We had guests for dinner on Saturday night, so I wanted to whip up something extra tasty. I wasn't feeling particularly inspired in the cooking department on Saturday, so I turned to my cookbooks for a bit of help. I pulled down the Cafe Paradiso Cookbook; I hadn't cracked it in years, and wanted to refresh my memory a bit.
This particular Cafe Paradiso (I'm sure there are many cafes that go by that name) is a well-known vegetarian restaurant in Cork, Ireland. And though I lived in Ireland for several years...sadly, I never ate there. It seemed that on the few occasions that we happened to be in Cork city, we were in omni company that "poo-pooed" the idea. Oh well...there's still time.
The recipes in this book generally lean towards dairy, but all in all, most of them are pretty veganizable. I chose this recipe because I had made it once before and knew it was yummy. The recipe calls for yogurt, so I used coconut milk yogurt in place of the dairy kind.
Without disclosing too much, the kofta are a mixture of chickpea flour (aka gram flour) and coconut yogurt (or whatever kind you want to use), with pistachios, chilis (I used jalapeños), and various spices. This makes a wet batter that you shape into balls and deep fry. You could potentially add any combo of nuts, veggies, and spices to the gram flour/yogurt base.
The kofta are the three balls around the outside in the photo:
The tomato-coconut sauce is delicious. It's basically a curried sauce with tomatoes and coconut. The flavors go perfectly with the kofta. The recipe in the book calls for serving this with cardamom-lime pancakes, but I opted for a lentil and bulgher wheat pilaf sort of thing (middle). Turnip greens and fresh tomato garnish the sides. You could use any leafy green in place of the turnip greens...kale or chard would be nice.