Indian Spinach Koftas with Creamy Tomato and Cashew Nut Sauce

19 Jan

Any excuse to get more spinach in my diet and I’m there. It’s not all about the iron you know, here are just some of the health benefits of eating this wonderful green leaf. Popeye wasn’t as stupid as he looked….

One cup of spinach has nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fibre which aids in digestion, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating.

Flavonoids — a phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties abundant in spinach have been shown to slow down the growth of stomach and skin cancer cells. Furthermore, spinach has shown significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer.

The vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium present in spinach all serve as powerful antioxidants that combat the onset of osteoporosis and high blood pressure.

Both antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are especially plentiful in spinach and protect the eye from cataracts and age-related eyesight degeneration.

One cup of spinach contains over 337% of the RDA of vitamin A that not only protects and strengthens “entry points” into the human body, such as mucous membranes, respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts, but is also a key component of white blood cells that fight infection.

The high amount of vitamin A in spinach also promotes healthy skin by allowing for proper moisture retention in the epidermis, thus fighting psoriasis, acne and even wrinkles.

This information is taken from healthdiaries. com

Some friends of ours, Nik & Stacey bought us a new cook book called I Love Curry by Anjum Anand on their last trip back to the UK.  On the first flick through this was the recipe that stood out for me, the one that I wanted to make straight away.

The blended cashew nuts in the sauce give it a creamy texture and flavour that is perfect with the light and fluffy spinach koftas. The koftas are made in a similar way to spinach and ricotta gnocchi and then fried. I used goat’s ricotta which gives a very mild goat’s cheese flavour and is so much better for you than cow’s milk. I served it with a spiced turmeric pilaf rice.

Indian Spinach Koftas with Creamy Tomato & Cashew Nut Sauce

Serves 3-4, vegetarian, gluten-free. Adapted from I Love Curry by Anjun Ananad

For the sauce:

  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered & deseeded
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 or 2 tbsp coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 50 gr cashew nuts
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 500 ml veg stock (or water)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • a dash of Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian)
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a handful of fresh coriander leaves, to serve

For the koftas:

  • 200 gr fresh spinach, washed
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 200 gr ricotta cheese (I used goat’s ricotta)
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

For the Turmeric Pilaf:

  • 220 gr basmati rice, well washed
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or butter or ghee)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Blend the tomatoes, garlic and ginger to a paste with a little water to get it going. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and cook the onion for about 5 minutes until lightly browned.

Add in the blended tomatoes, cashew nuts, spices, salt & pepper. Cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Blend until smooth with a little water if necessary then pour it back into the pan, add the stock (or water), tomato puree, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes until it is the consistency of single cream.

Meanwhile make the dumplings. Wilt the spinach in a pan with a tbsp water, a pinch salt and 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg. When cool enough to handle squeeze out the excess water (in a clean tea towel) and blend to a puree with a stick blender. Then add the cornflour and ricotta and mix together well. Taste and season with salt & black pepper as required.

Heat about 5cm vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or wok over a medium high heat. To test if the oil is hot enough drop a tiny amount of the spinach mix into the oil, it should sizzle immediately but not brown straight away.

Drop heaped teaspoons full of the spinach mix into the oil. You will need to do it in batches. I got 16 out of this mixture.

Cook the koftas, turning occasionally with a metal spoon, so they cook evenly. They should take 2-3 minutes per side until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

To serve, add a squeeze of lemon to the sauce. You can add the koftas into the sauce to reheat them or serve them straight way with the hot sauce poured over and some fresh coriander leaves to garnish.

For the Rice Pilaf:

Tip the rice into a large bowl, cover with water and leave to soak. Heat the coconut oil/ghee in a saucepan over a medium heat then add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cardamom pods and cloves and leave to sizzle and pop for about 20 seconds. Add the onion and cook for about 4 minutes until turning golden.

Drain the rice and add it to the pan with the turmeric, salt & black pepper and cook, stirring for a minute. Add 400 ml water, taste the water and add more salt if necessary.

Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to its lowest setting, cover and leave to cook for 12-13 minutes without stirring. Check the rice it should be cooked. Remove from the heat and serve when ready.

Things That Made Me Smile Today…………..

Today we visited the Alcazaba (Moorish fortress) in Malaga. It’s the first time we’ve been and I was really surprised at how beautiful it is. Everyone goes to the Alhambra but I doubt many people even know there is a smaller much less touristy version in Malaga. It’s practically deserted. Apart from the robins that is….

