Khasta Kofteh: Punjab meets Germany, Meatballs meet Shorba

KUNDAN KOFTEH_High resKofteh teri yeh pehchaan
maheen qeema
mehka shorba
Kha ke hoo Jaye khush Mehman.

Preparing this kofteh calls for filial fidelity to quality, patience, and skills. The heirloom recipe shared here comes from the diary of the late Ishro Badshah, wife of late Rai Sahib, KC Badshah, the former Chief Engineer of Undivided Punjab until 1947.

The formulation of the meatball is credited to their neice-in-law, the Munich-born Trudel Muller (married to Madan Oberoi), in Lahore. The addition of gravy is an input from the retainers of Sir Sikander, Chief Minister of Undivided Punjab.

Both the above households were inseparable till the event of Partition, when the Badshah moved to the salubrious family home in Mashobra, Shimla, and the Oberois to Indian House, London. Sir Sikander remained in Lahore. Trudel passed away recently at the age of 99, in Munich.

Here we share the finer points of the recipe and all that goes into the preparation of the meatballs which is still referred to as German kofteh in all three households.

Number of portions: 4
Tools: Heavy bottom pan, lid, slicer, mincer
Plate: Curry bowl
Sensitivity note: Dumplings should not break in gravy
Ingredients Quantity
For the koftas:
Mutton hind leg 1 kg
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Salt To taste
Red chilli powder ½ tsp
Garam masala powder ½ tsp
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Onion, fine chopped ½ tsp
Black pepper powder 2 tbsp
Ginger, chopped 1 tsp
Roasted channa powder 2 tbsp
Desi egg 2tbsp
Khus khus paste 1 tsp
Green chilli, chopped 2 no
For the poaching liquor:
Cloves 3 nos
Fennel 1 tbsp
Whole coriander seeds 1 tbsp
Star anise 3 nos
Small cardamom 2 nos
Bay leaf 2 nos
Cinnamon sticks 1 no
Onion, cut into quarters 1 no, medium
Ginger (1” piece) 1 no
Water 6 cups
Muslin cloth 10*10 cm
For frying:
Desi egg 3 nos
Clarified butter 2 cups
For the gravy:
Cold pressed oil 2 cups
Brown onion paste 1 cup
Boiled onion paste 2 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp
Full fat yoghurt 1 cup
Bay leaf 3 no
Big cardamom 4 no
Green cardamom 5 no.
Cinnamon stick 2 no
Salt To taste
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Yellow chilli powder 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder 1tsp
Coriander powder 3 tbsp
Garam masala powder ½ tsp
Mutton stock* 3 cups
Saffron water 2 tbsp
Rose water 1 tsp
Kewra water 1 tsp
Muslin cloth 30*30 cms
Chopped egg white 1 tbsp

Preparation of main dish
1. Wash the mutton leg pieces thoroughly under running water. Dry on an absorbent towel.
2. Now take out mince of the leg pieces 3 times. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Add in the salt, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, turmeric powder along with chopped onion, brown onion paste, black pepper powder, chopped ginger, roasted channa powder, khus khus paste, chopped green chilli and one whole egg. Mix evenly.
4. Now, grease your hands with little oil and shape the mixture into small dumplings with approximate diameter of 5 cm. Keep aside.
5. Now take a lagan and add water to it for making the poaching liquor.
6. Put all the spices in the muslin cloth and tie it to make a potli of spices. Drop it in the lagan containing the water.
7. Once the water comes to a boil, put the flame on medium heat and drop the mince dumplings in it and poach it for 5-7 minutes.
8. Once done, drain out the dumplings and keep aside.
9. Break the eggs in a bowl. Beat it well and keep aside.
10. Heat clarified butter in a flat bottomed pan.
11. Dip the poached dumplings in the egg batter and coat well.
12. Drop in the hot clarified butter and fry till golden brown.
13. Drain on an absorbent paper towel and keep aside the golden brown dumplings.
14. For the gravy, heat oil in a heavy bottom handi, add in bay leaf, big and green cardamom, and cinnamon. Saute over medium heat till they begin to crackle.
15. Add in the ginger garlic paste and boiled onion paste. Saute. Pour in the beaten full fat yoghurt and saute further.
16. Sprinkle in salt, red chilli powder and yellow chilli powder. Saute till the oil leaves the side of the pan.
17. Add in brown onion paste and coriander powder. Saute further.
18. Pour in flavorful and aromatic mutton stock. Allow it to come to a boil.
19. Now with the help of muslin cloth, strain the gravy.
20. Season with garam masala powder and simmer covered on dum at low heat till mutton is cooked.Finish with saffron water, rose water and kewra water.
21. Add in the golden fried dumplings to the gravy and cook on dum for 20-25 minutes on a medium flame.
22. Remove to a bowl. Garnish with chopped egg whites.
23. Serve hot with Indian breads or pulao.

*For mutton stock
To make: 5 litres
Tools: Stock pot
Sensitivity: Should not be cloudy
Ingredients Quantity
Mutton bones 5 kg
Water 10 litres
Whole black pepper 20 nos
Bayleaf 5 nos
Coriander root ¾ cup
Bay leaf 4 no
Big cardamom 20 nos
Onions 5 nos, medium
Garlic cloves ½ cup
Ginger (2”) 2 nos
Green cardamom 5 nos
Oil 1 cup

Preparation of mutton stock
1. Blanch the bones and immediately shock in cold water.
2. Heat oil in a stock pot.
3. Add in onions, garlic, ginger, coriander root along with black pepper, bayleaf, green cardamom. Saute.
4. Pour in cold water. Allow to come to a boil.
5. Remove all the scum and put the flame on slow.
6. Cook for 6-8 hours till reduced to half.
7. Strain through a muslin cloth.
8. Store the stock refrigerated.

For boiled onion paste
To make: ½ cup
Tools: Lagan, mixer, grinder, strainer
Sensitivity: Grind when cool
Ingredients Quantity
Onions, sliced 2 nos, medium
Water 3 cups

Preparation of onion paste
1. Take water in a lagan and add sliced onions to it.
2. Allow it to boil for 10-15 minutes.
3. Strain the boiled onions and keep aside.
4. Grind the onions well to make boiled onion paste
5. Store the paste refrigerated.

For brown onion paste
To make: ½ cup
Tools: Lagan, mixer, grinder, strainer
Sensitivity: Grind when cool
Ingredients Quantity
Onions, sliced 3 nos, medium
Water ½ cup
Oil, for frying cup

Preparation of brown onion paste
1. Slice the onions evenly and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a lagan and deep fry the sliced onions till brown in colour.
3. Care should be taken not to burn the onions while frying as it can lead to a bitter taste.
4. Drain the fried brown onions on an absorbent paper towel.
5. Grind the brown onions well along with water to make brown onion paste.
6. Store the paste refrigerated.