Dal Kofta Curry, Lentil Balls in Curry Sauce
This wonderful vegetarian dish is from Pakistan. The fragrant Curry sauce is very unique to The Indian Subcontinent and it's neighbouring countries. The use of lentils in every day food actually is a good source of protein for the huge Vegan population. I learnt this dish from a garment trader, who had set up a shop here in India and is my guru in Pakistani Cuisine. His father owns a Dhaba (Food stall) in Islamabad and he has picked up the secrets of trade. But to him, it is only limited to a passion of cooking for himself, his family and friends like us. I wanted to share this dish on my blog, to Honor his friendship.
Preparation Time : 6 - 8 hours for soaking, 20 minutes for masalas
Cooking Time : 1 hour
Difficulty : Medium
Serves : 4
For Koftas :
- 4 Tablespoons of Urad Dal (Split Black Gram)
- 1/4 cup of Toor Dal / Arhar Dal / Tuvar Dal (Split Yellow Pigeon Peas)
- 1/4 cup of Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram)
- 1/4 cup of Moong Dal (split yellow lentil)
- 1/2 cup of Chopped Coriander Leaves
- 2 tablespoons of Chopped Mint Leaves
- 2 teaspoons of Saunf (Fennel seeds)
- 1 tablespoon of Garam Masala powder (commonly available packed in any food store)
- Salt to taste
- Oil for frying
For Gravy :
- 2 Large Onions
- 1 Large Tomato
- 1 Tablespoon of Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 Teaspoon of Green Chili paste
- 1/2 Cup of Dal Kofta Batter (see above ingredients for Kofta)
- 4 -5 Curry Leaves
- 1 teaspoon of Cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of Mustard seeds
- 1 Star Anise or Charki Phool
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoon Coriander and Cumin seed powder
- 1 teaspoon Red Chilly powder
- 1 tablespoon of Garam masala powder
- 1/2 Cup of Cream
- Salt to taste
- Oil for cooking
Method :1) Soak all the dals/lentils overnight, or for 6 – 8 Hours. When they are soft, coarsely grind them in the food processor. Take care not to use much water while grinding. The paste should be thick enough to just drop off a spoon.
2) Add Chopped Coriander Leaves, Chopped Mint Leaves, salt, fennel and garam masala powder in the Dal batter.
3) Heat oil for frying in a big wok, on medium high heat.
4) Once the oil is hot enough, start frying the Dal koftas. Make small balls from the Dal batter. and add to the oil. Fry till golden. If the batter is not thick, try using deep round spatula or big spoon to drop the balls in the oil for frying. Remember not to overcrowd the wok, so fry the batter in batches.
5) Once done, set them aside. Remember to keep 1/2 cup of the kofta batter aside to add in the gravy.
6) Keep a large bowl of cold water handy. Once the koftas are fried dip all the koftas in cold water. This will soften the koftas and make them ready to absorb the curry better.
7) Now, grind onions and tomatoes in a smooth paste, separately, for the gravy.
8) Heat oil in a wok over medium flame, add star anise, cumin seeds and mustard seeds.
9) When seeds starts spluttering add curry leaves and onion paste. Saute for few minutes.
10) Add tomato paste, turmeric powder, coriander and cumin seeds powder, red chilly powder and saute till oil leaves the side of the vessel.
11) Add Dal kofta batter which was kept aside and saute for few minutes. Since its a Dal mixture the gravy will become thick, so add 1/2 cup of water and garam masala and mix it in the gravy.
12) Add Dal koftas in the gravy and cook for few minutes. Don't boil the gravy with the koftas for long , then the koftas will disintegrate.
13) Once the curry is cooked add cream and chopped coriander leaves.
14) Serve this dish hot with pilaf or Roti, The wheat flat-bread.