In South Asian cuisine, Koftas or meat balls came with Persian invasions. Here Koftas are mostly cooked in a spicy curry, the dry version is called kebabs.
Nargisi Koftas are considered a speciality of Moghul cuisine, as the name suggests they are fit for any royal banquet.
The name ‘nargis’ is Persian for the Narcissus flower, which in classical Persian literature is a symbol of beautiful eyes.
The colours of this very unique meat ball remind one of nargis flower, whereas the shape is that of an eye.
It is also said that the British Scotch Eggs may have been inspired by this Moghul delicacy where eggs are encased in a layer of spicy meat.
For Nargisi Koftay, Narcissus Meatballs Curry :
1/2 kg chicken mince
1/2 cup yellow gram lentils/chana daal
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon garam masala
4 hard boiled eggs
1 egg, beaten
Oil for deep frying
For Curry :
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 cup yogurt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Fresh coriander for garnishing
This Is What You Do :
Add chicken mince, chana daal, red chilli powder, garam masala and salt to a deep pan.
Fill the pan up to half with water. Cook covered on medium heat, till all the water is evaporated and mince and lentils are completely cooked.
Keep the pan uncovered and keep stirring the last few minutes so that the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan.
Let it cool down completely.
Add to a food processor till it resembles stiff dough.
If its to hard to mould, add a few drops water at a time and mix.
Remove the shell from eggs, wrap eggs completely in a thick cost of this mince and lentil dough, brush with egg.
Heat oil for deep frying on medium heat. Fry the egg meatballs for 2-3 minutes or till golden brown on all sides.
Remove from oil and set aside.
For curry, heat oil in a pan, add onions. Fry till golden brown, not dark brown.
Remove from oil, add fried onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt to the blender and make masala paste.
Add the paste back to the oil in pan, cook on medium heat for a few minutes or till the sauce changes colour. Beat the yogurt smooth, add to the masala and keep stirring till it becomes one with masala and oil separates from the curry.
Add 3 cups water, cover the pan, reduce heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
If the curry gets too thick, add a little more water.
To serve, pour the curry in a deep serving dish, cut the egg meatballs lengthwise into two, place them in curry. Garnish with fresh coriander.
Serve hot with rice or roti bread.
Makes 4 servings