The Colors of Indian Cooking

A Hollywood Screenwriter A Bollywood Kitchen

Kathy Gori

Kathy Gori
December 31
Screenwriter/Indian foodie
Kathy Gori has been cooking Indian food for 20 years. A screenwriter by trade, she works at home, so trading a hot keyboard for a hot stove is just a matter of a few steps. Kathy's obsession with Indian cooking began when her sister-in-law, who'd lived and worked in India, introduced her to the intricacies of the Indian kitchen. Thousands of hours and hundreds of dishes later, Kathy makes her own chutneys, grinds her own spices and enjoys exploring the various cuisines of the sub-continent. She has cooked for some of the Dalai Lama's monks, the Director of the Delhi Museum and President Clinton's California campaign staff. She's always learning and likes to share her knowledge and love of Indian cooking with others. In addition to her writing and cooking, Kathy was the voice of Rosemary the Telephone Operator in the series Hong Kong Phooey. She has voiced many films and commericals, winning a Cleo Award. She and her husband/writing partner Alan Berger live with their Siberian Husky Patsy in Sonoma. They are currently working on a project for producer Andrew Lazar (Get Smart) and most recently worked on the screenplay for Chaos Theory starring Ryan Reynolds.

Kathy Gori's Links

NOVEMBER 15, 2011 10:50PM

Yam Koftas, Gluten Free Holiday Party Poppers

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    Ready or not, the Holidays are coming. Like it or not, the Relatives are coming. Like it or not you are going to have to feed people who show up just once a year, give you a cheap plastic panini maker "As Seen On TV." It's handle falls off the first time you use it. Or a Slap Chop, "Loooka that thing go!" and in return They WILL Be Fed. They WILL Be Snacked and Liquored up. After all, isn't  that what Pizza sticks and Chicken Fingers and Hot Pockets were created for? Of course it is. And then they will move on. Not to be seen for another 12 months. Think of them as cicadas with presents.

   But when the smoke clears, and the turkey carcass has been turned to soup, and you grab a breather with your real friends on what the stores call "Black Friday" but we used to call "Left Over Thanksgiving," then the fun begins. The pressure of pleasing picky in-laws, argumentative aunts and all the rest of them is gone and it's time to kick back, relax and share the season's best with the people who've got your back on a daily basis.

   This is not a fancy night. This is not about table cloths and the good crystal. This is not about fine silver or sitting at the Kids' Table. This is about simple. This is about easy. After all, when you've spent the better part if the week, baking, stuffing and basting, complicated is not on the menu. We always have Friday Thanksgiving at our house. Exhausted friends gather bringing left overs. Wine and beer, halves of pie, pieces of cakes and cookies and we have fun. No pressure.

   Which is where these yam koftas come in. Yams and sweet potatoes are popular this time of year. They've got two things going for them. They're cheap and easy to find. Usually they're all tangled up with maple syrup or marshmallows or something like that. Yam Koftas take those good old Holiday favorites in quite a different direction. Yam koftas are a savory. In Indian cuisine, they're usually served similar to meatballs, in a spicy curry gravy. However I like to turn yam koftas into a cocktail snack, a finger food, something to sit around and dip into something cool or spicy while you swap crazy relative stories with your friends.

   When I said easy, I meant easy. What you see in the picture below is all you need to turn out a batch of these tasty treats. Yeah, it's that easy.

Here's what you need:

 2 Medium sized yams
 1/2 cup of frozen peas (defrosted)
 1 large chopped shallot
 1 finely chopped  and seeded serrano chili
 2 Tbs of chopped fresh cilantro
 1/2 tsp of sesame seeds
 1/2 tsp of salt
 A pinch of pepper
 2 Tbs of corn starch
 1/4 tsp of baking powder
   Contrary to what you might think about Indian food being complicated, these aren't. Chances are you have everything in your kitchen right now to whip up a batch of these.

Here's what to do:
    The first thing that needs to be done is to cook those yams. Now, you could bake them in the oven, which takes a while. Or you  could do what I did, which is gave them a fast microwave bake.
   Wash and dry the yams. Poke holes in them all over with a fork. Set them on a paper plate  and cook them one at a time in a microwave set on high for 2 minutes, then turn them over and cook them for another 2 minutes. When the yams are cooked, scoop out the yam meat and place it in a bowl.

   Go all medieval on it.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, grease a cookie sheet and set it aside.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the mashed yams.

Mix them all together.

Roll the kofta mix into small balls and set the balls on the greased cookie sheet.

Bake the koftas until they're nicely puffed and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
It's that easy.

   Serve the koftas with a nice dipping sauce, a chutney, a salsa or anything you might like. As I said, it's simple and easy after all the Thanksgiving fuss. Another great thing about these little treats... They're gluten free and vegan too, besides them being pretty dang tasty. Serve them along with the Pumpkin Koftas as a couple of great cocktail or appetizer snacks.

   Coming up next, the big Clay Pot Goat-a-palooza where once again the real and the virtual collide, including something different for this site... some banging holiday cocktails courtesy of @FoodAperture aka Phil From Mutineer Magazine.

   There's also a Giveaway courtesy of Tropical Traditions read all about it here. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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Does the chili cut down the sweetness of the sweet potato?
No, it doesn't, as there's not much chili used. These little poppers taste very much of sweet potato