Cottage Cheese & Spinach Kofta Curry

Cottage Cheese & Spinach Kofta Curry
Indian – Palak Paneer Kofta

I bought a small bottle gourd, unfortunately, it turned out very hard and had big seeds inside. Didn’t want to throw it away and wanted to use it some way or other.
So just thought of combining these two and to give it an extra flavor with curdled milk and made cottage cheese at home. Combined it all and the end result was….. delicious dinner….polished off the bowl.

Ingredients for Koftas:
Chopped spinach- 2 cups
Grated bottle gourd- ½ cup
Cottage cheese crumbled- 1 cup
Grated ginger – 1 Tsp
Chopped onion- ¼ cup
Garam Masala powder- ½ Tsp
Coriander powder- 1 Tsp
Amchur (dry mango) powder- 1 tbsp
Chopped green chili- 2 tbsp
Red chili powder- ½ Tsp
Chopped dry fruits- enough for filling
Butter or cream- for filling
Besan/gram flour- ¼ cup
Salt to taste
Oil- enough for deep frying

Ingredients for curry:
Onion paste- ½ cup
Ginger paste- 1 Tsp
Fresh pureed tomato- 1/4th cup
Cashew – 1 tbsp
Poppy seed- 1 Tsp
Cumin powder- 1 Tsp
Coriander powder- 1 Tsp
Turmeric powder- 1 Tsp
Kashmiri chili powder- 1 Tsp
Garam masala powder- ½ Tsp
Cumin seeds- ½ Tsp
Bay leaf- 2
Green cardamom- 3, lightly beaten to open mouth
Cinnamon stick- 1
Cloves – 2-4
Green chili-2 or more
Dry red chili-1
Oil for cooking
Clarified butter- 1 tbsp
Sugar- ½ Tsp
Salt to taste

Soak cashew and poppy seeds in water for 15 mins.
Strain and make a paste out of it.

Squeeze the grated bottle guard to discard moisture completely.
If you have prepared cottage cheese at home by curdling milk, the also strain it in muslin and squeeze completely to get dry cheese.
In a bowl put the chopped spinach, cottage cheese, and grated bottle guard.
Add everything except dry fruits and oil.
Now mix everything together to make a soft dough.
Make equal lemon sized balls out of the dough.
Take one ball on your palm and make a well in the middle with your finger.
Fill the hole with dry fruits and a butter cube or cream in it.
Close the mouth and reshape it like small ball.
Repeat and make such balls out of the dough.
In a deep wok add enough oil for deep frying the koftas in batches of 3-4.
Deep fry in medium flame till brown.
Do not fry in high flame otherwise, the koftas will be browned from outside and inside it will remain undercooked.
Check the remaining oil in the wok.
If it is more than 3 tbsp and the oil is not burnt, then do not add any more.
Cook the curry in the same oil.
Add cumin seed in hot oil and let it start splattering.
Add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf one by one.
Stir till the oil is aromatic.
Add onion paste and fry till browned.
Add all dry masalas, cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder , ginger paste, sugar and salt.
Sprinkle little water and stir fry the masalas for 1 min.
Add cashew paste and poppy seed paste together and stir continuously to fry it.
Add pureed tomato and stir till oil is separated and visible on sides.
When oil separates, add ghee, stir and pour 1½ glass of water (for cooking 8-10 koftas).
If more add proportionately.
Cover and cook the curry on a medium flame for 5-7 mins.
Add the koftas and cook covered for 2 mins only then uncover otherwise the koftas will be mashed.
Otherwise, cook the koftas and curry separately in advance.
Heat both just before serving.
Arrange the koftas in a serving bowl and pour the curry over it.
Garnish with fresh cream and coriander leaves.
Best with Naan, Rotis, Parathas or Pulao.

Prepared, tried and tested Reena Mukherjee

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