This is a rich dish, suitable for parties or special occasions. The fried vegetable balls will loose their crispness, so fry just before serving. When serving, put a few kofta balls on a plate, and then spoon the sauce over the balls.
First make up the sauce (gravy) for the kofta. Put 1/4 cup of the cashews (or slivered almonds would also work) into a spice grinder and powder. Repeat with the rest of the nuts. Put the powdered nuts into a cereal bowl and set aside.
In a large nonstick frying pan put 2 Table. oil and 2 Table. of butter ( or ghee-which is clarified butter). Heat over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the hing and the powdered nuts, and stir to blend.
If the nuts are not already toasted/roasted, cook them for a couple of minutes until they darken a few shades, otherwise, skip this step.
Add 2 cups tomato puree (or in a bind you can use tomato sauce). Cook for about 5 minutes. If using fresh pureed tomatoes, you should cook the sauce about 10 minutes.
Stir in the sugar, salt, turmeric, garam masala and cayenne powder. Reduce heat to low and cook 3 more minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the 1 cup cream. Put the sauce back on the heat and cook another minute or two to just heat the sauce, but do not let it boil. Check for salt. Garnish with fresh minced cilantro.
This sauce can be made earlier in the day or even the day before if it is refrigerated. The sauce will thicken, so will need to be thinned out when reheating.
Make the kofta. To begin, put 4 cups mashed potatoes into a large mixing bowl. The potatoes need to be somewhat dry. You can also use instant mashed potatoes that you have made up on the dry side.
Stir 1 Table. butter or ghee into the potatoes.
Meanwhile, steam the small cauliflower florets and the 1/2 grated carrot until the cauliflower is soft. Drain and roughly mash up the cauliflower until it is in little pieces. Add to the potatoes. Add 1/4 cup frozen peas, 1/4 cup cooked corn kernals (optional, but tastes good), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ginger paste, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and salt to taste. Stir gently, but until everything is well mixed.
Take 12 cashews and roughly break them into pieces with your hands and add to the vegetable mixture. Add fresh minced cilantro and 3-4 Table. chickpea flour or all-purpose flour to bind. Mix. Check for salt. If the mixture isn't dry enough, add more flour.
Form the potato mixture into golf-size balls. Set aside for a while, if desired, covered with plastic, or make up right away.
When ready to fry the vegetable balls, in a medium-size saucepan put oil for deep frying and heat the oil over medium-high heat for about 10-12 minutes. When the oil is hot, carefully add 4-5 of the balls and quickly brown them. The inside of the balls are already cooked, so you are just browning the outside. Cook quickly. Don't add too many balls, or the temperature of the oil will reduce too much and the balls might start dissolving. Drain on paper towel. Repeat with the rest of the balls.
To serve: put a few of the balls on the plate and spoon the sauce (gravy) over the top.
Many people like to eat vegetarian kofta balls with just potatoes and grated paneer cheese. I like the texture when using the vegetables. If you want to add some paneer cheese to the mixture, reduce the amount of potatoes by one cup, and replace it with one cup of grated paneer cheese. The word kofta usually means ball shaped, and can be either vegetables, meat or even ball shaped sweet desserts.
If the kofta balls start breaking apart while frying, you can try several tricks: 1. Increase the heat of the oil; 2. Add more chickpea flour to the balls to make them more dry; 3. Dip the balls in a batter of chickpea flour, water, salt, a dash of cayenne and a dash of ground cumin (optional) and then fry; 4. Put the kofta under the broiler to lightly brown instead of frying.