(Nargisi kofta)

Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour

Servings: 4-6

7 ounces white rice
6 medium-size potatoes
1 ¾ teaspoons salt
6 ounces panir
8 ounces chickpea flour
1 teaspoon black cumin seeds (optional)
10 saffron strands or ¼ teaspoon powdered saffron
2 tablespoons warm milk
12 ounces whole spinach leaves, with stems removed
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon asafetida ghee or vegetable oil for deep-frying

1. Steam the rice in twice its volume of water for about 18 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Drain and set aside. Boil the potatoes until they are tender; then peel them. Mix ½ teaspoon of salt into the panir and knead it into a soft dough. Cover the panir with a moist cloth and set aside. Combine the chickpea flour and black cumin seeds in a bowl. Mix with enough water to make a smooth batter. Let stand.

2. Steep the saffron in the warm milk; then mix it well with the cooked rice. Wilt the spinach by plunging it into boiling water for a minute; let it drain. Mix the spinach with the black pepper and ¼ teaspoon of salt and set it aside. To the potatoes add thegaram masala, turmeric, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of asafetida. Mash into a smooth paste.

3. Divide the rice, the panir, the spinach, and the potato mixture into six parts each. Take one part of the rice in your hands and roll it into a compact ball. Flatten one part of the panir dough into a round shape in the palm of your hand and put the ball of rice in the center of it. Bring up the edges to completely cover the ball; then roll it between your palms to make it smooth. Cover the ball with a layer or two of unraveled spinach leaves and a layer of the potato mixture. Make the ball compact and smooth by tossing it gently from one hand to the other.

4. When several balls are ready, beat the batter and pour some over each one. Then put them in smoking hot ghee. Turn often to keep from burning. Fry until browned all over. Remove and offer to Krsna.