Review of “Nargisi Kofta” – A Chicken Scotch Egg Curry
By John Rieber
The latest “Cookbook Confidential Cookbook Club” challenge was to prepare a dish from a classic Indian cookbook.
Madhur Jaffrey initially became a Cookbook Author, she wrote in the first line of “An Invitation to Indian Cooking”, as “a gradual maneuver in self-defense.”
She revealed that she was defending herself from the curiosity of her friends and acquaintances, because in the 1960s, most Americans had never tasted Indian food.
Now, fifty years after the release of this groundbreaking cookbook, I’m going to make a dish from it as part of Bernadette’s terrific “Cookbook Confidential Cookbook Club!”
Chef Jaffrey has a recipe for “Kofta Masala Curry” – and since “Kofta” is the word for “meatball” – the recipe I chose to make from her cookbook is called “Chicken Scotch Egg Curry” – which is also called a “Nargisi Kofta” – since a “Nargisi” is a classic “Indian Scotch Egg”, which is an egg wrapped inside meat!
Let’s get cooking! Here are the ingredients being used for the recipe:
First, soft boil 4 eggs – the recipe suggested putting eggs in cold water, bring to a boil and cook for 6 minutes then cool – that worked perfectly. Peel them and they are ready to go when needed.
After getting the eggs prepped, I set out to make the gravy:
1 large onion, diced
12 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup full fat yogurt
1 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp coriander powder
2tsp cumin powder
2-3 cups water or stock
Saute the garlic and onion in a pan until they are golden…feel free to carmelize them a bit – after 15 minutes or so, take them out, put the mixture in a blender and pulse it into a paste.
Put it back into the frying pan and add the yogurt on low heat to blend in, then add all of your spices and blend in again…
After it is mixed together, add the water / stock and mix it all together, then let it simmer on low. Important note: I didn’t add much of the red chili powder as I’m not a fan of spice…but as a result, the sauce is a bit creamier in color than it should have been.
Next, I made the chicken meatballs:
1 lb. ground chicken
1-1/2 tsp cumin
1-1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp cardomom
1 small stick cinammon
2 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp poppy seeds (I didn’t have so didn’t use)
The recipe asks you to toast cumin, coriander and cardamom but I had it already ground so didn’t do that…instead I just combined all of the dry ingredients and folded them into the ground chicken…
Using the palm of my hand, I made a nice little cup and put the soft-boiled egg on top, then wrapped the chicken mixture around it, making sure it was sealed…that’s it and it’s easy!
Now, just brown them in an oiled frying pan so they don’t come apart…turn regularly to get all sides browned.
After about ten minutes, they are ready to put into the sauce, then cover the pan and let them simmer for twenty minutes, turning every five minutes so all sides get submerged in the sauce!
Serve your “nargisi koftas” over rice or noodles with a liberal amount of the sauce and you are ready to eat.
So, how was it? Delicious.
First, the taste was great: strong curry flavors, and the chicken meatball tasted very good as well…I like seeing the egg inside, as it gave the dish the only color it had!
I should have sliced some green onion over it, or added some fresh green herb to the top because the dish looks very bland…which wasn’t fair as the taste was anything but, and I would have used more spice for both color and an extra zing.
I also noted when looking at photos online that the sauce shown there is much more colorful, so my lack of “red” in the sauce is due to my hesitancy to add that chili powder which would have given it much needed color.
The dish was delicious but is the cookbook worth buying?
For me the answer is yes, because I do want to attempt more Indian cooking, and there are lots of great recipes that will allow me to explore the flavors of India. Also, a new 50th anniversary edition of the cookbook is out this month – with a foreword by Chef Yotam Ottolenghi!
I think we are all getting a challenge from one of his cookbooks next!
I love great food, interesting books, fascinating travel, outrageous movies, and bacon, especially when it sits on top of a great cheeseburger! I work in entertainment – and I have been lucky enough to interview some really talented Artists – that guide my posts: interesting and provocative movies, music, social media, and of course, food, since I believe strongly in the maxim, “everyone eats!”