Spinach koftas in tomato sauce

Spinach koftas in tomato sauce

Reza’s Indian Spice

Deep-frying is simply to create a crust. This dish won’t be oily, but light and bursting with flavour. The sauce can be made well in advance. And the answer to the long ingredients list? Like any good Girl Guide: be prepared. You can serve these with the sauce on the side as a dip, as in the photo, or drop the koftas into the sauce and serve immediately as a lovely veggie main.

For the sauce


Quantity Ingredient
1kg tomatoes, quartered
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2.5cm piece of root ginger, grated
3 green cardamom pods
5 cloves
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
75g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
100ml single cream
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1-2 teaspoons caster sugar, to taste

For the koftas

Quantity Ingredient
250g paneer, grated
1 large potato, cooked and grated
200g spinach leaves, shredded
2.5cm piece of root ginger, finely chopped
2 green chillies, deseeded if you like, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ajowain seeds
vegetable oil, to deep-fry

For the batter

Quantity Ingredient
100g gram flour
1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds
1-2 teaspoons amchur
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. To make the sauce, put the tomatoes into a large saucepan. Cover and cook over a medium heat until they begin to soften. Add 125ml of water, the garlic, ginger, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the tomatoes disintegrate.
  2. Remove and liquidise in a blender. Strain if necessary, then pour into a clean saucepan, add the chilli powder and cinnamon and simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Add the butter a little at a time, stirring constantly. When the sauce turns glossy, add the cream and simmer for a couple of minutes. Season with salt, stir in the fenugreek and garam masala and add sugar to bring out the flavours. Set aside.
  3. To make the koftas, put all the ingredients except the oil into a bowl and mix well. Shape into balls, each the size of golf balls.
  4. To make the batter, put the gram flour, spices and salt into another bowl and make a well in the centre. Gradually stir in 70ml iced water to achieve a smooth batter with the consistency of single cream.
  5. Heat the oil either in a deep-fat fryer or a deep saucepan until hot. Dip the koftas into the batter, then check whether the oil is hot by sprinkling a tiny bit of the batter into the oil. If it sizzles immediately, the oil is ready. Add the koftas and fry for 1½ minutes, turning once, until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper. Serve with the warm tomato sauce.
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