Cooking | Smoked Bhopali Köfte – a curry with a Turkish twist of taste

“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child

Smoked Bhopali Köfte with Turkish spicesSo I made Smoked Bhopali Köfte yet again a few days ago, this time a twist of taste with Turkish spices. I thought I’d shared the original recipe earlier, but just found it in my drafts! So here it is again, a recipe from an old aunt in Lucknow, one that is infinitely adaptable to taste as most curries are. This time it’s inspired by Turkish cuisine. Köfte or kifte, or kofte aka meatballs are found in possibly every cuisine and across different cultures. It is interesting to follow the trail to see how different cuisines have their own version of simply put, minced meal balls. India offers a smattering of vegetarian koftas as well – paneer, lauki, banana etc.

Kofta is a meatball or meatloaf and is a part of Jordanian, Albanian, Afghan, Azerbaijani, Arab, Armenian, Balkan, Bangladeshi, Greek, Indian, Israeli, Iranian, Kurdish, Pakistani and Turkish cuisine. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat—usually beef or lamb—mixed with spices and/or onions. In Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran, koftas are usually made of lamb, beef, mutton or chicken, whereas Greek and Cypriot varieties are usually made of pork, beef, veal or mixtures of them.

Turkish pidesOne of my favurite cusuines is of course Turkish cuisine, very adaptable to the Indian palette, very flavourful and fun. Takes me to back to Turkish flatbread pizzas or pides I made a while ago, or these Turkish Adana Kebabs which I make quite often. Turkey, once widely acknowledged as the centre of the ancient world, is a gateway between the civilizations that surrounded the Mediterranean and the Far East. It has long been called home by enterprising and hardy traders who introduced exotic spices and flavours between the two civilizations. Fertile land encouraged a varied cuisine, rich in meat, grains, seafood, fruit and vegetables.Smoked Bhopali Köfte

[print_this]Recipe: Smoked Bhopali Köfte
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Summary: Lightly spiced, moist, flavourful lamb mince Smoked Bhopali Köfte with a Turkish influence. Enjoy them in this Indian style curry, else grill them as kebabs if you like. Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours
Ingredients:

  • Köfte
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced {reserve 1/2 tsp}
  • 1tbsp sumac powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying
  • For smoking
  • Piece of coal for smoking
  • Few drops of ghee
  • Betel leaf or small piece of aluminum foil
  • Gravy
  •  3 onions {1chopped, 2 minced}
  • 1tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp thick yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp coriander / dhania powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder

Method:

  1. Köfte
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the mince, onions, garlic, sumac, paprika, garam masala and salt.
  3. Heat the coal over an open flame until red hot. Make a hole in the mound of minced meat, cover with a pan/betel leaf or piece of aluminum foil. Put hot coal on the leaf, topped by the reserved half tsp of garlic paste. Quickly drizzle the few drops of melted ghee over, and immediately cover the sizzling coal with a small bowl /steel katori pressed into the mince. Cover the bowl with a heavy lid, and leave to smoke for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Now discard the coal and  betel leaf, hand mix in the chopped fresh coriander and mint, and make small meatballs/köfte.
  5. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy bottom pan, and gently fry the köfte over medium high flame until golden. Reserve in a covered bowl.
  6. Gravy
  7. In a bowl, mix the minced onions and all the ingredients for gravy, except chopped onion and velvetier.
  8. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and fry chopped onion until golden brown.
  9. Add the onion and masala mix. Add salt to taste and simmer covered until the masala is roasted and the oil leaves sides.
  10. Gently slide in the köfte one by one, stir gently to coat and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle over with velvetier if using.
  12. Serve hot with naan, parathas, rice etc, with a salad on the side.

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If you get a chance to travel through Turkey, do try to make a point of seeking out traditional food, and we don’t mean to stick only (pun intended) with their mouthwatering kebabs. They have a heritage of well over 1300 years of history and a long and storied tradition in the making of delicious, must-try Turkish dishes sourced from the best of local ingredients. Here are some typical Turkish dishes that you should make a point to sample when you are fortunate enough to drop by for a visit via last minute package holiday deals with the family. Holidays also allow you to put your feet up and relax while you enjoy the delicious local dishes and delicacies on offer:

6 Must Try Turkish Dishes

1. Lahmacun translates from its Arabic roots as dough with meat, coming originally from Syria. The meat is minced lamb or beef with chopped onions, that has been cooked and flavoured with spices, usually cinnamon, allspice and chilli, although each recipe will be someone’s family tradition. This is spread over a flaky, flat bread, similar to pizzas, but traditionally rolled up to eat on the move, long considered as one of the original fast food in Turkey.

2. Menemen is renowned by travelers throughout Turkey as a hearty, tasty meal that sets you up for the day. The base is chopped onions, peppers and tomatoes, simmered in a frying pan with some paprika and black pepper, topped with eggs, which are either cooked whole, or stirred into the dish. Another very budget-friendly Turkish comfort food.

3. Börek are all essentially a form of pie, with a filling wrapped in pastry, usually containing meat, cheese, potato or spinach, or a combination of one or more of these, and come in a variety of shapes and styles. There are various shops that sell the pies, but the best come from specialist Börek shops, which are worth seeking out for your first experience of this dish. Ask for the house specialty and you are sure not to be disappointed as their pride and reputation will be at stake.

4. Köfte are a type of kebab made by forming a delicious mix of minced meat and spices, typically lamb and cumin, on to skewers, before broiling them over an open flame. You will find these all over Turkey, which is always a good sign, where they are eaten served with pitta bread, or served with a salad or in a fresh tomato sauce.

5. Bulgur Pilavi is similar to a rice pilaf but made with bulgar (cracked) wheat instead, and is a typical central Anatolian dish. The grains themselves have a pleasant, nutty flavour, but they simply form the base for a wide variety of additional ingredients, most commonly onions, tomato, peppers and mint.

6. Dolmas refers to a style of dishes that are very popular throughout the country. Meaning in Turkish simply ‘stuffed’ they cover a range of vegetables with either a meat or vegetable filling. The meat ones tend to be served hot and the non-meat cold.

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10 Comments

  • This looks amazing Deeba, I am definitely going to try it.

  • 2 years ago

    That dish sounds incredibly delicious and looks mouthwatering! Great flavours.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • 2 years ago

    So beautiful to make simple looking Kofta look so delicious… and those mint twigs remind me I need to grow some of my herbs soon..

  • 2 years ago

    Just one look at this dish and I was drooling. I’ve been looking for a great kofta recipe for a while now. I must try this out sometime.
    Simply mouth-watering!!

  • You were totaly right about the Greek version. Indeed we use pork or beef or a 50-50% combination of the two previously mentioned type of meat. Hope you don’t mind writing some more details about it! The Greek name for them is Keftes (singular) and Keftedes (plural). The Greeks typically deep-fry them and eat them plain as they are, along with a side dish, usually salad. Keftedes… in my personal opinion are peoples’ favorite party or catering dish!!!
    Always looking forward to your new posts… Best regards, Krystallia

  • 2 years ago

    Thanks for the tip, on how to get the smoke flavour. I also like your lush mint …

  • 2 years ago

    What a gorgeous dish. I love the complexity of flavors! I hope you and yours are well!

  • 2 years ago

    Truly said, Turkish dishes incorporate well with Indian taste. Koftas are all time favorite food and love to have with butter naan.

  • 2 years ago

    Mouthwatering recipe, So rich, delicious and exotic! and incredible pictures have made it thousand times better. I love it.

  • 2 years ago

    surely giving this recipe a try! thank you for sharing 🙂
    PS: you are amazing with the food styling!

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