(Please scroll down to the end of the page for the recipe)
As I entered the room I smelled a nice spicy aroma in the air which was coming from the kitchen.
It was my Aunt’s home, and my sister and I were there for our winter holidays.
When Shruti saw us she jumped on her toes in joy. Shruti, my cousin who was an year older than me.
Shruti ran towards us and and hugged us tight.
She screamed loudly, “Mom, they are here, come fast.”
My aunty came out of the kitchen. Her eyes sparkled when she saw us. She hugged and kissed us both on our foreheads.
She questioned, while looking at us with a wide grin, “ Aww, my girls are finally here to stay with us. You don’t know how happy I am. By the way, did you reach here safely?”.
My sister replied with a giggling nod, “Yes, Aunty! You know we were travelling alone for the first time, so it was kind of fun and adventure for us. Though Mom and Dad were a little worried, but we managed it safely!”
My Aunty said, “Let me call them that you are here! They will be relaxed after hearing that.”
I was in 6th standard back then and my sister was in 12th. It was our first journey alone, so it was indeed thrilling for both of us.
Our parents dropped us at Jaipur train station and our Uncle arrived to pick us up at Bhopal train station. It was an overnight journey spanning about 700 kms.
It was a long and single train journey, therefore, were not worried about anything. And it was also exciting because we knew that our parents were not there with us, so we will had to take care of ourselves.
Now let the story go back to Aunty’s home.
“You girls must be really hungry. Get ready and I will serve you lunch,” said Aunty.
“Dear Aunty, we are really hungry and can’t wait to enjoy delicious lunch cooked by you,” said my sister with her chirpy voice.
Aunty smiled and said, “I have made something special for you girls, come fast I am waiting”.
My sister and I got super excited and shouted together, “Hurray!”
After freshening up we went straight to the dining room. There was some fried rice, lentils, a rich looking kofta curry, lachha parathas, raita, pickle, chutney, and some sweets.
“Aunty, what is that rich looking kofta curry?” I asked.
“That is a surprise curry my child, I can’t tell you what it is right now. You will have to figure out yourself” Aunty winked.
It was a bit surprising for me, because my Aunty never says something like that. But I thought may be I am just overthinking.
Aunty served us all, and we all started eating. I just wanted to find out what the curry was, so I bumped on the curry first. After having only the first bite I immediately said widening my eyes, “Aunty this is so so YUMMY!”
“You like this?”, Aunty asked. “Yes, I loved it.”
That afternoon we all enjoyed delicious lunch cooked by my dear Aunty.
I sighed after finishing lunch, “I ate too much today, I can’t even move”.
Shruti complained, “Mom, you never make this type of fabulous lunch for me.” Everyone in the room laughed.
“Silly girl, don’t you want to mention that everyday I cook something of your choice which you like?”, Aunty suggested.
Shruti looked at Aunty with her lips pressing tight. Aunty’s face turned a bit pale and she said in a monotone voice, “Okay, whatever you say.”
Shruti looked at me, and we both chuckled!
Shruti hugged her Mom and said, “Chill Mom, I was just kidding”. Aunty laughed and said, “I knew this.”
In the evening Aunty came to us and asked, “What would you girls like for the dinner?”
“Anything is good for me. I eat everything”, said my sister.
“I eat cauliflower, cabbage, potato, okra and peas. But no leafy vegetables please. I don’t like them.” I declared.
My sister exclaimed, “You know her Aunty. She is a picky eater, and Mom is always worried for her, as she does not like to eat all the veggies and lentils”.
“Yes I know, I know”, confirmed Aunty.
“Anu, did you recognize what was that kofta you ate for lunch earlier today?”, Aunty asked.
“No”, I replied.
“Do you want to know what was that?”, Aunty said.
“Yes, please!” I nodded.
“Spinach Kofta”, she said.
“WHAT! That’t can’t be spinach. I don’t eat spinach and I would have easily recognized if there was any. You are kidding, right”? I started blabbering.
“No, I am not kidding – it was spinach.” Aunty confirmed.
“I don’t believe you,” I said.
“Okay! Let’s have a deal. I will make the same curry tomorrow. Would you believe me then?”
I said, “Okay, done!”
Aunty made everything in front of me, and I felt it was the same aroma as it was yesterday, when we entered the room.
Seeing all that, I talked to myself, “Girl, you were wrong. How could you not find out there was spinach in that kofta?”
Aunty handed me a bowl to taste that curry. I took a spoonful in my mouth and it was exactly the same curry which I ate yesterday.
“What happened, is it spinach or not?”, Aunty winked.
I nodded embarrassed.
“So you see, after all you can eat green leafy vegetables. Isn’t it? I will tell this recipe to your mom and she will cook it for you!” Aunty said while cheering me up.
This is how I ate spinach for the first time in my life. After that I only ate spinach in kofta or in pureed form, for example as in Palak Paneer or Spinach Paratha.
