Mamta's Kitchen

Vegetable Kofta Curry, Free From Onion, Garlic and Tomato

Sabji Kota Curry, Bina Pyaz, Tamatar Aur Lahsun Ki

Mamta Gupta


Not until the last 50 years or so, onions and tomatoes were used sparingly in the curries in India. Out of season vegetables like these, were not accessible or affordable to the masses. It is in my lifetime that onions have taken over in almost every Indian kitchen. Almost every ?curry? has onion and tomatoes these days. Even dals tend to have ?tarka? with onion and tomatoes these days. However, this is not really necessary. The curry sauce can be made richer by adding a tablespoon of ground almonds or cashews too.

Here I have given a simple vegetable Kofta curry, with onion, tomato free curry sauce or gravy, as we call it. The sauce has been thickened using a little bit of Besan (Bengal gram flour, often called chickpea flour). You can use plain flour or mashed potato with the same effect.

Serves 2


  • 6 Vegetable Koftas (3 per person) . You can have more, as per your requirements

  • For the curry sauce

  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • A pinch of asafoetida (optional). It gives nice flour to dishes cooked without onions.

  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seeds

  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)

  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika powder for colour and flavour

  • 1/2 tsp. or less salt - always add less salt to onion, tomato free curry masala than you think is required. You can add mre later, if needed.

  • 1 full tsp. grated or finely chopped ginger root (or use 1/2 tsp. ginger powder)

  • A small slice of lemon (adjust to taste)

  • 1/2 tsp. sugar, adjust to taste

  • Measure everything out in advance. Without onions and tomatoes, sices can burn very fast when added to hot oil.

  • Heat oil in a wok or a heavy bottomed pan.

  • Add cumin seeds and asafoetida, if using.

  • As soon as the seeds crackle, add ginger and fry for 10 -25 seconds.

  • Turn the heat down.

  • Add Besan and stir-fry until it darkens in colour and you get a nutty aroma.

  • Add all spices and salt and stir-fry quickly. Don’t let the spices burn.

  • Add 1 cup of water. Adjust amount to how thick you want your sauce to be.

  • Bring it to boil and simmer for a few minutes.

  • Taste and add lemon juice and sugar as required. This is to compensate the lack of onions and tomatoes in this dish.

  • Add the vegetable koftas, stir gently for a few seconds, turn the heat off.

  • Sprinkle Garam masala on top; close the lid, allowing flavours to infuse.

  • Serve hot with any Indian meal or simple with Plain Parathas.


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