a little bit of food philosophy and Indian potato kofta stuffed with dried fruit and nuts in a light curry sauce

ndian potato kofta stuffed with nuts and dried fruit i
n a light creamy curry sauce
I take my cues on food philosophy from one of the greatest of all food philosophers, Garfield, the cartoon cat, who with jazz hands held aloft, looks as if he is about to dive into a large dish of leftover lasagna and thinks "I eat, therefore I am." He is asked by his owner, Jim, whether he is rationalising another bout of gluttony. Garfield barely turns his head and thinks disdainfully "I don't discuss philosophy with pea brains"!

I have to say my knowledge of philosophy puts me in with the pea brains. One year of study at University left me completely baffled so I was quite amused to read today’s horoscope which said

A study of a philosophical or metaphysical concept, or perhaps of an ancient or foreign culture that interests you, could take up a lot of your time today.

ndian potato kofta stuffed with nuts and dried fruit
in a light creamy curry sauce
Seriously? I am contemplating a bowl of mashed potato - which I suppose could be a philosophical or metaphysical concept if philosophy or metaphysics includes gluttony as a construct (which since my grasp of philosophy is a little ropey, I suspect it does). As for ancient or foreign culture - I was thinking of potato kofta stuffed with chilli, curry spices, nuts and dried fruit - could that count as an ancient Indian cuisine if they only got their paws on potatoes in the 17th century). Hmmmn, it is thought provoking but just goes to show what a load of old tosh horoscopes are (not that I believe them of course!)

Browsing through old British cookbooks I see that using up mashed potato into savoury dishes is not new, although calling them croquettes makes me think of Abigail's Party, which is unfortunate as these little potato balls pack a punch (with no delusions of grandeur) and are worthy of party nibbles or accompanied by a light curry sauce for a main meal. Vegetarians should watch out, because these cheese and potato koftas have the meat eaters fighting for their portion too.


The horoscope ends with:

The only possible downside to your sharp and penetrating curiosity is possible eyestrain, and a buzzing mind at the end of the day. Take a walk before you go to bed.

What? I think they might have got the wrong girl. Take a walk before I go to bed? Although today they probably got that right, as I tread merrily home from the pub after a night out with some of my favourite people; less of a highbrow evening, more one of low culture including wine, bad boys and hopefully some song. I am, as ever, the eternal optimist, horoscopes not withstanding!

Serves 4
Skill level: Easy

ingredients:
about 500g of seasoned mashed potato (use floury spuds such as King Edwards, but do not add any butter or milk to the mash, just seasoning).
oil, for frying
salt and freshly ground black pepper
cornflour or gram (chickpea) flour
kofta stuffing
150g paneer (or mozzarella)
1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 x green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tsp sultanas or barberries
3 tbsp mixed nuts, chopped (I use a mixture of almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pinenuts or pistachios)
sauce
2-3 tbsp oil (or ghee)
2-3 x English onions, finely chopped
1-2 x garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
a pinch of ground turmeric
½ tsp ground chilli powder (or more to taste)
1½ tbsp ginger-garlic paste (or finely chopped equivalent)
400ml single cream
fresh coriander, garam masala and crushed pistachio nuts (to serve)

directions:

  1. Boil and mash the potatoes. Make sure they are well-drained before mashing (leave them to steam off the residual cooking water for 10 minutes or so). Mash with salt and pepper, but no added butter or cream as you would if you were eating a traditional British mash.
  2. Make the stuffing by first grating the cheese and then combining with the rest of the stuffing ingredients (coriander, sultanas, chillies and chopped nuts).
  3. Now for the fun part - start to make the potato balls by shaping the mash into the size of an egg and stuff with roughly 2 tablespoons of filling. I find this easiest if I make a ball of mash, which I then flatten. I fit this into the palm of my hand and top it with the stuffing. I then pull the mashed potato up and around the stuffing with my fingers and smooth to form a ball. (Alternatively, you could mix the filling with the mashed potato until evenly distributed and form the mixture into balls.)
  4. Roll the finished balls in cornflour or gram flour. Set aside while you make the rest. I find these are easier to cook if they are chilled in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.
  5. While the potato balls are chilling, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onions until softened but not brown (usually about 10 minutes).
  6. Add the ground spices, stir well to combine with the onion and gently cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Add the ginger-garlic paste, stir well and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Add the cream and gently heat through. If you allow the sauce to simmer for a couple of minutes, it will thicken.
  9. Heat the oil for frying and semi-deep fry the potato balls for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Drain well and place on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
  10. To serve, place the sauce on a large serving plate and top with the potato balls. Sprinkle over a little chopped coriander and crushed pistachio nuts. You could also add a pinch of garam masala.

tips:

  • Possibly the only way to improve on this is to include mashed peas in with the mashed potato mixture - then you end up with the same combination as the student curry favourite - mattar paneer (or cheesy peas!)
  • Add pureed spinach or chard to the curried sauce.
  • Replace some of the cream with coconut milk.
  • I have made these potato kofta-croquettes with a stuffing made up of leftover hazelnut pesto with added nuts and spices. Pretty good, if I say so myself.
  • I also like to add a couple of chopped fresh tomatoes to the sauce and blend the whole lot before reheating for a smoother texture.

2 comments:

Emily Blair said...

I love the philosophy! I'd like to study to be a professor of gluttony!

Petra said...

I never posted a comment, I love potatoes and this is truly inspirational and different!
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