Kofta Curry in the Pakistani Manner

Pakistani Kofta Curry

I was commissioned to write a piece for Edible Toronto – I chose to write about a recipe I grew up eating, my Nani Ami’s spiced meatball curry, also known as Kofta Curry. This is a comforting Pakistani dish made in almost every home. My article is about how my parents entertained throughout my childhood: elegantly, with seemingly effortless perfection. And today, in my home, I wonder if I can do the same.

I hope you enjoy reading the piece I wrote here.

Kofta Curry

Makes 4 servings

For the meatballs:

1/2 cup unsalted roasted chickpeas (found in Pakistani or Indian grocery stores)* or 1/4 cup chickpea flour

1/2 medium onion

1 1-inch length ginger, peeled and cut into 4 pieces

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more if needed

1/4 tsp ground cayenne, plus more if needed

20 black peppercorns

1 lb medium ground beef (not lean, as it will prevent the meatballs from binding)

For the tomato yoghurt sauce:

3 tbsp grapeseed oil or other neutral oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cayenne

1/4 tsp smoked paprika (hot or sweet)

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1 small can (about 14 oz/398mL) crushed tomatoes

2 cups water

1/2 cup full-fat Greek yoghurt (non-fat yoghurt tends to curdle when cooked)

1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more if needed

Kettle of boiling water

1 bunch fresh tarragon, cilantro or other herb of your choice

Make the meatballs: In a mortar and pestle, grind the chickpeas, in batches, to a fine powder (or use chickpea flour); set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the onion half and the ginger until a paste is formed. In a medium bowl, whisk together the onion and ginger paste, chickpea powder, egg, salt, cayenne, and the peppercorns. Do a taste test of the seasonings by frying a teaspoon of the mixture with a bit of oil in a frying pan. Add more salt and cayenne pepper, as needed.

Pinch off a piece of the ground beef mixture and gently roll it in the palm of your hand to form a ball measuring about 1½-inches in diameter. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture. You will end up with approximately 21 meatballs. Cover the meatballs with a clean tea towel and refrigerate while you make the tomato yoghurt sauce.

Make the sauce: In a small stockpot or large heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the oil. Add the onion, stirring occasionally until it begins to turn golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika and turmeric. Cook, stirring frequently until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and increase the heat to medium-high (be careful, as the mixture will sputter). Stir vigorously for 2 minutes. Stir in the water, remove the pot from the stove, and allow to cool slightly.

Transfer the tomato sauce to a blender. Blend until smooth. Return the sauce to the pot. Add the yoghurt and salt, stirring until well combined. Gently place the meatballs into the pot, leaving some space between each meatball. Add enough boiling water from the kettle to just cover the meatballs. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 25 minutes. Gently turn over each meatball. Replace the lid and simmer for 20 more minutes. Taste and add salt, as needed. Sprinkle with lots of fresh tarragon or your favourite herb and serve alongside basmati rice or bread.

Egg Curry in the Pakistani Manner

curry eggs2

I just got back home to Toronto, after spending a week with my family in Washington, DC. It is 6am and I am spooning coffee grinds into my moka to make a caffé latte. At this time, I know that my father is awake already and sitting in his solarium, his putty-coloured cashmere shawl covering his legs while he eats his morning porridge, adorned with a lazy trail of maple syrup and dried apricots. Read More

My Interview with Labels e-Magazine in Pakistan

Shayma Saadat Labels e-Magazine

Hello, lovelies. The amazing Sanam Lakhani contacted me for an interview for a magazine she writes for, Labels e-Magazine in Pakistan. Sanam is herself a very accomplished chef with a diploma from the very prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in London. It was a privilege to be interviewed by her. This magazine is planning to do a few features which highlight culinary work being done by Pakistanis around the world. I look forward to reading about other Pakistani cooks in the next few issues of this magazine.

For now, I hope you enjoy my interview in the September 2013 issue!

There are some letters in between words (example ‘fngers’) which are missing in the interview (they seem like typos) – this is a glitch with the PDF conversion – I shall upload a new file in the next few days. Here is the link to the feature.

My Workshop – How to Make Chutney

Silk Route Cookery Workshop in Toronto

Chutneys are a diverse range of intensely flavoured, often spicy savoury jams prepared from fruits or vegetables that complement dishes cooked across Central and South Asia.

Join award-winning food writer and photographer Shayma Saadat, as she cooks along the Silk Route, incorporating ingredients from the Afghan, Pakistani and Persian kitchen to create tangy, spicy and sweet condiments for your summer barbeques. Enjoy these spooned over your favourite cut of meat or grilled tofu this summer.

Participants will prepare two types of chutneys: Cinnamon Peach & Caramelized Tomato

Working in groups of three, participants will peel, chop and slice the ingredients, take turns at the stove while the mixture cooks down and decant the chutney into jars.

For a tasting, we will end the class by slathering some chutney over bread and cheese. You’re also welcome to bring your favourite crackers or cheese to make the party merrier!

You will choose one jar – peach or tomato – to take home. If you would like to take home a portion of both, bring an extra jar from home, please.

NB: The chutneys will keep for one month in the fridge. We will not be learning canning and preservation techniques in this class.