I am always trying to incorporate more leafy greens into my diet and just don’t have enough nice recipe ideas. I tried making Anjum Anand’s Fluffy Spinach Koftas in Creamy Tomato Curry recipe today since it is yet another way of using spinach but not in the normal, stir into sauce until it melts kind of style. This is from her book I Love Curry which has tons of simple recipes which are also mostly not dishes you would find in your local Indian.
On the surface, it looks quite simple. Most of it is actually quite simple but my efforts didn’t look like the lovely picture in the book, but it tasted amazing though. The sauce from this recipe is just so tasty and I can see myself using just the sauce part of the recipe and adding in some other vegetable or even some meat. The cashews used in the sauce, which is then blended, creates this spicey and creamy base.
What Anjum has done is taken a recipe that normally uses paneer and substituted ricotta cheese instead which is much easier to find and you don’t have the hassle of making the paneer yourself it you didn’t want to.
You will need several pans and it does involve some deep frying.
Spinach Koftas Recipe
Ready in 1 hour 30 minutes
For the curry
- 2 large tomatoes, quartered and deseeded
- 3 garlic cloves
- 10g fresh root ginger, peeled weight
- 5tbsp vegetable oil, plus more to deep-fry
- 1 onion, sliced
- 40g cashew nuts
- ½tsp turmeric
- ½tsp chilli powder for heat, or ½tsp paprika for colour
- 1¼tsp ground coriander
- 1tsp ground cumin
- 1tsp garam masala
- Salt, to taste
- 2-3tbsp double cream, or a knob of butter (optional)
For the koftas
- 200g whole leaf spinach, well washed
- 2tbsp cornflour
- 200g ricotta cheese
Blend together the tomatoes, garlic and ginger to a fine paste, using a little water to help – I use a hand-held blender. Heat the 5tbsp oil in a large nonstick pan. Add the onion and cook until lightly browned. Add the tomato paste, cashew nuts, spices and salt.
Cook over a moderate heat for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the paste releases oil. Blend until smooth with a hand-held blender, adding a little water, if necessary, to help. Pour back into the pan, add 500ml water, bring to a boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the curry is the consistency of single cream.
While the curry is cooking, make the koftas. Wilt the spinach in a pan with a little water and a good pinch of salt. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water and blend to a coarse purée with a stick blender. Add the cornflour and ricotta and stir well.
( I forgot to blend it before adding it to the cheese) Also, my resulting mixture was too soft and couldn’t be formed into balls so try adding the cheese little by little.
Heat the oil for deep-frying in a wide sauté pan or a karahi. There should be enough to come 5cm up the sides of the sauté pan, or 10cm up the sides of a small karahi. Test the oil temperature by dropping in a small amount of the spinach mixture – it should sizzle immediately but not colour straight away.
Drop heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture straight into the oil. You may need to do this in batches, so as not to crowd the pan. You should be able to make about 20. Carefully cook them, turning to ensure even cooking – they take about seven or eight minutes and will, unfortunately, turn brown, losing their vivid green colour. Remove and blot off excess oil on kitchen paper.
Once the dumplings are all cooked, place them in the curry and cook for five minutes. Stir in the cream of butter and serve. Best eaten with some rice or naan.
So my oil was too hot and my kofta mixture was too runny and didn’t form the ball shapes.