Saturday, July 7, 2012

Oaler Kofta - Elephant's Foot Yam Koftas

The hubby and I recently discovered the Nerul vegetable market and we have started frequenting it quite devotedly. Not only do you get a huge variety of produce that would make any Indian housewife clap with joy, there's a significant variety of 'foreign' or videshi vegetables also available quite regularly. Seeing this abundance I was inspired to shop for more vegetables than the usual cabbage, cauliflower, beans, etc.
The last time we went there I bought some elephant's foot yam, or suran as it is locally known. We Bengalis call it 'oal' and it is a huge favourite with us.

Oal is not the most attractive looking vegetable but it is surprisingly versatile and can be turned into delicious fare - not that I had any clue how to cook it other than a vague idea that it causes an itchy throat of not prepped properly.  However in this day of Facebook and the myriad special interest groups that abound there, help was just a post away. I logged in to Chef at Large on Facebook and asked for recipes and instructions on cooking this ugly but interesting vegetable.

Many recipes were suggested and I chose to make Oaler Kofta. There are a few reasons why. First of all, it was a Bengali recipe. Then it wasn't a basic recipe but one that was a little more involved and therefore challenging. I had never made koftas of any sort before. This recipe challenged me on many levels so I set forth to make Oaler kofta. I have adjusted the recipe and tweaked it to my convenience and taste so I can't claim it is a traditional Bengali version, but it tasted great anyway :)

Oaler Kofta

For the koftas

250gms Oal, peeled, cubed and boiled with turmeric and lime juice.
1 small green chilli minced
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 an onion, minced
jeera pwd
garam masala pwd
Besan/ maida
mustard oil for frying

For the gravy

2 tomatoes, pureed
1 or 2 green chillies
2 medium potatoes, cubed
11/2 large onion, minced
1 tsp whole jeera
2 bay leaves
1tsp ginger garlic paste
1tsp jeera/lasun/red chilli paste
chilli pwd

To make the koftas-

Mash the boiled oal in a plate or bowl with the kofta ingredients.

 Add besan or maida as required to get a consistency where the koftas will retain their shape.

Heat mustard oil in a kadai. Form koftas by hand or use two spoons (I find that less messy). Once the oil has heated up nicely fry the koftas till they are lightly crisp on the outside. This will help them stay whole in the gravy.

Here are my fried koftas.

Now to make the gravy -

Fry the cubed potatoes and keep aside.

In the hot oil drop in the bay leaves, green chillies and jeera. Stir a bit and then add the chopped onions. Stir nicely and once the onions begin to pink add the pureed tomatoes. Mash it up as well as you can and let it cook for a minute or two. Then add the pastes and the dry spice powders and salt. Mix well and cook covered on a low flame. Let the flavours meld. Stir once in a way and let it cook for about 5 - 6 minutes.

Put in the fried potatoes and mix well. Cover and let it cook for a few minutes again so the potatoes can absorb the spices and flavours.

Add water and stir. Cover and cook till the potatoes are completely done. Slide in the koftas and simmer for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle some garam masala powder and put the lid back on. Simmer for a minute and you're done.

Decant very carefully into a pretty serving bowl and garnish with fresh coriander if you have it.

Not bad for a first attempt, don't you agree? :)


Pinku said...

This is one of my fav veggies...though most people I know screw up their noses at the very mention if it.

Try a baata, boil the yam as you did just dont add the turmeric, mash with some grated fresh coconut, green chillis and mustard oil, have with steamed rice...its delicious.

Swati Raman Garg said...

hey rhea... iam here for the first time... never thot this ugly looknig veggie can b used to get something like this... bookmarked...