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Eggplant Kofta (vegetarian "meatballs")

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

Deep-fried vegetarian "meatballs" are a common sight for north Indian cooking. They often have lentils, chickpeas, grains, and a variety of vegetables and spices. These are often paired with rich korma sauces and rice or naan. We first had these at an Indian-American wedding this fall and fell in love! It was hearty, warm, and rich - perfect for the coming winter months! We've lightened up this recipe by baking the balls and have made the base of the balls eggplant to pack in more veggies and fiber.

Serves 6


1 recipe of Coconut Korma

4 TB vegetable oil

~2 lbs eggplant (1 large Italian), diced into 1 inch cubes

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 TB ginger-garlic paste

2-4 Thai chilis (to taste), chopped

1/2 cup cilantro tightly packed

1/4 cup cashews, soaked

1 tsp ground cumin

1 TB ground coriander

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Warm the oil over medium heat and then add the cubed eggplant. Allow to cook slowly to get as much water out of the eggplants as possible. If it starts sticking to the pan spray with PAM.

3. Towards the end of cooking when you can sprinkle with salt to remove the residual water from the eggplant and continue to sauté. When the eggplant starts to caramelize add the ginger-garlic paste and Thai chilis (if desired).

4. Allow eggplant to cool.

5. Once cool, puree eggplant in a food processor with cashew butter, cilantro, cumin, and ground coriander. Add 1/3 of the panko to the processor and pulse. Continue until all of the panko is gone and the mixture is uniform and coming together.

6. Using your hands or two spoons form the kofta "meatballs" and place on a baking tray.

7. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes until a toasty brown on the outside.

8. Add the eggplant meatballs to your korma sauce and use a spoon to drape the sauce over them (don't mix the kofta too aggressively - they can come apart).

9. Garnish with fresh cilantro or toasted coconut flake and enjoy!

Special Diet Adaptations:

For Gluten Free: Replace panko breadcrumbs with a gluten-free breadcrumb.

For Keto: Replace the breadcrumbs with keto breadcrumb. (You may need to add more to ensure adequate liquid is soaked up.)

Nutrition Facts for Kofta only (approx.): 1 serving

Calories: 152

Total Fat: 7.3 g

Saturated Fat: 1.2 g

Sodium: 225 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 19.5 g

Added Sugar: 0 g

Dietary Fiber: 4.7 g

Total Protein: 4.0 g

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