believe have phases and periods in that at certain times they like to cook certain things. It is a way to learn and develop ideas and disciplines that assist in the greater understanding of the food we eat. Currently I am very interested in balls of whatever flesh in sauce, I have over the last couple of months done some lamb Koftas in a Green sauce(click), and most recently some chicken koftas (Click) in what could best be described as a masala sauce . Today I’m going for the Fish Koftas, or to be titled correctly as Machhalli Ke kofte, and like all kofta they only really come into their own if accompanied by a beautiful spicey and unctuous sauce.
This is a fantastic dish for that Saturday supper.(click) You can pretty much use whatever fish you like or can get hold of but here in England Colley or Cod are two good suggestions I’ve also added some white crab meat in for good measure for that extra texture , mainly because I like crab and that the crab will bring an additional sweetness to the dish. Again I promise you a delicious dish that will light the table up as something that is that little bit different.
There are a complex list of ingredients , don’t be too afraid they are all pretty standard ingredients that you should be able to pick up in any good indian supermarket, and they are all ingredients that you will use again so don’t be scared get in there its a lovely dish that will make your taste buds Zing!
There’s enough here to feed two hungry people
Machhalli Ke kofte
What’s in them
240ml whole milk
2 cardamom pods the green lightly crushed
1 black cardamom
.25 tsp turmeric ground
.25tsp cumin ground
500 gm white fish
3 tbsp. white crab meat
1 large potato cooked and diced whatever is good for mashing in your corner of the world
2 tsp desiccated coconut
1 tsp roughly chopped ginger
1 large green chilli deseeded and very finely chopped
2-3 tbsp. chopped coriander
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds crushed
1tbsp gram flour
fresh ground black pepper
1 egg beaten
veg oil to deep fry!
The how to make them bit…
The first thing you need to do is gently poach the fish by placing the cardamom pods, turmeric and ground cumin in a saucepan with the milk and bring to the boil. Place the fish in the milk and allow to poach on a low heat for three minutes. Then Drain and discard the liquid and spices , place the fish in a bowl to cool and set aside, add 1 large tablespoon of the crab when cooled.
Blend the Shallots, ginger, green chilli, and garlic to a smooth paste in a processor with a tbsp. of water, then add this to the fish bringing it all together with the potato and coconut and finally the beaten egg and enough of the flour to bring the koftas together into balls that are holding together in their own right. Use your hands for this part not a blender as your hands will bring the right texture to the Koftas so knead all of the ingredients together and form into balls of fishy delight that are no bigger than a ping pong ball. If the mixture is overly sticky, moisten your hands a little with some water. Place the kofta’s in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes to cool before frying.
You can choose to fry them off before you make the sauce or after the choice is yours; I chose to fry first and warm through in the sauce later as I wanted the Koftas to pick up some of the essence of the sauce.
Now is the time to fry you can deep fry or shallow it matters not just use a medium heat and cook until they are a nice golden brown . That’s Job done for the koftas you now need a lovely unctious sauce to go with them and that is for sure what follows….
1 large tbsp. Ghee or veg oil
10 curry leaves
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp brown mustard seed
2 medium red onions sliced
3 green Chillies de-seeded and rough chopped
4 plump Garlic cloves rough chopped
0.5 tsp Cumin Powder
0.5 tsp Coriander Powder
1 Tsp Garam masala
0.5 tsp Turmeric powder
Small tin chopped Tomatos( 200gm ish)
2 tsp Tamarind pulp
1 tbsp. white crab meat
1 Heaped teaspoon Jaggery/ or brown Sugar
200ml fish stock
200ml Coconut milk
A drizzle of yoghurt to finish
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in your chosen pan and add the brown mustard seed, Cumin seeds, cardamom, curry leaves, and fry until the mustard seeds are popping and a spluttering then add the onions and fry until they are a lovely dark golden brown this takes time at least ten minutes and in some cases more so be patient stirring often and don’t allow the onions to burn that patience should extend until the onions reach the browning level you desire you can then add the ginger and the garlic, and never before as once you add the ginger and garlic all browning of the onions will cease. While you are waiting for the onions to reach that wonderful golden brown take all the spice powders that’s the Cumin ,Coriander, Garam masala and turmeric powders and add a little water to mix them to a fine paste and add them to the onions and when you do, keep stirring vigorously to stop them catching on the bottom of the pan, add a little water or stock f that happens, and that should loosen them off.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook on a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes, you can also add the tamarind and the jiggery; stirring from time to time before adding as much fish stock as to make a gravy slightly thinner than you would serve at…. This is down to you because it is at this point you add the fish balls, and they will absorb the sauce they are in; then add the last of the crab meat for the final couple of minutes of cooking just to heat the Kofta through and reduce the sauce down to how you like your sauces to be.
I’m serving this with some Red onion and Sweet potato Pakoras (recipe to follow) and of course Naan as is my want serve rice if you prefer…..