Fish kofta in ancho chilli and tomato sauce

Fish kofta in ancho chilli and tomato sauce … Source – Guardian Food Recipes
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There’s a bit of kick here, so if you’re not into heat, then leave out the green chillies in the sauce and in the kofta. Alternatively, some Greek yoghurt and plain rice will balance it all out. Get ahead by making the sauce in advance; its flavours will only intensify as it sits in the fridge overnight.

Prep 30 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Serves 4

For the kofta
500g firm white fish (such as cod), boned and skinned
4 spring onions, finely chopped (60g net weight)
10g dill, roughly chopped, plus extra picked leaves to serve
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1½ tsp lemon zest
1 egg, beaten
30g panko breadcrumbs
3 tbsp olive oil

For the tomato sauce
15g dried ancho chilli (about 1½ chillies), stem removed
2 tsp caraway seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped (150g)
60ml olive oil
1 green chilli, halved lengthways
1 tbsp tomato paste
3-4 plum tomatoes (400g), roughly grated and skins discarded (300g net weight)
300ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 tsp caster sugar
25g coriander, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper

First, make the sauce. Put the ancho chilli in a small bowl, cover with plenty of boiling water, and leave to soften for 20 minutes. Drain, discard the liquid, roughly chop the chilli then put in a food processor with two-thirds of the caraway and cumin, all the garlic, onion and two tablespoons of oil, and blitz into a coarse paste.

Add the remaining two tablespoons of oil to a large saute pan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ancho sauce, green chilli and tomato paste and cook for seven minutes, stirring often, until softened and fragrant. Add the grated tomatoes, stock, 200ml water, sugar, half the coriander, one and a quarter teaspoons of salt and a good grind of pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Keep warm on a low heat until needed.

Meanwhile, make the kofta. Chop the fish by hand into roughly ½-1cm pieces. Put in a large bowl with the spring onion, dill, chilli, lemon zest, egg, panko, remaining coriander, caraway and cumin, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and mix well to combine. Form into 12 round fish cakes, roughly 6-7cm in diameter and about 55g in size. Make sure you press and compact them well, so they stay together when frying.

Add one and a half-tablespoons of oil to a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add half the kofta and fry for five minutes, flipping halfway, until deeply golden on both sides. Transfer to a plate, then repeat with the remaining oil and kofta.

Bring the sauce back to a simmer on a medium-high heat. Add the kofta, turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside for about five minutes, top with the extra dill leaves and serve directly from the pan.