Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kathal Ke Kofte

     Jackfruit Gram Flour Kofte en Buttery Garam Masala Sauce!
     The Indian word "Kofte" basically has the same meaning as Kofta in the Mediterranean region.  There are about as many ways to spell Kofta as there are Arabic and Persian dialects.  I am sure that the same can be said about the word Kofte and Indian dialects too.
     Just like in the Mediterranean region, Indian Kofte are usually described as being meatballs.  Since a high percentage of people in India are vegetarian, is better to just define Kofte as food that has a ball shape.
     The Indian word Kathal translates to Jackfruit, so Kathal Ke Kofte means "Jackfruit Balls."  Of course something is needed to bind the minced Jackfruit together, to it does not fall apart.  Gram Flour (Chickpea Flour) is highly nutritious so it is the traditional choice.
     Like many Indian vegetarian specialties, the goal is to enhance satisfaction by making the tummy feel full.  Gram Flour easily accomplishes this task.  Kathal Ke Kofte are initially light on the palate, but after the chickpea flour starts to digest, the tummy feels as heavy as lead.  Jackfruit causes a similar reaction, because Jackfruit is heavy on the tummy too.  After eating a serving of Kathal Ke Kofte do not be surprised if hunger does not return till sometime the following day!
     The Garam Masala Sauce is made with coconut milk and Ghee.  There is shredded coconut in the Kathal Ke Kofte too.  The Ghee is allowed to separate from the body of the sauce in many traditional Indian recipes.  The Ghee that floats on top is full of flavor.
     As far as nutritional value is concerned, Kathal Ke Kofte is just about as healthy as it gets.  Indian chefs always describe food as medicine and this is a good outlook for promoting health.  Lipids from Ghee (Clarified Rich Butter) are an important nutritional component and the butter carries the Garam Masala spice flavors well.  When a food item looks like it is swimming in an Indian spice butter sauce, it is truly by design.  The Indian Garam Masala Spice Mixture also has medicinal value and it creates a gentle warming effect.  
     Bread is an important component of the Indian dining experience and becoming familiar with Indian specialty breads is good to do.  The thin Masala Khakhara Bread on the plate in the photos adds a nice touch to the presentation.  Masala Khakhara is flavored with turmeric, so it also is beneficial for good health.  Masala Khakhara is fairly easy to make, but "Ready to eat" Masala Khakhara is available at Indian food markets and it is a nice convenience.    
     Jackfruit Preparation:
     Jackfruit is available in Asian and Indian food markets.  Jackfruit are one of the largest and heaviest fruits in the world.  Produce department managers usually cut the Jackfruit into manageable size pieces.  Fresh Jackfruit takes a little time to prepare, but it is well worth the effort. 
     Canned Jackfruit is also available and it is a nice convenience.  Canned Jackfruit is ready to use.   
     Step 1:  Select a piece of Jackfruit that weighs about 2 to 3 pounds.
     Pry the hard piece of core out of the center, if it is attached.
     Discard the core.
     Step 2:  Pry the fleshy Jackfruit pods loose.
     The fleshy pods are surrounded by fibrous material that is easy to peel off.
     After removing the fibrous material, set the Jackfruit pods on a cutting board.
     Step 3:  Score the Jackfruit pods lengthwise with a knife.
     Pry each pod open and remove the large seed.  (Save the seeds!)
     The Jackfruit pod flesh can now be eaten raw or used in recipes.
     *The large Jackfruit seeds can be roasted and eaten like nuts!  
     Kathal Ke Kofte:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée. 
     Gram Flour (Chickpea Flour) is available in Indian food markets and some health food stores.        
     Step 1:  Chop 1/2 cup of fresh Jackfruit (or canned Jackfruit) into small pieces.
     Place the chopped Jackfruit in a mixing bowl.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 cup of gram flour.  (chick pea flour)
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped seeded green serrano chile pepper.
     Add 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Step 3:  Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Garam Masala.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.
     Add 1 tablespoon of water.
     Step 4:  Knead the dough till it becomes smooth and thick.
     *There should be enough moisture in the jackfruit to yield a thick fritter dough.  Add a small splash of water if the dough is dry.  The fritter dough should be thick enough to hold its own shape when squeezed.  
     Step 5:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF.
     Step 6:  Divide the Jackfruit Kofte Dough into 5 or 6 equal size portions.
     Roll the dough portions into round ball shapes that are 1" to 1 1/2" in diameter.
     Step 7:  Place the Jackfruit Kofte in the hot frying oil.
     Fry the Jackfruit Kofte till they are golden brown.
     Step 8:  Use a fryer net to place the Jackfruit Kofte on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.
     Keep the Jackfruit Kofte warm on a stove top.
     Step 9:  Place a sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of Ghee.  (clarified rich butter)
     Add 3/4 cup of coconut milk.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Step 10:  Add 1 finely minced garlic clove.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Garam Masala.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.  (optional)
     Add sea salt to taste.  (about 2 pinches)
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 11:  Gently simmer till the ingredients combine and the spices are aromatic.
     *Do not worry if the butter separates.  It is part of the nature of this kind of sauce.
     Step 12:  Place the Jackfruit Kofte in in the sauce.
     Briefly simmer till the Jackfruit Kofte reheat.
     Step 13:  Use a spoon to place the Jackfruit Kofte in a single portion casserole dish.
     Pour the sauce over the Jackfruit Kofte.
     Garnish with a few thin bias slices of green onion.
     Step 14:  Set the casserole dish on a serving plate.
     Serve with crispy Masala Khakhara Bread or an Indian bread of your choice.

     The flavor of jackfruit is similar to the flavor of a plantain banana.  Jackfruit and coconut are a natural flavor combination.  The chile pepper adds spicy zest.  Kathal Ke Kofte is a delicious healthy meal!    

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