Till the day I got married, I was so choosy in what I ate. Once I got married, things changed as I cooked almost everyday, and being a lover of variety, eventually over time I started loving all fruits and vegetables.
Now whenever I visit my parent’s place, My mom keeps asking me, “What should I cook for you?” And whenever I say, “I eat everything”, she always gets stunned.
It’s been more than 8 years and she still doesn’t believe that now I eat everything, even if I eat them in front of her. 🙂
I can seriously feel her pain now. Now my own daughter refuses to eat almost everything. And at that moment I feel, I will pay anything to someone if he or she would make her eat.
Strange! Isn’t it? This is how life teaches us the important lessons, in bits and bites. 🙂
Now, let’s talk about this curry I made.
This Baked Mushroom Spinach Kofta Curry recipe tastes like it’s straight out of a restaurant. The kofta in this recipe is all about green spinach, mushrooms, boiled and mashed potatoes as balls which are baked first and and dipped in a classic tomato rich creamy sauce.
My hunt for making something different and for promoting more green veggies in my kitchen made me land up with this preparation. Since this recipe is not deep fried, we could call it a healthy one. So this healthier version can be eaten without much of a guilt.
And anyways, what’s not to love about these baked green dumplings floating in the ocean of a rich, tangy, and creamy tomato curry? Sounds fantastic?
This kofta curry is really simple to make, but it takes a little time to prepare. That’s because you have to first make the dumplings, roll them in breadcrumbs and then bake them. Next, you have to make the sauce for curry. This way the curry would come out crazy good. You’d realize a piece of art as this one was totally worth all your devoted time.
If you seriously want to impress your health conscious guests, this curry would sure do the magic, and they will readily enjoy the healthier version of this spicy creamy curry.
Serve this along with naan, rice or a paratha, and this would make an awesomely excellent dinner. Hope you will all enjoy it.
Preheat oven to 400°/200C. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Divide the mixture into 8-20 lemon sized equal portions and shape each portion into even sized round balls. Roll them in bread crumbs. Line them up on baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the kofta. Bake for 10 more minutes and turn again. Bake for 10 more minutes or until all sides are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let them cool.
Heat a pan. Add chopped onions, and chopped tomatoes to it. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add tbsp ginger garlic paste, ¼ cup whole milk, salt, kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder. Mix well and cook on a medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes or till the vegetables are soft.
Remove from the heat and keep the mixture aside to cool slightly. Add 2 tbsp tomato ketchup and blend it in a mixer. Heat another pan. Add 1 tbsp butter/margarine and 1 tbsp oil to it.
Add ginger garlic paste and saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomato-onion mixture, sugar and salt, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 1 to 2 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
Add fresh cream to the sauce and mix well. Cook on a medium heat for another 4-5 minutes, while stirring continuously. Keep aside.
Just before serving, add the mushroom spinach koftas gently to the hot makhani gravy. Mix gently and cook on a medium flame for 1 minute.
- spinach, chopped, blanched and squeezed - ¾ cup
- finely chopped, mushroom - 1 cup
- red chili powder - 1 tsp
- cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
- dried mango powder - 1 tsp
- potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced - 2 cups
- ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
- green chillies, finely chopped - 1
- salt to taste
- bread crumbs for rolling koftas
- chopped tomatoes - 2
- chopped onion - 2
- ginger garlic paste - 2 tbsp
- milk - ¼ cup
- oil - 1 tbsp
- butter/margarine - 1 tbsp
- kashmiri red chilli powder 1 tsp
- garam masala powder - ¼ tsp
- sugar - ½ tsp
- tomato ketchup - 1 tbsp
- salt to taste
- fresh cream - ¾ cup
- Preheat oven to 400°/200C.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Divide the mixture into 8-20 lemon sized equal portions and shape each portion into even sized round balls. Roll them in bread crumbs.
- Line them up on baking sheets.
- Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the kofta.
- Bake for 10 more minutes and turn again. Bake for 10 more minutes or until all sides are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let them cool.
- Heat a pan. Add chopped onions, and chopped tomatoes to it.
- Saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add tbsp ginger garlic paste, ¼ cup whole milk, salt, kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder.
- Mix well and cook on a medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes or till the vegetables are soft.
- Remove from the heat and keep the mixture aside to cool slightly. Add 2 tbsp tomato ketchup and blend it in a mixer.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick pan.
- Add 1 tbsp butter/margarine and 1 tbsp oil to it.
- Add ginger garlic paste and saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomato-onion mixture, sugar and salt, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 1 to 2 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
- Add fresh cream to the sauce and mix well.
- Cook on a medium heat for another 4-5 minutes, while stirring continuously. Keep aside.
- Just before serving, add the mushroom spinach koftas gently to the hot makhani gravy.
- Mix gently and cook on a medium flame for 1 minute.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves, chilies, almonds, and fresh cream. Serve hot with naan or rice.