Asparagus Kofta Curry (Preparation Time:1 hour, Serves: 5-6)

I was introduced to Asparagus when we moved to the States about five years ago. I love trying new vegetables and cuisines. One day while shopping for groceries I picked up a bunch. Back home I searched for a recipe that could gently orient my taste buds to this "foreign" vegetable. I tried Chicken and Asparagus soup which turned out well...after that I tried several variations of Asparagus and I have almost always loved it.

But I always wondered if I could come up with an Indian version of an Asparagus preparation. This morning when I opened the refrigerator, the only thing staring at me was Asparagus (I hadn't done groceries last weekend!). I was in no mood for sauteed Asparagus...we all had just returned from a vacation and were craving for Indian food.
That's when I thought of Asparagus Kofte. Sounds weird, right? But it tasted awesome....!! 
I was pleasantly surprised with my experiment. Try it, I promise you won't be disappointed. 

Ingredients (for Kofte)
  • A bunch of Asparagus (about 30)
  • Ginger, 1/4 inch
  • Roasted Besan (Gram Flour) 1/2 to 3/4 cup
  • 2 bread slices
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • Few coriander/cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chilli powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala, 1/4 tsp
  • A pinch of Asfoetida (heeng)
Ingredients (for the curry)
  • 2 tsbp oil
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 2 medium size tomatoes
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp cumin (jeera)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 green cardamom
  • Dhania powder, 2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala, 1/2 tsp
  • Finely chopped cilantro, to garnish
Steps (For Kofte)
  • Wash the Asparagus and chop off the tough bottom ends (about quarter inch)
  • Chop and grind Asparagus in a food processor
  • Break bread slices (brown edges removed) and grind with Asparagus in the food processor
  • Transfer the mixture into a bowl and add besan (amount would vary dependent on water content in Asparagus; thicker stalks may contain more water)
  • And finely chopped chilli, coriander/cillantro, grated ginger, spices and salt
  • Mix all of the above to form a soft dough and make about 25 small balls
  • Fry the kofte at medium heat until golden brown and keep aside
Steps (For the curry)
  • Coarsely chop ginger, garlic, onion and tomatoes
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok, saute ginger, garlic and onion for ten minutes followed by tomatoes, saute for five more minutes or until tomatoes are soft
  • Cool and blend the mixture in a food processor
  • Once again, heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok, add cumin, once it crackles, add turmeric, dhania powder and red chilli powder (for better flavor, mix these spices with 1 tbsp water, then add it to the oil)
  • Add blended onion-tomato paste quickly (to ensure spices do not burn) and saute for 7-8 minutes
  • Take wok off the heat, and add beaten yogurt, mix well, put it back on heat and saute for five more minutes or until yogurt gets incorporated in the gravy, add salt
  • Add two cups water, let it come to a boil, cover and cook on low heat for five minutes
  • Add the kofte and cook for 6-8 minutes, sprinkle garam masala and garnish with finely chopped coriander; serve hot and enjoy with hot chapatis and rice
Note: If you intend to eat the kofte later, add them in the curry just before heating and heat well for 8-10 minutes

How to roast besan (gramflour): Heat a pan/wok, add besan and roast on medium-low heat, until light brown. The besan gives out a very nice fragrance when it's roasted, that could be a sign for perfect roasting. Also if you want to skip this step, you can grind bhune (roasted) chane into a powder and use that instead.

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