Kanchkolar Kofta

A delicious dish of deep-fried goodness swimming in a rich sauce, this is kanchkolar kofta. Don’t let those deep-fried balls fool you, although it looks like it should be a no-no on every diet, kanchkolar kofta is actually a surprisingly healthy meal. Inside are the digestive benefits of ginger, cumin and garlic as well as those of green bananas. Yes, bananas.

What is it?

Kanchkolar kofta is a recipe of the Bengali people in India. Bengali food, especially their sweets, are known for their rich and diverse flavors. This particular dish combines fried balls made with various vegetables, meats and other ingredients.

What is Kofta?

Kofta is traditionally meat kababs that are eaten in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. They are most often made by shaping ground meat into small balls. Beef and lamb are common meats that are used for kofta.

The name kofta itself comes from a classic Persian word that means to grind. This refers to the manner in which the meat is prepared; ground with spices and seasonings. Once cooked, the tender flavorful kofta is served on skewers, atop flatbread or in a curried gravy or sauce. With kanchkolar kafta … it is the latter.

The technique for making kofta wasn’t originally part of Bengali cuisine. It came due to the influence of Persian invaders in the area.

Raw Bananas or Plantain

In Bengali, Kanch means raw while Kolar means banana. Thus, the kanchkolar of this dish is merely raw bananas. More specifically, raw green bananas. However, often cooks will use plantain instead as it is a similar consistency and taste.

Raw bananas are a common ingredient in Bengali cuisine. Rich in fiber, potassium and iron, raw bananas are loaded with health benefits. Kanchkolar kofta is an excellent way to take advantage of those benefits, even if you don’t like raw bananas.

Recipe & Prep

There are a number of different recipes for kanchkolar kofta. Different families often have their own unique take on the dish. Explore different recipes and find the one that works best for you. For now, the recipe below is a good place to start.

Recipe

Ingredients for the koftas:

  • 2 medium-sized Raw bananas
  • 2 tablespoons of Bengal Gram flour (besan)
  • 1 tablespoon of whole wheat flour (atta)
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon of Garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • A splash of oil
  • Oil for deep frying (several cups)

Ingredients for the gravy/sauce:

  • 2 medium-sized Potatoes
  • 4 Green cardamoms
  • 3 or 4 Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger paste
  • ½ teaspoon of Garlic paste
  • ½ teaspoon of Turmeric powder
  • ¾ teaspoons of Red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons of Oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Sugar
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

Dry roast the dry whole spices. Then dry grind these spices in a mixer to a coarse powder. Set aside in a bowl.

Wash the raw bananas. Pressure cook them along with the potatoes after peeling the skin of the bananas and the potatoes. Gently mash them together.

Add cumin powder, two to three teaspoons of masala powder and the gram flour. Mix everything together to make a smooth dough-like paste and then divide that dough into small balls for deep frying.

Next, follow the steps listed here to prepare the gravy/sauce.

Variations

The number of variations on Kofta dishes — both vegetarian and not — are as many as the possibilities. Kofta dishes are quite popular and widely used throughout Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Indian cuisines. Among the variations of kofta is malai kofta with potatoes and paneer, lauki kofta with squash and cabbage kofta.