Mocha Koftar Polao
I wake up with rattling of utensils. Oh, maa is cleaning the kitchen. It is saturday today and she has been following this ritual for years now.Our kitchen is cooked thoroughly each Saturday before she begins her cooking. Oh No! Aaj to Niramish I remember. Maa aaj ki ranna hobe? Mocha, I hear my mother murmuring as she hastily cleaned our wooden kitchen cupboard. Mocha, enchor are my favourite. My mother completes the sentence Mocha Koftar Polao. I immediately move to brush my teeth and sit down to study.
Dustumi korbe na tahole polao banabo na, maa says.
Na maa porte bose gechi.
My mother has always followed the ritual of eating vegetarian on saturdays. But cooking a vegetarian meal in a Bengali household, often becomes a challenge. So often on these days, particularly when she had a day off from her office, she used to make different vegetarian polaos. This preparation is one of them. This is therefore a no onion no garlic preparation.
Later, I in my home, also used to cook vegetarian on Saturdays. But after I moved to Israel, where weekend is Friday and Saturday, things have changed. Therefore, I do not follow this ritual any more. I have served mocha kofta polao with chicken kasha but you can serve the polao with chhanar dalna or as it is just with some salad.
Other Polao recipes on my blog
In case you are also looking for non vegetarian polao recipes then below are some
Mocha Koftar polao
For the Kofta and gravy
- 2 cups of chopped banana flower
- 3 tablespoons of grated coconut
- 1+1 teaspoon of red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper powder
- 1½ tablespoon of grated ginger
- ¼ cup of besan/gram flour
- Green chilies chopped (according to your resistance)
- 1+1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 125 g of yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon of sahi jeera
- 1+1 teaspoon of red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon of Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1+1 teaspoon of Bengali garam masala powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 tablespoon of ghee
- oil for frying koftas
For the Polao
- 2 cups of long grain Basmati rice
- 3 tablespoons of ghee
- 10-12 cashew nuts split
- 10 raisins
- 1 inch of ginger diced
- 2 cups of coconut cream
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1+1 inch of cinnamon stick
- 5+5 cardamom pods
- 8+8 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon of shahi jeera
- 8-10 saffron strands
For making the mocha kofta and gravy
- Steam the chopped mocha in a pressure cooker with salt and turmeric powder.
- Strain all the water completely from the mocha.
- Run it in a blender to make a paste. Do not make it into a smooth paste. I have blended mocha along with the coconut.
- Take the paste of the banana flower in a bowl. To it add salt, ½ tablespoon of ground ginger, 1 teaspoon of Bengali garam masala powder, 1 teaspoon of red chili powder, ½ teaspoon of black pepper powder, ¼ cup of besan, chopped green chilies and mix all the ingredients together.
- In a kadai, take oil for frying and heat it. Make balls of the above mixture and gently drop the mocha balls in hot oil.
- Fry the mocha koftas on low medium heat and keep them aside.
- Now, remove all the oil from the kadai leaving about a tablespoon of oil in the kadai. Then add 1 tablespoon of ghee to the kadai.
- As the oil starts smoking, throw in ¼ teaspoon of sahi jeera to the oil.
- Then add the grated ginger to the kadai and saute them till the raw smell of ginger is gone.
- In a bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of red chili powder, 1 teaspoon of Kashmiri red chili powder, salt, 1 teaspoon of Bengali garam masala powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin powder along with 2 tablespoon of water.
- Pour this mixture into the kadai and continue sauteing the spices till you see oil separating at the sides of the pan.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl take the yogurt and whisk it properly. As you see oil separating at the sides of the pan, add the yogurt to the kadai and stir continuously.
- Add about ¼ cup of water to the kadai and let it simmer.
- Now, add the fried koftas to the kadai and continue simmering till very little water is left in the kadai.
- Turn off the flame and keep the kofta gravy aside.
For the Polao
- Wash the rice thoroughly(at least thrice) and let it soak in water for 25-30 minutes.
- Strain the water and let it air dry on a kitchen towel .(around 30 minutes)
- In a pot, take ½ cup of coconut cream 1½ cup of water. In a clean preferably white muslin cloth, take 1 inch of cinnamon stick, 5 cardamom pods, 8 cloves, 1 inch of roughly chopped ginger. Tie the cloth and drop it in the pot. Let it simmer with the spices for about 30 minutes. This broth is known as yakhni. The polao will be cooked in this spice infused fluid.
- In a deep bottomed pot, add 2 tablespoons of ghee and heat it. Fry the cashew nuts and raisins and keep them aside.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of ghee and heat it. To the ghee, add 1 inch of cinnamon stick, 4-5 cardamom pods and 6-8 cloves, 2 bay leaves and ¼ teaspoon of sahi jeera. Wait till you get aroma of the spices.
- Add the rice and saute them on medium flame till the color of the rice changes. care should be taken not to brown the rice.
- Add the yakhni to the rice, followed by 1½ cup of coconut cream. The total amount of fluid added to the rice should be about 4 cups(double the amount of rice). If you fall short, add water to make up the quantity. Also, add the saffron strands to the pot. Also, add salt at this point and taste the salt. It should be slightly high on salt.
- Cook the rice covered on medium flame till all the water is completely soaked and the rice is almost done. Stir carefully in between not to break the rice. Add the sugar.
- Turn off the flame. Remove half of the rice in a plate. Layer the kofta along with half of the gravy that you had prepared. Add the remaining rice back to the pot and then add the remaining koftas along with the remaining gravy.
- Cover the pot. Turn on the flame and on low heat, leave the pot on dum covered for about 5 minutes. Turn off the flame and keep it covered till ready to serve.
- Gently mix the koftas along with the rice and serve.
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