These fried Indian vegetable balls in a fragrant coconut sauce are one of the most delectable Indian dishes. They are somewhat time-consuming but worth it.

SERVES 4 TO 6

1 cup frozen peas, thawed and mashed

2 large potatoes, peeled, boiled, and mashed

2 medium carrots, finely diced and cooked

2 slices good-quality white bread, moistened with water, squeezed very dry and crumbled

1 tablespoon ground coriander

ВЅ teaspoon turmeric

Вј teaspoon ground cumin

Вј teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons sugar

Вѕ teaspoon salt

Flour for dusting

Oil for frying

SAUCE

Вј cup Ghee or butter

1 medium onion, minced

1ВЅ teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

ВЅ teaspoon ground cardamom

ВЅ teaspoon turmeric

1ВЅ teaspoons ground coriander

1ВЅ teaspoons ground cumin

Вј teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 largeВ tomatoimage, peeled, seeded, and chopped

2ВЅ cupsВ coconut milkimage

ВЅ teaspoon salt

  1. To make the koftas: Combine the mashed peas, mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, moistened bread, and all of the flavorings in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Place some flour on a plate in front of you. One by one form the mixture into 1ВЅ-inch balls, then roll in the flour to coat.
  3. Pour enough oil into a large skillet to reach ВЅ inch up the sides of the pan. Heat the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Fry the balls, turning them often, until they are golden brown and very crisp on the outside. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Discard the oil.
  4. To make the sauce: In the same skillet heat the ghee or butter. When hot add the onion and all of the spices, and saut for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato and stir to blend. Add the coconut milk and salt, stir, and boil the mixture for 3 minutes. May be prepared to this point in advance; cook within 8 hours. Chill the sauce and koftas separately.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350В°F. Place the koftas in a large shallow baking dish and pour the sauce over them. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Alternatively, add the koftas to the sauce in the skillet and cook together, covered, on top of the stove for 20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.