After a full day of wandering around gaping at the intriguing sculpture laden temples of Khajuraho, India, we ended up in this nice restaurant just off the main street. The food was more expensive than what we usually would pay but boy was it worth it! The tandoori dishes were amazing, the korma to die for and the kulfi desserts almost made us cry. But what stole my heart was the vegetarian koftas. Crisp on the outside and melt in the mouth soft on the inside. Wonderful spices mixed with veggies and the nuts. To dip in a sweet yoghurt sauce. Heavenly! Hope you will enjoy these as much as I do!

Makes about 35 koftas

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh green chilli, thinly sliced
11/2 tbsp curry powder

2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
250g red lentils
600 ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
125g fresh breadcrumbs
90g unsalted cashew nuts, finely chopped
2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
1 egg
Salt and pepper
Garam masala

Preheat the oven to 175°C.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry onions, garlic, chili and curry powder for a few minutes. Add the carrots, celery and lentils. Gently cook for another couple of minutes while stirring. Add the stock and tomato paste. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft and the liquid is absorbed (you might have to add a bit of water if it cooks too quick).
Remove from heat and let cool a bit. You might want to use a hand mixer to break up any larger pieces of vegetables.
Add the breadcrumbs, cashews, coriander and egg. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool (and set) fora bout 30-45 minutes in the fridge.
Prepare a baking tray with a baking sheet.
Using your hands, shape the mixture into balls, standard meatball size should be ok. Place the balls on the baking tray. Sprinkle with the garam masala. Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden.

Raita
250g yoghurt (I use greek low-fat)
1-2 tbsp coriander, chopped
1-2 tbsp mango chutney

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Keep in the fridge until serving.

The kofta’s kan be eaten as a snack, as a pre-dinner item on a party, or as part of a main dish. We love them with a bit of rice and parathas.