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Nargisi kofta
“Royal” kofta


Vedic recipes range from very simple to very complex. Nargisi kofta is a little on the complex side, but well worth the time it takes to make it. It is a favorite in Rajastan, the “playground of kings”. Serve nargisi kofta with a chutney as a snack or with a wet vegetable as a side dish to a main meal.

Preparation and cooking time: 50 min - 1 hr

1 cup (200 g) white rice
8 medium-sized potatoes
33/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz (175 g) paneer
21/4 cups (225 g) chick-pea flour
1 teaspoon kalinji or black cumin seeds (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron
2 tablespoon warm milk
12 oz (350 g) whole spinach leaves, with stems removed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
ghee for deep-frying

Steam the rice in twice its volume of water (to which one teaspoon of salt has been added) for about 18 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Drain and set aside. Boil the potatoes until they are tender, then peel them. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the paneer and knead it into a soft dough. Cover the paneer with a moist cloth and set aside. Combine the chick-pea flour, 1 teaspoon salt, kalinji seeds, and turmeric in a bowl. Mix with enough water to make a smooth batter. Let stand. Steep the saffron in the warm milk; then mix it well with the cooked rice. Wilt the spinach by plunging it into boiling water for a minute; then let it drain. Mix the spinach with the black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and set it aside. Add the garam masala, turmeric, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of asafoetida to the potatoes. Mash into a smooth paste.
Divide the rice, the paneer, the spinach, and the potato mixture into six parts each. Take one part of the rice in your hands and roll it into a compact ball. Flatten one part of the paneer dough into a round shape in the palm of your left hand and put the ball of rice in the center of it. Bring up the edges to completely cover the ball; then roll it between your palms to make it smooth. Cover the ball with a layer or two of unraveled spinach leaves and a layer of the potato mixture. Make the ball compact and smooth by tossing it gently from one hand to the other.

When several balls are ready, beat the batter and pour some over each one. Then put them in smoking hot ghee. Turn them frequently to keep them from burning. Fry until they are browned all over. Remove and serve hot.