Last Saturday My partner and I had participated in a culinary competition were we had to use coconut milk to show our creativity and uniqueness.
I would like to confess that before that day, I had never used coconut milk for cooking or not even tasted it. So this competition gave me the opportunity to work with an ingredient that was completely unknown to me. Now I came to know that it is a very versatile ingredient that can easily be blended with strawberry, chocolate, basil and mint to name a few.
Other challenge that I was facing was I am a complete vegetarian who does not even cook eggs, and I was competing with people who would cook delicious non-vegetarian items from chicken to prawns and pork.(Sharing pictures of other groups food with permission).
Keeping that in my mind I had to raise the bar for myself and think of something that could be at least be noticed among all the dishes. Initially I thought of making a typical Red Thai curry along with veggies, somehow it fell short to my expectations. Then I started to brain storm all my Favourite Indian dishes and how can I use coconut in it. I ended up making Malai kofta and to make it unique, I gave it a Thai touch by adding coconut milk in gravy. I even used shredded coconut and basil to stuff kofta.
We were also to be judged on our presentation. For that we had made candle stand using red wine glass. We made (Ok, tried to make) a flower from strawberry, added a slice of lemon and few mint leaves coved it with Red wine glass and lit a red flower shaped candle. Malai kofta was served in a traditional kadai. I had just invested in it a few days before, thinking it would inspire me to post some Indian curries.
To my surprise we were declared champions for the contest. Judges gave us 98 points out of 100. There were 16 teams, I did not taste any of the dish as they were all non-vegetarian. Nevertheless I did go to have a look at their presentation. I must say I was stunned to see a few, I thought that I am surely to lose it in front of them. (As seen in pictures above ) I got to learn many things from the whole experience, and had a fun filled evening.
Here are complete recipe for
- Malai Kofta
- Jeera rice (Cumin Rice) with coconut surprise
- Chocolate Strawberry pudding with Caramelised walnuts
I hope you would enjoy it making as much as I did. Do share with me your views via your comments.
Here I am sharing the winning recipe of Main dish, I prepared in culinary compaction. “Healthy Malai kofta with Thai touch”. It is healthy as I have not used any heavy cream or mawa (Thickened Milk powder) for the gravy. Instead I have used lite coconut milk. Trust me, the taste is not compromised.
Kofta are also air fried for my recipe. Now you might be thinking can I bake them instead? I did even try that, I have shared how to bake it at the end of the post. I have even shared deep fried version of kofta and how to overcome its busting.
From the basic White gravy, Cashew nut curry can also be prepared. For its Variation do refer to notes at last. If you are looking for other fusion recipes look at Indian Flavoured Hummus Sandwich and Cucumber Sandwich.
Sorry as I am not able to post picture step wise as I did not click it while participating in the competition. Never the less I will be sharing my pictures of the end finished products.
“Whole spice” (Separated)
2 Bay leaves
2 black cardamoms
4 green cardamoms
2 stick cinnamon
2 star anise
1 Inch Ginger
2 Green Chillies
1 Clove Garlic
“Cashew nuts paste”
8-9 Cashew nuts
20 grams Poppy seeds
20 dry pomegranates seeds
5 table spoon milk.
2-3 onions thinly sliced
300 ml Coconut milk ( lite )
1 tea spoon sugar
Salt to taste
2 table spoon butter (separated)
4-5 mashed potatoes
1 tea spoon green Chilli paste
5 table spoon bread crumbs ( separated )
1 table spoon olive Oil for frying
1 table spoon corn flour
100 grams of cottage cheese. (Defrosted and grated).
7-8 almonds roasted and coarsely chopped
4-5 raisins coarsely chopped
Salt to taste
1/2 tea spoon sugar
1 tea spoon coriander leaves
1 tea spoon basil leaves
1 tea spoon shredded coconut
3/4 tea spoon black peppercorn powder
- Soak all ingredients listed under “Cashew nut paste” in 5 table spoon of milk for at least half an hour. Later add it into a small food processor bowl and make a paste. Keep aside for later use.
- Put all ingredients listed under “Tomato paste” into a small food processor jar and make a paste out of it. Keep aside for later use.
- In a medium sized pan add 1 table spoon of butter and half quantity of all spices listed under “Whole Spice”. Once it butter melts add finely chopped onions and cook it until golden brown.
- Once cooked, let onions cool. Remove whole spice from it, add it to food processor jar and turn it into paste as well. Keep aside for later use.
- In a heavy bottom big sized deep pan, add 1 table spoon of butter. Once it melts add remaining spices listed under “Whole Spices”. Once aroma starts to fill the air, add “Tomato paste” cook it until the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone. Paste would be reduced to almost half. It might take about 5-6 minutes.
- Next add onion paste to it, cook for another 1-2 minutes then add “Cashew nut paste” and coconut milk. Followed by salt and sugar. Let whole gravy cook for about 7-8 mins. Once cooked, our white gravy is ready.
- For kofta take a medium sized bowl, add all ingredients listed under for “Kofta Stuffing” mix them well with hand for about 3-4 minuets. Form small balls about 1 inch in size. It will make approximately 8-9 balls.
- For outer layer in a bowl add mashed potatoes, salt to taste, green Chilli paste and bread crumbs mix them all together.
- To make kofta take mashed potato mixture flatten it with your hand, in centre put a ball made out of cottage cheese mixture, cover it with mashed potato and shape it like a ball. Make about 8-9. Kofta similarly. Then dip it into paste of cornflour and water then roll them in bread crumb.
- I used Phillips air fryer, adjust setting to 160* C cook for about 15 mins each. Do flip it in between.
- Fry all the kofta by same method. While serving, heat white gravy immerse kofta in it garnish with mint and coriander leaves, serve hot along Jeera rice (Cumin rice) with coconut twist.
For baked Version of kofta:
Add sooji (Semolina or Rawa) and cornflour to mashed potato mixer, than coat again with cornflour, and bread crumbs. Pre heat the Oven at 180*C and bake kofta for about 15-20 mins do drizzle small amount of olive oil. Flip side and check in between.
This version is not as crispy as air fried or deep fried version. If you bake it some other way, which yields crispier kofta please do share it with me.
For deep fried version of Kofta:
Make kofta in similar way as kofta for air fried version. Make sure outer layer of potato is completely smooth without any cracks, If needed make the outer layer a bit thicker. Roll it in cornflour water and then into bread crumbs.
Heat oil for deep frying, once it is hot add kofta for frying. Do make sure you are not crowding them together. Let it fry for about 2-3 minutes continuously without turning it. To flip it do not use any utensil, instead take tongs and gently lift the pan and make small circular movements, by that kofta will roll inside and top side will now face bottom. Let it fry for 2-3 mins more until golden brown. Then remove it over kitchen towel.
Temperature of the oil also plays an important role while you deep fry, make sure that you fry them on medium to slow heat. If heat will be fast, probability is higher that kofta may burst.
For Cashew Nut curry
Make white gravy as instructed in method until point No 6. While serving add 30-40 shallow fried cashew nuts to hot gravy, Garnish with Mint and coriander leaves and serve along Jeera rice with Coconut twist.