Sunday, 26 April 2015

Kofteh - کوفته - Meatballs

I cannot believe it's been almost 4 months since our last blog post.  If you have been wondering what on earth we have been up to ... well, not much.  There was a time in the new year, when I decided I had enough of blogging and wasn't going back to touching my camera yet alone cook anything photo worthy.  Well, life threw me a few little good surprises here and there and finally I must say, this month has been a great month so far on so many levels and it definitely is a month for celebrating my greatest achievement!


Autumn, I cannot say enough about autumn.  If you love tropical warm weather and love summer, please don't try to understand why I love autumn.  It is what it is, cool crisp mornings, warm afternoons and chilly evenings with more time to be spent indoors on reading and cooking dishes that take longer and you can truly enjoy them in cooler months.  I was once criticised for saying this, apparently people enjoy hot soups in summer or they can eat warming dishes in summer too.  Sure, whatever floats your boat! 


There seem to be two groups of people in the food world; the ones that have it all, I mean they have inspiration, they know good food, they know the role culture plays in cooking and you can taste their soul in their dish (trust me it is taste-able) and then there are those that have the knowledge but lack true understanding of what cooking is all about.  They are the ones who make a huge fuss about pronouncing names of dishes correctly in a foreign language, they go to great lengths to find the best imported ingredients and then you sit at their dinner table and they hand you a plate of misery.  I am not sure why some cooks have not understood that inspiration and love in a dish are ingredients and there for you to taste.  Just an observation I have made, nothing major.  Do not worry, if your style is to get your hands on a recipe and do the exact same thing then go for it!  My question for this rant is, how do you share your joy of cooking and inspiration through a recipe?  I am not Irma Rombauer and not capable of sharing my joy of cooking. I can merely share recipes here, but if you have cracked the code please let me know.  


One of the reasons I love autumn is tonight's dinner.  Meatballs are perfect for cooler days and the giant Persian meatballs have rice, chana dal (similar to yellow split peas) and herbs in them.  It is a complete dish on it's own and with some crusty bread to soak up the broth nothing gets better than this! 




Ingredients:

500g Minced beef or lamb
1/2 Cup Basamati rice (soaked for minimum of 2 hours)
1/3 Cup Chana Dal (soaked for minimum of 2 hours)
1 egg (optional)
2 Tablespoons each of chopped fresh mint, dill and tarragon (or summer savoury)*
1/4 Cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley*
Salt and Pepper to season

For the broth:
1 Medium onion, chopped finely
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and Pepper to season
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil 
Stock - optional

For the filling:
Hard boiled eggs or
Prunes or
Walnuts or
Raisins or
Fried Onions

Method:

  1. Drain the rice and chana dal.  Par-boil rice and chana dal in a small sauce pan with little water until just tender and drain. You could do this separately or together in one saucepan.  
  2. Add the mince and herbs to the rice and chana dal and mix well. 
  3. Add one slightly beaten egg and mix by hand or alternatively you could place all ingredients in a food processor bowl and process until well mixed.
  4. Take a handful of the mix and slightly flatten it. In the center place a few prunes or a hard boiled egg or a few pieces of walnuts and shape into a ball.  Set aside. 
  5. In a pot, saute chopped onion with a little oil and add the tomato paste. 
  6. Add about 4 cups of water and allow to boil 
  7. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce heat and gently slide the meatballs into the pot. 
  8. Put the lid on and allow to simmer for at least an hour.
  9. Check the meatballs occasionally and turn them for even cooking. 
  10. Add more water/stock depending on how you like the broth. 
* Substitute with dry herbs if you prefer.