Ladyredspecs aka Sandra has a great blog Please Pass The Recipe, which I have been following for years. Although geographically speaking India is about halfway between us, in terms of climate or familiarity with the cuisine, she is a lot closer to Indian cuisine than I am. Lately Sandra has been posting Indian vegetable recipes under the heading “Indian Vegie Feast”, and I intend to try many of them. I’ve only recently discovered that I like Indian food because it is not only spicy, but also colorful and fragrant. That is certainly true for today’s recipe, spinach kofta in tomato gravy. I’ve made it almost exactly like Sandra, except that I used canned tomatoes (as they are better than the fresh tomatoes I can get this time of the year) as well as less chilli, and there was a little misunderstanding about the salt. Sandra uses flaky salt, so a teaspoon of her salt is a lot less (3 grams) than a teaspoon of regular table salt (7.5 grams). This is why it is always better to measure by weight instead of volume in recipes, but not everyone has scales that are precise enough to measure 3 grams of salt. Anyway, these kofta turned out great, so I am already looking forward to trying the other installments of Sandra’s Indian Vegie Feast.
For 12 kofta
500 grams (1.1 lbs) fresh spinach
2 Tbsp chickpea (garbanzo) flour
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (Sandra uses 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste (I used about 3/8 tsp regular table salt)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (Sandra used 1 tsp)
vegetable oil for frying
For the tomato gravy
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
400 grams (14 oz) ripe tomatoes, fresh or from a can, chopped
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (Sandra uses 1 tsp)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
salt to taste
Wash the spinach and put it in a large pot with the water that clings to the leaves. Cover and cook, stirring once in a while…
…until all of the spinach has wilted.
Squeeze most of the water out of the spinach using an old (but clean) tea towel.
Toast a teaspoon of cumin seeds.
Put the spinach in the food processor together with the toasted cumin seeds, 2 Tbsp chickpea flour, 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, and salt to taste (I used 3/8 tsp).
Pulse until the spinach is chopped but not completely pureed.
Allow the mixture to cool while you make the tomato gravy.
Grate a tablespoon of ginger.
Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add a teaspoon of cumin seeds and a minced clove of garlic. Lower the heat to low and stir for a bit.
Add 1 Tbsp grated ginger, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp ground coriander, and 1 tsp ground turmeric, and stir until it becomes very fragrant.
Add 400 grams of tomatoes and season with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Simmer the gravy until it has thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Depending on the quality of the tomatoes, you may need to add a pinch of sugar to balance out the flavors.
Roll the spinach mixture into 12 balls using your hands.
Heat about 1 cm (1/2 inch) of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan, and add the spinach balls. If you use a small pan like I did (to use less oil), cook the balls in batches.
Cook the spinach balls, turning them as needed, until they are browned on all sides, about 4 minutes.
Allow them to drain on paper towels.
Combine the fried balls with the tomato gravy…
…and allow to heat through for about 5 minutes over very low heat.
They are now ready to be served.
To celebrate the coming of Spring these Ravioli alla Primavera are perfect. They are filled with baby asparagus, snow peas, peas, baby carrots, ricotta, parmigiano, and basil. Served with a fresh tomato sauce they are delicious and actually taste of Spring.