Havila Te Kofta and Kofta Sauce

These spicy vegetable balls from Reza Mahammad are served with a creamy aromatic sauce to make a classic Indian vegetarian dish
By Reza Mahammad
Havila Te Kofta and Kofta Sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the koftas

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1x2.5 cm piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 small green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 small courgettes, coarsely grated
  • 4 small carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1 floret cauliflower, grated
  • 1 floret broccoli, grated
  • 50 g fine green beans, shredded
  • 50 g baby sweetcorn, grated
  • 50 g cooked peeled potatoes
  • 1 bunches fresh coriander, chopped
  • 8 whole small green chillies
  • 25 g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the kofta sauce

  • 1x2.5 cm piece ginger
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 750 g tomatoes, skinned, seeds removed, chopped and sprinkled with salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1/2 tsp Punjabi masala
  • 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, (kasuri methi)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 50 ml single cream

Tips and Suggestions

You can do all the preparation up until the deep frying in advance.


1. For the koftas: heat the oil in a heavy-based pan, add the mustard seeds and wait until they crackle.

2. Add the ginger and chopped green chillies, stir for a moment, then add the turmeric, chilli powder and a pinch of salt.

3. Add the courgettes, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans and corn and cook until they begin to soften. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

4. Grate the potato, mix it into the vegetables, and then add the chopped coriander and breadcrumbs.

5. Slit the remaining chillies down the middle and briefly fry them in a little vegetable oil.

6. Shape the vegetable mixture into koftas by flattening each one into a 6cm disc in the palm of your hand, lying a chilli across the middle of it with the stalk sticking out, then moulding it into a mini-aubergine shape. Dust them all over with cornflour.

7. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer and cook the koftas for about 1-2 minutes until golden brown.

8. For the kofta sauce: puree the ginger and garlic in a food processor or pestle and mortar with 1 tablespoon water to make a smooth paste.

9. Melt the butter in a pan, add the onions, and sprinkle on a little salt to get the full impact of the flavour. Add the chillies to the pan, sprinkle lightly with salt and cook gently for 1 minute.

10. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat and let everything simmer until the tomatoes are soft. Blitz in a food processor.

11. Heat the oil in a medium pan, add the ginger and garlic paste, cook for 1 minute, add the tomato paste and the remaining spices and stir for 30 seconds. As you add the spices, sprinkle over a little water, to release the flavours. Add the tomato sauce and purée and simmer until thickened

12. Carefully place the koftas in the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

13. To serve: put the koftas on a heated serving dish. Stir the cream into the sauce and spoon over the koftas. Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander.

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