Firstly either grate or mince veggies in a food processor or a food chopper or with a grater.
Make a coarse mince of the veggies. I have used raw green peas and minced it along with the other veggies. If you do not have a food processor or chopper, then boil or steam peas, potatoes and cauliflower separately. Drain of all the water. Then mash very well and add to finely chopped capsicum.
If using vegetables with high water content like bottle gourd (lauki), cabbage, zucchini or pumpkin etc, then add some salt in the grated veggies. Mix very well and keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes. Then squeeze the excess water. Keep this water and add later to the gravy.
Take the veggie mixture in a bowl.
Add ¼ cup grated cheese or paneer. You can use cheddar cheese or processed cheese. You can also skip adding cheese or paneer.
Then add ¼ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder, ¼ teaspoon coriander powder, ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder and ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder, ½ cup besan and salt as per taste.
Mix very well. If the mixture appears too light and watery, then add some more besan. Check the taste and add more spices and salt if required.
Make small to medium sized balls from this veggie mixture. If you are not able to shape into balls, then add some water and make a pakora batter consistency. Then fry the koftas like the way pakoras are fried.
frying veg kofta
Heat oil for deep frying in a pan. Add a small tiny piece of the veggie ball and see if it breaks in oil or not. If it breaks or bursts in oil, then add more besan. The amount of besan to be added depends on the moisture content in the veggies.
If the veggie ball does not break, then you can easily start frying the kofta. Keep the flame to medium and gently slid the kofta in the hot oil. Add as much depending on the size and capacity of the kadai or pan. Do not over crowd.
Turn only when one side is golden or else the kofta can break.
Turn over a couple of times for even frying. Fry till all the veg kofta are crisp and golden.
Remove with a slotted spoon and place the fried veg kofta on kitchen paper towels. Keep aside.
preparing cashew paste for kofta curry
In a food processor or chopper or blender/grinder jar, take 12 cashews (kaju). Add 3 tablespoons water and grind to a smooth paste. Remove cashew paste and keep aside.
preparing onion paste for kofta curry
In the same processor or chopper or grinder, take 1.3 cups roughly chopped onions, 1 green chilli (chopped), ½ tablespoon roughly chopped garlic and ½ tablespoon roughly chopped ginger.
Without adding any water, grind to a semi fine or a smooth paste. Keep aside.
preparing tomato puree for kofta curry
In the same processor or chopper or grinder, take 1 cup tightly packed chopped tomatoes.
Without adding any water, grind to a semi fine or a smooth puree. Remove and keep aside.
making veg kofta curry
Heat 3 tablespoons oil or ghee in a pan or thick bottomed kadai. Add 1 tej patta, 1 inch cinnamon, 2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom and 2 single strands of mace. Sauté for a few seconds till the spices splutter.
Then add the onion paste.
Mix and begin to sauté the onion paste on a low to medium flame stirring often.
Sautéing onion paste takes a lot of time, so add a pinch of salt to quicken the cooking process.
Sauté till the onion paste turns golden.
Then add the tomato puree and mix very well.
Next add the cashew paste.
Mix again and sauté this masala for 2 to 3 minutes on a low to medium flame stirring often.
Then add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder or ¼ teaspoon regular red chili powder. Mix very well.
Keep the flame to a low and then add 3 tablespoons fresh curd or yogurt.
Stir briskly and quickly while you are adding the fresh curd. Mix very well.
Now sauté this masala, till you see oil or ghee releasing from the sides. The whole masala will reduce and you can easily see oil releasing from the masala.
Now add 1.5 cups water or add as required. For a thicker veg kofta gravy, you can add 1 to 1.25 cups water.
Season with salt.
Bring the veg kofta gravy to a simmer on low to medium flame for 6 to 7 minutes. Once the gravy is done, it will be reduced slightly and you will see specks of oil floating on top.
Add ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder, ¼ teaspoon kasuri methi (crushed) and 2 tablespoons low fat cream. Mix very well. Cream is optional and can be skipped.
Switch off the flame and add 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves. Mix again. Do not add koftas in the hot curry as they break.
serving veg kofta curry
Now take the kofta curry in a serving bowl or dish.
Place the kofta on the curry. Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves, grated paneer or cheese and cream.
Serve veg kofta curry with chapatis, naan or jeera rice.