Spinach koftas with a soft potato centre, in a tangy tomato-yoghurt gravy, this Shaam Savera recipe is a signature dish of chef Sanjeev Kapoor. For the Independence Day dinner, I wanted to cook something special and of course in tricolour. This was perfect. In the morning I had made quick tricolour sandwiches before we headed out to the embassy for flag hoisting. What a moment of pride!
For dinner we were hosting a few friends. Since it was a weekday, the menu was quite simple. I made rice pakodas with leftover rice from the weekend, served with mint and coriander chutney for starters. For main course, Shaam savera was a new recipe I tried and I was really happy that I made it. It completely stole the show at the dinner. 🙂 Other dishes were papad ki sabzi, plain paranthas and a simple dahi raita. For desserts, I already had some dry fruit kulfi, made over the weekend.
Shaam savera literally means evening-morning showing the contrast of colours in the koftas (dumplings). Originally the recipe is made with paneer (cottage cheese) balls coated with a layer of dark spinach to make the koftas but I made the inside of the kofta with boiled potato as I had some leftover from the morning sandwich and frankly speaking no time to make paneer. We don’t get paneer here in supermarkets, so for a last moment fix, I replaced the paneer with potato. It was like a potato tikki wrapped in palak kofta.
By Ashima Goyal Siraj
Preparation time: |Cooking Time: |Serves: 5-6
for the spinach koftas
700 gms spinach leaves, washed
1 tsp cumin seeds
6-8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp gram flour
1 tbsp oil + oil for deep frying
2 medium (~120gms) potatoes, boiled
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cornflour for dusting
for the tomato-yoghurt gravy
1 tbsp oil
3 green cardamoms
a sliver of mace
8-10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 tomatoes, puréed
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red kashmiri chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste
1/2 cup plain yoghurt, whisked (opt out for a vegan preparation)
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori methi)
- In a deep pan, bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the spinach leaves to the boiling water and after 2-3 minutes remove with a slotted spoon or drain into a colander. Immediately wash the spinach leaves with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Tightly squeeze out as much water as you can by pressing the spinach leaves between your palms and finely chop the cooked spinach. It is important that the spinach is very very finely chopped otherwise it will not be able to cover the potato balls to make the kofta.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. When the oil is hot add cumin seeds, chopped garlic and green chillies. Sauté for a minute.
- Now add the gram flour and sauté for 2-3 minutes with continuous stirring. Break the lumps of gram flour if any. Add the chopped spinach leaves and cook till the mixture is completely dry.
- Keep aside till the mixture is cool enough to use by hand. Grate the boiled potatoes. Add garam masala, salt and cardamom powder. Mix well and make small balls of about an inch in diameter. You can start on the gravy while the spinach is still cooling.
- Take a little spinach mix and flatten it on your palm. Put one potato ball in the centre and carefully fold the spinach mix around the ball. Lightly press between your palms to make the kofta smooth and even. Repeat with the remaining spinach mix. With about 700 gems of spinach I could make 11 small koftas.
- Take cornflour in a plate and roll each kofta in the cornflour. Dust off excess cornflour.
- Deep fry the kofta and keep aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. When the oil is hot add the green cardamom and mace. Sauté for a minute and then add the chopped garlic cloves. Sauté for a couple of minutes till the garlic starts to turn brown.
- Add the tomato purée, sugar and all the powdered spices. Mix well and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
- Add the whisked yoghurt. Mix well and stir continuously till there is a boil. The gravy is very tangy because of tomatoes and yoghurt. The original recipe uses cream. You can also use milk. I prefer yoghurt for gravy as it gives a thick consistency and we love tangy :). Mix in fenugreek leaves.
- Remove the gravy into a serving dish. Cut the koftas into half so that you can see the white centre surrounded by dark green spinach and drop them into the saffron gravy. Your tricolour Shaam Savera is ready!