Fusion of India and Crete: Potato-Cauliflower Curry and Meatballs

The other day I ran into (almost literally) into a huge pile of cauliflowers in the grocery shop and took one beautiful head home. Then I started feverishly to search for my good old potato-cauliflower curry recipe. It had been ages since I made it and could not remember where it was. Finally I found it. It was a newspaper clipping of the food section in Helsingin Sanomat (the Finnish national paper) on 24 April 1997.

Then I needed to decide how to flavour the meatballs I’d serve with the curry. It might not be the greatest idea to mix Indian with meatballs of pork and beef but went for it anyway. The first recipe I thought of was Tina Nordström’s, a Swedish TV cook, fabulous Greek meatballs with feta cheese and black olives. I did not have feta or olives so needed to make it simpler. Then I found another clipping (Anna magazine, July 2009 or 2010) with meatballs from Crete. The yoghurt sauce I serve with the meatballs is my own recipe.

These recipes are for four and it’ll take about an hour to prepare the meal. I’ve changed the original ones a bit – quantities (more cauliflower, more herbs, less meat), spices (dried mint, coriander seeds, dried thyme, frozen leaf parsley) and cooking times.

Yoghurt Sauce with Mint and Cucumber

1.5 dl natural yoghurt
2 tbsp dried mint
1 dl grated cucumber

  1. Grate the cucumber and drain the excess water. I do this in a coffee filter (that I do not use for coffee!).
  2. Mix all the ingredients and let the sauce draw while you make the meatballs.


Meatballs

1 slice of white bread
400 g minced meat (I use a mixture of pork and beef, the original uses lamb)
1/2 onion
1 garlic clove
3 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp oregano
rind of a lemon and a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice
salt and black pepper
olive oil

  1. Take the minced meat out of the fridge an hour before starting to cook.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 175 Celsius.
  3. Cut away the crust of the bread. Tear the slice into small pieces and put in a cup or a small plate. Cover with water.
  4. Chop the onion and the garlic. Sauté in olive oil for a couple of minutes.
  5. Press the excess water out of the bread and mix it into the minced meat in a large bowl. Add the onions, the lemon rind and juice, and the herbs.
  6. Work the meatball dough with your hands so that it will become smooth and nice. Flavour with salt and pepper. (Start making the curry at this point.)
  7. Make small meat balls. Moisten your hands with cold water so that the dough won’t stick to your hands.
  8. Fry the meatballs in a frying pan in olive oil. Fry until they are brown on the surface. Put the meatballs into an oven pan, cover them with aluminium foil and bake in oven for 15 minutes.

Potato-Cauliflower Curry

3 large potatoes
350 g cauliflower
2 tsp mustard seeds, crushed
2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
2 tsp curry
2 dried chillies
1/2 dl water
200 g green peas

  1. Peel and dice the potatoes. Clean and cut the cauliflower into small pieces.
  2. Fry the spices in a bit of oil in a large pan.
  3. Add the potatoes and cauliflower. Let them simmer on low heat for 25 minutes.
  4. Check the potatoes from time to time. Add some water after 15 minutes of simmering.
  5. Add the peas and cook for five minutes.
  6. Check the taste and add salt and pepper and curry or turmeric to taste.

The combination of the hot curry and the yoghurt sauce was delightful. Also, the meatballs matched the other tastes.
I’ll be interested in hearing what others think!

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