Palak and Cheese Kofta Curry

Koftas in curry

A few years back, cooking classes were a rage among all my mom’s friends. And they found one Mrs. Kapoor who taught all North Indian curries, rice preparations, koftas, Indian chineese, soups, cakes etc. I had attended one cake workshop with her, my first one, long time back. And then my sister-in-law attended a few of her classes and this is her creation.

The list of ingredients is long, but once you get it all together it is very simple. Just mix it all, fry and put it in the curry.

Filling a kofta

In Indian cooking, unlike baking, a few ingredients and measures can be adjusted. Feel free to do so if you don’t have any particular thing in your house. Or you can replace aamchur powder with say mint powder or substitute with lemon juice altogether. Feel comfortable.

My friends have come up with a specially coated range of stoneware – frying pan and kadhais called the Khlos Life. Its beautiful and we have been using it even for all our daily cooking since we got it. You can check them out on Amazon.

Palak and cheese kofta

Palak and Cheese Kofta in Curry

What you will need:

For the koftas outer covering –

  • 3 potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 teaspoon ginger- chilli paste
  • 2 tablespoon corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon aamchoor powder
  • salt to taste, 1/2 teaspoon or so

Kofta Potato cover

For the kofta filling –

  • 1 bunch palak (boiled, squeezed and chopped finely)
  • 3 cubes cheese grated
  • 1 teaspoon ginger chilli paste
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • salt to taste , about 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • few drops of lemon juice

Palak and cheese filling

For making tadka for the gravy –

  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ajwain

For the gravy –

  • 4 tomatoes pureed without skins
  • 1/4 cup curd
  • 2 teaspoon besan
  • 3 tablespoon kaju powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon jeera powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt to taste, about 1/2 – 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup coriander chopped
  • pinch of orange red color (optional)

What to do :

  1. Mix all ingredients for the kofta outer covering and knead it like a soft dough. keep it aside.
  2. Mix all ingredients of the kofta filling and check for seasoning.
  3. Make small balls of the filling and stuff them into disks of the outer covering and seal well. You will get about 10-12 koftas.
  4. Heat some oil in a kadhai, and fry the koftas on medium heat. Drain on kitchen paper.
  5. To make the gravy, I used the Khlos Deep kadhai. Heat the 2 tablespoon of butter, add the ajwain, onion and garlic and saute for  minutes.
  6. In a mixer or a food processor, churn everything required for the gravy.
  7. Pour it over the tadka in the kadhai and cook it on medium heat for 5-6 minutes till it starts to thicken.
  8. Put the koftas in the curry just before serving. Serve piping hot with some chapatis or rice.

Palak Kofta

Notes :

  1. 1 bunch of palak is roughly 3/4 cup when boiled and chopped.
  2. I have used fresh ginger and fresh chilli paste. And packaged ready garlic paste. You can use all fresh or all packaged. Adjust the salt accordingly.
  3. If you wish, add more water to the curry and keep it thinner for rice.

Tomato Curry

Rutvika Charegaonkar

A letter to my yet-to-be born nephews

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Arjun and his cousin Malhaar

Flashback April 2014 : This was a little before I got pregnant. Although I initially wrote it for K and N, I read it a few times to Arjun when he was growing within me.

**

My best friend and my favorite cousin are going to have a baby in just a couple of months. I am incredibly fond of both these women but work and distance separates me from meeting them as often as I would have liked. It limits the opportunities that I have to tell their soon-to-be-born kids of how kick-ass their moms are. And how this is the one and only time when they can see their mom at the workplace, in meetings, experiencing the daily conundrum of life, be a part of everything that’s going on and still be aloof.

I want to tell those little ones (I am not sure what I should call them, the doctor also doesn’t refer to them as babies till they are born, so I will be calling them little ones), that –

“Mommy is incredibly proud to host you for 9 months as a part of her and this is the time when you will be undividedly hers, and she yours. Of course, later on you will be a priority too, don’t grumble in there, your mommy can feel it. But while you are cocooned inside, have a fun time. Your mom is eating different foods. I am sure you must be playing a guessing game of ‘what-mom-ate’ based on the tastes and smells you get. Yes you are right, there are a lot of different tastes, sweet, sour, salty, spicy, but momma is protecting you from the bitter taste, and she most always will.

