Preparation / Directions:
Kofta, a classic dish of Moghul origin, is one of the most important preparations of Indian vegetarian cuisine. Traditionally, koftas are simmered in a delicate sauce and turned into a curried main dish. These kebabs are wonderful served as cocktail appetizers with a yogurt or fruity dipping sauce.
THE KOFTA: Combine potatoes, peas, cheese, chile, coriander, cumin, salt, cashews and raisins. Form mixture into 1-inch balls. Make a batter with the flour and water. Season with pinch of salt, if desired. Heat oil to 375 degrees F in a deep fryer or large heavy saucepan. Dip balls into batter to coat completely, and deep-fry until brown (do not crowd), about 4 minutes. Set aside. (If you want the kebabs to remain firm, put them on a heated serving platter, and tent with foil. To serve, bring cream sauce to a boil and pour over kebabs.)
THE SAUCE: Grind cashews, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and garlic with a little water to make a fine paste. Set aside. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and Sauté until wilted; stir in ground paste and cook 2 minutes. Add turmeric, paprika, coriander, cayenne and salt. Stir in half-and-half and water. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes. (May be prepared 2 days ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated.) Stir in cream and kofta kebabs. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.
Note: Chick-pea flour (also called gram flour or besan) may be purchased at Indian grocery stores.