It’s good to be home. I’ve been spending time cleaning out closets, reading my kindergarten report cards (”she needs to improve her conduct”- I, a 5 year old sociopath!), and cooking fresh vegetables from my mother’s verdant vegetable garden.
This time, I asked her to give me the recipe for her white dumplings, aka safed kofte. These were my absolute favorite growing up. Much like the laal pulav, these were reserved for special occasions. I would tiptoe around the kitchen, sneaking in a couple of dumplings straight out of the fryer before she smothered them with the rich white sauce. Rich, sophisticated, yet understated, it’s the perfect statement recipe.
The measurements below are approximations- I followed my mother’s style and did not meaure anything. Go ahead, take your chances with this one.
For the dumplings:
3 medium potatoes, boiled and peeled
About a cup full of green peas, boiled
6-8 slices regular white bread, crusts removed (don’t use low-carb high-fiber type bread)
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup raw peanuts, skin removed
6 green cardamoms, seeded, seeds crushed (or 1 tsp powdered cardamom)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp golden raisins
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cups milk
salt and white pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus enough for deep frying the dumplings
– Whizz the crustless white bread in a food processor to get soft crumbs. Set aside.
– Mash together the potatoes and peas with a little salt until you get a smooth green mash. Add enough bread crumbs (about half) to get a mixture that is soft, yet firm enough to fashion into balls.
– For the stuffing, chop 1 tbsp each of the cashews and peanuts into coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, mix these with the raisins, cilantro and cardamom.
– Heat enough oil in the fryer while you form the dumplings.
– Divide the dumpling mixture into 1/4 cup portions.
– Take the mixture in the palm of one hand and form a ball. Flatten the ball into a disc and put about a tsp of stuffing on top. Close the soft edges of the disc around the stuffing and pat the ball between your palms to form a slightly flattened dumpling. Dredge the dumpling in the remaining bread crumbs and keep aside. Repeat until you have all the dumplings.
– Deep fry the dumplings in medium-hot oil, taking care not to overcook them. They should barely change color. Remove and drain on paper towels. Arrange in a platter.
– For the sauce, whizz together the remaining cashews and peanuts in the food processor/blender until they are powdered. Add any remaining breadcrumbs and the milk and blend again.
– Heat one tbsp oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and wait until they sizzle. Turn the heat to low, add the blended milk mixture, and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens, abut 10 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper.
– Just before serving, pour sauce on dumplings.
Served with naan, dal makhani and rice, this is a meal fit to serve a royal family.