(South Indian- style Meatballs)
Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Serves : 2
With another transfer came another round of packing, unpacking and setting up a house in a new place. In the last five years, I have had to do this as many times and so, I'm becoming an expert in packing and also in settling down in any place within 2-3 days! Having to get a grasp of things in a new assignment, my hands are full on both the home and work fronts. And in the process, poor bloggie got neglected... But here I am, back with a yummy traditional South Indian dish with a new twist!Among non-vegetarian food, mutton always had the least preference back at my home. Even today, my sister hardly touches it :) She simply hates the stronger flavor and stringier texture it has compared to chicken and fish. Though it is better to have white meat compared to red meat, mom always tried to encourage us into trying new dishes and to have variety on the table. Also, she simply turned it more nutritious and tasty in a single stroke... So, this new twist into the traditional kola urundai was her invention targeted at coaxing us into liking mutton. Well, I got converted, I must say :)
Many versions of this recipe exists just like for any traditional dish. Some prefer adding onions, others keep the spice level higher with cloves, red chillies, etc included and many others use an egg for binding the meat together. But I guess this is one of the simplest versions with the least number of ingredients and least number of steps. So, here goes.
Boneless mutton - 150 gm, cut into small chunks
Soya nuggets/chunks - 100 gm - my mother's replacement for an equal quantity of mutton :-)
Roasted chana - 50 gm (called pottukadalai in tamil, bhoona chana in hindi, unsalted)
Ginger - a 1inch x inch piece
Green chillies - 4-5
Fennel seeds/ saunf - 1 heaped tbsp
Coriander leaves - 3-4 sprigs, finely chopped
Salt - to taste
Refined oil - 100 ml (for deep frying)
Boil 2-3 cups of water. Add the soya nuggets to boiling water and put off the flame. Keep covered for 3-4 minutes. Then drain the water, let the chunks cool and press to remove the absorbed water. To your mixer jar, add the mutton pieces, pressed soya nuggets, roasted chana, ginger, green chillies, salt and saunf. Grind to a smooth paste using only a tiny sprinkling of water if necessary. To the paste, add finely chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Form into small balls and deep fry in hot oil in batches. Serve hot with rice and mutton kuzhambu Or with biriyani and raita. But the best combo that most of us Southies go by is with the simple rasam and hot rice.. yumm!
(1. Some people prefer to cook the mutton by dry frying in a tbsp or so of oil before grinding to ensure the balls get cooked well right to the centre. But I've never felt it the slightest bit undercooked when the balls are deep fried in hot oil at medium flame with frequently turning them around using a slotted ladle.
2. You could also refrigerate the ground paste in an airtight container. But use within a day or two.
3. Alternative method: You could add cloves, cinnamon, khus khus, onions, red chillies, coconut etc while frying the mutton before grinding with the rest of the ingredients. It's all up to how you like it!
4. In case the balls do not hold up, just add a tbsp more of roasted chana powder. You can do this to bind any such deep-fried goodie.
5. For a vegetarian version, you could use skinned, boiled and roughly mashed yam(karunaikizhangu/sooran) or colocasia(cheppangkizhangu/arbi) in the place of mutton and soya. Just grind the rest of the ingredients and add the mashed tubers )