Indian cuisine was far more usual in my childhood diet than Italian. Of course, this quickly changed once I hit college, but prior to my noodle years, Indian feasts on Sunday afternoons weren’t entirely uncommon. My mom had a thing for curry, rice, and nutrition, and fortunately, all could easily be combined within many vegetarian Indian dishes.
This meal right here was by far one of my favorites that she’d make. As for this sauce, huge batches were always a summer tradition. This left a never-ending supply in the freezer to use over rice all the way through the winter. My high school boyfriend, on the other hand, was always begging me to load him up on tomatoes so that his Italian momma could make her version of sauce. I presume he had a never-ending supply to spoon over spaghetti through the winter. Regardless, the tomatoes in my garden made us both happy kids.
This sauce is incredibly flavorful for how simple it is to make. It’s the perfect topping for the kofta balls, which when cooked, obtain a perfectly crisped, golden shell to hold their soft interior. I could easily see this combination on a bun for a unique, vegetarian take on a meatball sub. Though, in my household, my mom will never stray from her beloved brown rice. Go for brown basmati if you can. Its nuttiness completes the meal.
Adapted from Flavors of India
- For the sauce:
- -4 cups ripe tomatoes, chopped
- -2 Tbsp. olive oil
- -1 cup finely chopped onion
- -2 cloves garlic, minced
- -1 Tbsp. ginger, finely grated
- -1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
- -1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
- -1/8 tsp. cayenne, or to taste
- -1 tsp. salt
- In a saucepan, heat oil and add onions. Sauté until soft, and then add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, and then stir in tomatoes.
- Add spices and salt. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reaches desired consistency.
- -1/2 cup extra firm tofu, crumbled and mashed
- -1/2 cup chickpeas, finely mashed or pulsed in food processor (you can mash tofu and chickpeas together in food processor, if convenient)
- -1/2 cup cornmeal
- -1/8 tsp. ajowan (if unavailable, try caraway seeds instead)
- -3 cloves garlic, minced
- -1 hot chile pepper, seeds and central core removed
- -1 tsp. salt
- -2 Tbsp. chopped parsley or cilantro
- -Olive oil, enough to coat bottom of pan 1/8 inch deep
- After preparing the tomato sauce, combine tofu and chickpeas in a mixing bowl. Add the cornmeal, ajowan, garlic, chiles, parsley/cilantro and salt.
- Knead briefly and form into compact, 1-1/2 inch balls.
- Heat oil in saucepan or wok. Fry the balls until they are golden on all sides. Remove from pan and place on paper towel. Top with sauce, and serve over rice.