I have obviously taken a whole load more photographs that I will share with you over the next few posts, this is just a teaser….

24 Responses to “Indian Spinach Koftas with Creamy Tomato and Cashew Nut Sauce”

  1. creativenoshing January 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Yum! Looks good.

  2. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide January 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Oh I think I have all these ingredients. These look fantastic. I love spinach too. It’s tasty!

  3. thekalechronicles January 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    This looks delicious, Natalie. Since I don’t deep fry anything I’m thinking of just serving the sauce on some cooked spinach — maybe with pasta.

  4. Fred @ Savorique January 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Are the nutritional data for cooked or raw spinach? (sorry for the picky question!) I didn’t know about the moisturizing effect of spinach. One of the best moisture retention “food” is pure, raw coconut juice.

  5. Ramona January 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Beautiful recipes and pictures! I love spinach anything and these koftas look perfect.🙂 I also enjoy Anjun Anad’s recipes and her show on cooking channel. Well done. ~ Ramona

  6. frugalfeeding January 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Fantastic! I love the colour in the centre of the koftas. Awesome recipe! Also, I always love how good spinach is for you. It really is very, VERY impressive.

  7. Chica Andaluza January 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    I have a couple of Anjun Anand´s books and I love them! This is another amazing recipe and I adore spinach. I too have never been to the Alcazaba in Malaga (shame on me) and now I need to go and meet your little robin🙂

  8. Tony Ward January 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    How long have you lived in Malaga, I can’t believe its the first time in the Alcazaba !! It is stunning and quite a schlepp,(wear sensible shoes ). The views from there are stunning.
    Love this posting, I can almost taste it now. Not really the weather for it here in C.T. its 35 degrees and the spinach isn’t the only thing thats wilting. Nice guapita.
    And @ chica Andaluz….yes you should be ashamed of yourself. x

  9. happywhennothungry January 20, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    This meal looks amazing. Beautiful photos too!

  10. ceciliag January 20, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    fabulous and great photos too. if I want an iron pump I just reach for a pack of sundried raisins, weirdly those little guys are packed with accessible iron as long as i have the vit c at the same time so my body can do the whole assimilation thing.. c

  11. kellieanderson January 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    I love Anjun’s recipes too and have her books. She’s a bit too gorgeous though😀 I haven’t noticed this recipe before, so thanks for highlighting it. I am allergic to cashews so would sub in almonds, otherwise it looks totally scrummy and filling. I currently have ‘curried pea hand-pies’ on my blog – like a non-fried samosa. Complementing tastes to your dish.

  12. spree January 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    I think I’m in love with every part of this dish. Some of my very favorite flavors and ingredients, all on one table, presented in such a pretty way! Thank you ahead of time for what will surely be a hit at our house!

  13. infinebalance January 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    I love spinach too. These look awesome and while my kids may insist on dipping these in ketchup or honey (sorry!) I need to try that sauce!

  14. thebigfatnoodle January 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    Love the look of these and the sauce, what lovely flavours!

  15. Caroline January 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    Wow, does this ever look delicious, Natalie! Mmmm that sauce. What a cute little birdie…that would have put a smile on my face as well. Can’t wait to see the rest of your photos! x

  16. Tammy January 21, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    These look amazing. I love Indian food!

  17. Three Well Beings January 23, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    The cashew nut sauce is really interesting to me. I love curry, and this really sounds wonderful–a special occasion dish, I think. Your photographs are gorgeous and you do have some exquisite sites. I have seen robins in my yard–not often, but yes, that look just like your little friend. I thought that was interesting since we aren’t exactly neighbors, but maybe it has something to do with sharing a similar climate🙂 Debra

  18. peasepudding January 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    The rich green kofta against the sauce looks amazing. Love that you captured a photo of the red robin, I haven’t seen one in years.

  19. therecanbeonlyjuan January 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    An amazing recipe.

  20. Sarah January 25, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    I love koftas. and beautiful recipe!

  21. spree January 25, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    Natalie, a little question for you. Would you like to participate in the “interview” known as “unplugged” ? – it’s been flying around the blog world recently and I’d love to see how you’d answer the questions if you’re at all interested. (You could check it out here if you haven’t seen it…just look for “unplugged” as a recent post of mine. cooking-spree.com) Thanks so much!

    • foodblogandthedog January 26, 2012 at 1:43 am #

      I’d love to, give me a few days and I’ll get on to it!!

  22. Beth Michelle January 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    I seriously need to come over and have dinner at your place! I love kofta and also will take any excuse to eat more spinach! This looks so good.

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