This is a very good vegetarian main course, and easy enough to put together – an ideal dish that allows for better appreciation of colours, flavours and textures.
- 250g grated cottage cheese
- 2 large boiled potatoes, grated
- 100g spinach leaves washed, dried and shredded
- 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger; peeled and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ajowan seeds
For the batter coating
- 50g (chickpea) flour
- ¼ teaspoon ajowan seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 70ml water
- 150g spinach leaves cleaned, dried and shredded
- oil for frying dumpling
For the sauce
- 6 large tomatoes
- 100ml water
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and crushed
- 3 lime leaves, torn
- ½ lemongrass stalk, outer layer removed and bruised
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 2 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 50ml coconut milk
- ¼ teaspoon Kadhai Masala
- ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 quantity of lemon rice
First make the dumplings. Mix in all the ingredients for the dumpling to form a smooth dough. Divide the mixture into 12 individual balls, the size of golf balls.
For the batter coating, make a smooth batter with the gram flour, ajowan, salt and water. Place the shredded spinach in a tray. Dip the balls in the batter and roll them in the spinach to form a good overall coating. The dumplings are now ready for frying. When you are ready to serve, deep-fry the dumplings at 180°C degrees for about 1½ minutes until crisp and golden green.
For the sauce, wash and cut the tomatoes in half, place them in a heavy-based pan on a medium-high heat and, as they soften, pour in water, add the garlic, crushed ginger, lime leaves, lemongrass and the whole spices and boil until the tomatoes have disintegrated. Add the bay leaf, salt and red chilli powder and cook for a couple of minutes, then pass the tomatoes through a sieve to get a fine tomato purée.
Bring the purée back to the boil, add the coconut milk, stirring constantly and, when the sauce turns glossy, add the kadhai masala and sprinkle in the garam masala powder. Check the seasoning and add sugar if required (sugar helps to balance the sourness of the tomatoes).
Divide the rice between 4 serving plates and serve with the spinach dumplings and the sauce poured around.