Diet-friendly Lauki (Bottle gourd) Kofta Curry

Kofta is a savoury ball made with meat or vegetable, spices and herbs. In India, kofta curries are extremely popular and usually high in calories. This low calorie version of the curry is not only nutritious but also scrumptious! Serve this with Indian flatbreads and relish it without any guilt.

Serves 6

For the kofta:
590g bottle gourd, peeled, de-seeded and coarsely grated
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra if necessary
250g potatoes, washed, boiled and peeled
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, dry-roasted and ground
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, dry-roasted and ground
½ teaspoon asafoetida
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves
1 cup coarse bread crumbs

For the gravy:
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 medium tomatoes
¾ teaspoon cumin seeds powder
1½ teaspoons coriander seeds powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
A pinch of garam masala powder
Salt to taste
8-10 cashew nuts
½ cup/125ml low-fat milk
Sugar to taste (optional)
Finely chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Make the koftas:
1. Place the grated bottle gourd in a bowl. Add the salt, mix well and leave for 30 minutes. Squeeze out the liquid from the bottle gourd and transfer to another bowl.
2. Reserve the liquid to make the gravy.
3. Add the remaining ingredients to the bottle gourd. Mix well, mashing the potato and adding extra salt if necessary.
4. Divide the mixture into 12-14 equal portions and shape each into a ball. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and arrange the balls on the tray.
5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 40 minutes until the balls are golden, turning them at regular intervals for even baking.
6. Remove from the oven.

Make the gravy:
1. Add the onions to a pan with the oil and cook until well browned. Add the ginger and garlic and stir gently for a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, covered, until they have disintegrated, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
2. When cooled completely, blend the mixture until smooth. Transfer to the pan.
3. Stir in the cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam masala powder and salt to taste.
4. Blend the cashew nuts and milk to a smooth paste.
5. Add the cashew nut paste and the reserved bottle gourd liquid to the tomato-onion paste and mix well. The gravy should have a medium consistency; add some water if needed to adjust the consistency.
6. Bring to a gentle boil and then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and add the sugar and extra salt if necessary. Remove from the heat.
7. When ready to serve, add the kofta balls. Lightly mix and serve garnished with coriander leaves.

Baked Koftas


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