Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast
This is definitely a special occasion dish, as it is elegant as well as delicious, and worth the effort if you have people coming around. Normally, I stuff the koftas with a spiced mushroom mixture but, as I was writing the recipe, it seemed one step too far and fiddly… so I decided to deconstruct the dish, adding lovely shiitake mushrooms separately, which actually works better. If you want, you can choose to stuff the balls simply with a raisin and a pistachio each. If your paneer is shop-bought, place it in just-boiled water while you work on the sauce, to improve the texture and flavour.
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You Will Need
Soak the cashews in water for 15 minutes, then drain. Blitz to a smooth paste with 1–2 tbsp of water, then set aside. Heat the oil for the sauce in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the black cardamom and onions and cook until well browned. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until lightly colouring. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, remaining
spices and seasoning; cook over a medium heat, stirring, until the water evaporates and the paste releases oil, around 15 minutes. Cook the paste for a few minutes over a moderate to high heat, stirring constantly, to get a better depth of flavour. Add a splash of water, then blend to a fine puree. Add enough water to reach the consistency of
single cream, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for six to seven minutes.
While the curry is cooking, make the koftas. Break up and crumble the paneer until it is fine then, with the heel of your hand, knead until it is even finer (when you squeeze a bit together, it should hold). The more you work it, the smoother it becomes. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and the
coriander leaves and form into large marble-sized balls.
dd enough oil to come 5cm up the sides of a small saucepan and heat to 180C (350F). Test the oil by dropping in a small amount of the mixture, it should sizzle immediately but not colour straight away. Add a batch of koftas so that the pan is not over-crowded, then cook, turning halfway, until deep golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining koftas. Remove most of the remaining oil from the pan, leaving around 1–2 tbsp, then add the mushrooms, season lightly and sauteÅL for four to five minutes.
Once the curry is done, add the cashew nut paste and the cream and bring to a gentle simmer, the consistency should be of a light cream. Add the koftas and mushrooms, bring back to a boil, cover and simmer for five minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle over the dried
fenugreek and add a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of chopped coriander.