Happy Mother's Day to all of you dedicated mothers and grandmothers! Last weekend a crew of wonderful women who came to the Punjabi cooking class helped me to finalize a recipe that I'd been working on for awhile. It's a fantasy dish literally "dreamed up." Who knows, maybe I had it at the court of Akbar, the great Moghul emperor. (I believe he was a vegetarian.)

Lindy pours saffron sauce over the Koomban Koftay:

Cathe, Renee and Helene make phulkas:

Here goes. Hope you give me some feedback on this!

Mushroom Croquettes in Saffron Sauce (dairy/egg) Koombahn Koftay
Yield: 16 pieces/ 2 cups sauce (8 servings)

This recipe is food for the gods! Or for friends and family you wish to treat like royalty. The baked koftay are slightly crunchy on the outside, soft in the center. The sauce is a Moghlai cuisine specialty.

Both sections of this recipe may be made ahead, refrigerated and then warmed before serving. Guests pour the sauce over their croquettes, that way their delicacy is preserved. 

For the croquettes:
10 slices day-old whole-wheat bread, lightly toasted
5 dried porcini mushrooms, stems discarded, and rinsed (optional)
3 tablespoons ghee or canola oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, grated
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, very finely chopped (or coarsely ground)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garam masala, or more to taste
Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 lightly beaten, extra-large egg
Spread out the toast to air dry as you continue this recipe. Boil a cup of water and pour over the dried mushrooms in a cup. Cover the cup. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large wok, sauté the onions over med. low heat until transparent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until just golden. Add the salt, pepper, garam masala, and nutmeg. Stir in the carrots. Cover. Begin tearing the whole –wheat toast into the smallest pieces you can manage without making crumbs. When you are halfway through, add the mushrooms to the carrots. Cover. Finish tearing the toast.
Grind the porcini mushrooms in their liquid and stir into the rest of the mushroom mixture. Stir in the toast pieces. Fold in the beaten egg and mix well. Cool.
Grease a large cookie sheet. Measure 1/4 cup of mixture to get an idea of how big the croquettes should be. Check if the mixture holds together. If not, add a little vegetable broth. Place a bowl of warm water next to you and dip two soup spoons into the water. Form the ¼ cup of mixture into an egg shape between the spoons and put into a corner of the cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Ovals may be close, but not touching each other. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn carefully with a spatula and bake for 10 minutes more. Serve immediately with the warm sauce or refrigerate.       

For the sauce:
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon boiling water
3 tablespoons white poppy seeds or ¼ cup more, unsalted cashews
½ cup unsalted cashews
1 tablespoon ghee
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg or mace
Pinch of ground green cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1½ cups vegetable broth, or more
½ cup cream or half and half

In a small, dry pan heat the saffron for 1 minute. Pulverize between your fingers, and then put it into a small ramekin with the boiling water. Soak the poppy seeds or extra cashews for 15 minutes in just enough boiling water to cover. Pulverize the poppy seeds in a mortar. Grind the cashews.

In a medium saucepan, melt the ghee and add the seeds and nuts. Heat but do not brown. Stir in the nutmeg, salt, and saffron mixture and then the broth and cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until the sauce reduces enough to begin to coat a spoon, but do not allow it to boil. Remove from the heat and pour into a gravy boat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. This sauce can be refrigerated and then reheated. Add more broth after reheating, if too thick.