Little one, I have known your mom since she was a very young. She is sweet yet determined, organised yet crazy and loving yet stern. I wish to tell you these things because at times you may find she is talking mildly in a soft voice and sometimes as if she is commanding an army. Dont worry little one, it is just the situation that demands your mom to act that way. But in her heart she is always the kind girl.

It is still a few months before you arrive and yet all arrangements for you have been made. That doesn’t mean you should hurry up, oh darling, take your own time in there. Because you will be spending the next 100 years on this land, but just the nine months inside. So fully utilize this time, get in a lot of nutrition (mommy is really eating for two) and become a big fat baby while you come out. Recognize your mom’s scent, hear the way her stomach grumbles when she is hungry, feel the tremble of her shiver when she sees a scary thing and notice her goosebumps when she reads something emotional. She is your shield little one, and yet she will let a few things seep in so that you are not utterly shocked once you come out.

You dont know the concept of gravity yet, but when you do, you will be able to appreciate how your mom held you up in her stomach, and how her back must have hurt. Of course the version you are seeing of her is the slower one currently, because she has to protect you. Oh but let me tell you, she is one fire-brand. You haven’t seen her kick a football so hard that it goes out of the field or watched her get into a train full of people, where it seems not another person can get in. You haven’t seen her hop on a bike and zoom off with your dad or brave the snow and dashingly go off to buy groceries. And you will see how once you are 2 years old and running around, she can run behind you but way faster than you. She can toss you in the air and swoop you up, and you will feel as if you are flying. She will tickle the hell out of you and laugh so hard, that you will think this is the best moment in life.

She will do a lot of things for you little one, but you are doing good too. Your kicks reassure her, your swelling size makes her confident. Uncomfortable, but confident. Your movement makes her feel alive inside and the nudge of your toe lets her know you are eager and connecting. She can feel your heartbeat and that is what keeps her going.

Love you little one, more than you can ever know. ”

Rutvika Charegaonkar

“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”

― Kurt Vonnegut

Scrutiny in front of a mirror

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I was sitting in a beauty salon, in front of a full length mirror under bright lights, getting my hair trimmed and conditioned. The whole procedure takes about 45 minutes. I found atleast 45 faults with myself in that duration. My eyebrows were thinning , the left one more angular than the right one, those dark circles under my eyes were becoming quite prominent. The previously straightened hair had now begun to curl at the roots and looked unkempt. But wait, did they grow just 2 inches in 8 months? That’s sad. Is that a sign of a double chin right there above the non-muscular neck? I should do more facial yoga and get my thyroid levels checked. Oh gosh that extra belly needs to go now. It’s 14 months since Arjun was born. In general I look dull, perhaps some makeup will help. More exercise. I should stop eating sweets altogether. But I am a baker, I need to taste what I make . And the mangoes are back in the market. Oh no, I can already see putting on a kilo or two.

And just when I am deeply engrossed in self depreciation, the hair stylist tells me “madam aap ke baal bahut dry hai, they will soon start falling.” She goes on to convince me how I should use Loreal shampoo and conditioner combo. Sure I say. She then points out that my finger cuticles need softening and I shouldn’t bite on them too much. Sure I say. Madam, we have also come up with an Ayurvedic slimming pill, you will see results in a week. Sure, I wanted to say. But instead I said “please don’t try to sell me any more services to products, or I will walk away.’ The rest of the time goes in silence and I resume looking at my nose and thinking I need a nose job. How I wish I had a dimple atleast in one cheek. And a smaller forehead.

Suddenly my phone rings and my husband on the other end says, “hi beautiful”. He asks about a couple things related to work, but I don’t remember them. I was stuck at the beautiful. Wondering – since when did I start looking at myself condescendingly? What’s up with all those faults I keep finding with how I look? And I am not that kind of a person. I rarely spend more than a minute in front of the mirror each morning. The husband often calls me pretty and notices when I dress up differently and compliments. Real, look in my eyes and compliment kind of a compliment.

The hair treatment is over. I pay and leave. Looking any better than before? Probably not. Feeling much worse? Yes for sure.

When I come home, Arjun- my little baby, looks at me and squeals with delight. He will do that even if I am dressed in rags. Even if I haven’t showered in days. He will rub his nose on my cheek no matter the dirt and grime of polluted Mumbai. I realise  that this is what actually matters. It is not a new revelation, but one that needs constant affirmation.

I will still go to the salon a couple months later (my hair is very dry, you see), hopefully less stressed about sitting in front of a full length mirror now that I have already documented all my appearance-related shortcomings.

Rutvika