I don’t remember how old I was at the time but I think I was in grade four or five. Papa and I were arguing over a wrist watch. Well, me not having one wouldn’t have mattered much if Seema’s dad did not get her one. Seema, my classmate and “competition” at school. As usual she did something nice and her dad got her this watch. “Seriously, who buys a watch for a 5th grader? Well, loving dads of course,” I was thinking while also admiring hers that had a black and white dial and a golden circular rim around the edges. It looked fancy and her wrist nice, against my bare arm. So I went to Papa and demanded that I deserve a new shiny one too. Papa thought “deserve” was a big word but promised if I scored above some 80% marks in my final exams, then I can have one. Instantly I considered the watch mine! It was a sweet deal. All I had to do was to wait a few more months and just study. And boy, did I study that semester! I worked day and night, asked questions, found answers, did whatever I thought could take to score that watch, I mean 80% marks.
Exams went well. I felt good about it. Then the day of result approached. Like every results day, in the morning I woke up with a knot in my stomach although I was still confident. Took a shower, put on nice clean clothes mummy had put out for me, sat behind Papa on his scooter and went to school to see the results. My hand was sweaty the whole time Papa was holding it while my class teacher spoke about how I did. Then she handed over the report card to Papa. I stared at his face horrified while he opened the report card, smiled and said how proud he was while rubbing my head. He sure looked happy but all I cared about was the 80%. As I flipped the report card, I found out that I fell short by just a few numbers. Oh that hurt like an arrow straight to heart!
Off we went to our customary ice cream treat after a good result. This time even my favorite chocolate strawberry sundae tasted like mud but I gulped it down. Then we headed back home. No one spoke of the watch although someone still had some dying hopes in her heart. At home mummy was eagerly waiting for us with lunch ready. The house smelled like celebration as mummy had made lamb kofta. Lightly spiced meatballs, deep fried to give them a crispy, dark brown exterior still juicy and tender from inside. Served in a creamy masala sauce made it rich with cashew paste and some milk. Today that lunch would make up for any heart break. That day, not so much. But I still stuffed my face with whatever goodness came my way.
Packing for Las Vegas today. Excited to be receiving an award for the blog and Papa feels I should use the word “deserve” this time. That makes it more exciting. Still the mind keeps wandering back to two things. The watch that Papa did buy me eventually, a consolation I suppose. And to Mummy’s lamb kofta, which warms your heart and can brighten up any day. I made some to share with you today before hopping on that plane.
1/2 lb ground lamb
1 medium size potato (boiled, peeled, mashed)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (coarsely crushed)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (coarsely crushed)
1/4 cup onion (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1 1/2 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 whole green cardamom
2-3 whole black cardamom
1 dry bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoon cashews
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
2-3 thai green chili
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon Kashmiri Lal Mirch (for color mainly)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I usually substitute it with 2 tablespoon cream cheese. It works surprisingly well)
3-4 tablespoon cooking oil
Pre heat the oven to 375deg. F.
Mix all the ingredients of kofta well together. About a tablespoon each in size roll it into balls.
Line on an oiled baking sheet. Place in the oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
Traditionally the koftas are deep fried in oil. Can then either be served with a dip as an appetizer or dipped in a rich curry.
While the koftas are baking coarsely grind the first seven spices either using a mortar pestle or in your spice grinder. Set aside.
Soak cashews and pumpkin seeds in milk until they are soft enough to be turned to paste. Atleast 1 hr. Blend into a smooth paste. Set aside.
Grind onion, ginger, garlic and green chili together into a paste. Set aside.
Heat oil in a thick bottom pan. Add ground spices. As they sputter add the prepared onion paste. Stir well.
Cook on medium heat until all the liquid is evaporated and the paste turns light golden. 8-10 minutes.
Add salt, sugar and turmeric. Mix well.
Reduce the heat to medium low. Add garam masala and Kashmiri Lal Mirch.
Stir in cashew and pumpkin seeds paste. Stir well. Cook for a minute.
Add heavy cream. Mix well. At this point you can add upto 1 1/2 cups of water depending how thick you want the curry to be.
On a medium heat bring the curry to a boil.
Transfer the koftas to the curry. Stir to cover in sauce. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 3-5 minutes for the koftas to adsorb some goodness of the curry.
Turn off heat. Serve with choice of hot naan or rice.