Paneer-Palak Koftas (Steamed)

1 hour
Serves 4 people
Author: Rajni Ram
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Vegetable Kofta is an exotic dish made with minced vegetables, that are fried into fritters and then dunked in an Onion -Tomato gravy. The gravy is spicy, tangy and creamy. There are many variations of koftas, and you can make them with any vegetable you prefer. The vegetables used are either minced or grated, a binding flour is added to them, then spices are added, patted into fritters and deep or pan fried in oil. These Koftas are then added to the gravy and served with Rice or Indian Flatbread.

If you are thinking about what is new about these koftas, well they are a healthier version of the fried koftas. These dumplings are steamed and not fried, unlike the other koftas. The all-time favourite combination of Palak(Spinach) and Paneer (Cottage Cheese), form the steamed dumplings and of course the usual tomato onion gravy works well with this. It’s an  easy recipe if you have all ingredients ready at hand. Rice flour and Chickpea Flour are used as binders for the Kofta balls, which are then steamed.

This recipe is not only delicious, but also gluten free, low calorie, high on proteins. Cook them for your health freak friends next time and they’ll come back to you for the recipe.

 

Ingredients

Ingredients

  1. Palak/Spinach 1/2 a bunch or 2 cup fulls when chopped
  2. Paneer 200 gm crumbled
  3. Onion 2 medium, chopped
  4. Tomatoes 2 large chopped
  5. Cashewnuts 8 to 10
  6. Melon seeds( optional) 1 tsp
  7. Rice flour 1 cup
  8. Besan roasted 1/2 cup
  9. Cardamom/ Elaichi 2
  10. Cloves/Laung 2
  11. Peppercorns 4
  12. Cinnamon stick a small piece
  13. Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
  14. Green chillies 4 ( 2 for koftas and 2 for gravy)
  15. Ginger 1/2 an inch finely chopped
  16. Cumin 1 tsp
  17. Cumin powder 1 tsp
  18. Coriander powder 2 tsp( 1 tsp for koftas and 1tsp for gravy)
  19. Red chilli powder 2 tsp ( 1tsp for kofta and 1tsp for gravy)
  20. Garam masala powder 2tsp( 1tsp for kofta and 1tsp for gravy)
  21. Oil 2 tbsp
  1. Assemble all ingredients.
  2. Blanch the chopped palak, cool, squeeze the water and set aside. Dry Roast the Besan until its light brown and aromatic. Stir constantly and don’t allow to burn.
  3. To the blanched and cooled palak add the paneer, green chillies, ginger, roasted Besan, Rice flour and all the dry spice powders, salt and combine well. Divide the mixture into 8 or 10 Koftas/balls. Steam them in an Idli steamer for 10 minutes. If steaming in a microwave then set on high for 4 minutes.

  4. In a wok heat some oil. Add the whole masalas and fry until aromatic. Put in the onions, green chillies, ginger garlic paste and saute until onions turn transparent. Add the tomatoes and salt. Cook until the tomatoes turn mushy. Cool and blend the mixture to a fine paste.
  5. In the same wok pour oil and heat. Add the cumin seeds and pour in the ground paste. Stir continuously for few minutes so that the paste doesn’t stick to the wok. Add all the dry spice powders now. Adda cup of water and allow it to boil until the oil separates on top. The gravy is ready.
  6. Arrange the koftas in a serving dish and pour the gravy over it. Serve hot.

Directions for Koftas

Chop the palak fine and blanch( put it in hot water) it for 5 mins. Drain the water and rinse the palak with cold water( this is done to retain the colour and crispness). Dry roast the Gram flour/ Besan until it turns aromatic and light brown. Keep stirring continuously while roasting to avoid burning the besan. Now squeeze all the water from the palak and put it in a dish. Add the crumbled Paneer. Add the roasted besan and rice flour. Add in the chopped green chillies, ginger and all dry spices and salt. Combine all together and make it like a dough. Divide the mixture into 8 or 10 equal-sized balls(koftas). Put these balls in a steamer/idli cooker and steam for 10 mins. If using a microwave for steaming 4 minutes will do. Cool the koftas.

Directions for Gravy

In a wok heat some oil. Add the whole masalas- cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves. When they turn aromatic, add the onion and ginger-garlic paste, green chillies and saute well. When the onions turn translucent add the cashew nuts, tomatoes, salt and cook until the tomatoes turn mushy. Put off the stove and cool the mixture. Once cooled, put it in a blender and make a fine paste. In the same wok heat more oil and add the cumin. Add in the ground paste. Stir well continuously for a few minutes so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the wok. Add all the dry masalas now, except garam masala. Pour about a cup of water to the paste and bring it to a boil, cook until it thickens a little, put off the stove. The gravy is ready. You can add little Kasoori Methi for flavour, but it is optional.

Pour the gravy over the koftas and its ready to serve. The Paneer Palak koftas go well with Parathas, Rotis, Pulav or with plain rice. Enjoy Bon Appetit.

Notes:

  1. Squeeze the water from the blanched palak thoroughly.
  2. Roast the besan well, otherwise, the raw flavour will dampen the taste.
  3. The gravy should not thicken too much, it should be neither too thick, nor too thin. If very thick, add some hot water and dilute.
  4. Melon seeds used here are optional. The gravy will still taste the same if not added.
  5. Adding a little Kasoori Mathi to the gravy after cooking, will give a nice flavour to the dish.
  6. If you wish, you can drizzle a little cream over the dish while serving. This is totally optional.
  7. This dish can be made ahead and the koftas and gravy kept separate. Just before serving, warm up the gravy, pour over the koftas and serve.
  8. For those who prefer soft koftas, allow the koftas to cook in the gravy for a minute.

If you tried this recipe and liked it please comment below. I would love to hear from you.

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