There are a few staples on the Parwana menu that never change: mantu, steamed dumplings stuffed with veggies and drizzled with mint sauce and garlic yoghurt; kabuli palaw, a vibrant rice dish topped with carrot, sultanas and nuts; and banjan borani, a signature serving of eggplant in tomato sauce with swirls of that aforementioned garlic yoghurt.
Others, like the lamb kofta, are a rarer treat. Served only on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the meatballs are simmered in a rich tomato and garlic sauce and garnished with fresh coriander. It’s a “very traditional dish,” says chef Farida Ayubi. “I remember it from when I was a small girl.”
She’s passed those memories on to her daughter, Durkhanai, who runs sister site Kutchi Deli. “Everything at our restaurant is stuff we grew up with,” says Durkhanai. The kofta is a staple in the Ayubi household. “The use of fresh herbs and the fresh tomato [means] it’s not very heavy. It’s still quite light and fragrant.”
Can’t get to Parwana on a Wednesday or Thursday night? Now you can enjoy these at home.
Kofta (lamb meatballs)
1kg lamb mince
1 large brown onion
2 fresh chillis
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh coriander
1tsp dry coriander
2 tsp salt
½tsp black pepper
1 brown onion
Oil for frying
3-4 garlic cloves (optional)
Mix roughly chopped onion, garlic, fresh coriander and chilli, and dry coriander in a food processor to cut to medium-sized chunks.
Add this mixture to the lamb mince, and add the salt and black pepper. Combine this mixture well by hand, until the consistency is slightly sticky and all ingredients have mixed through.
Bring a pot with water to boil to place the meatballs in once prepared in the next step.
Hand roll the mixture into ping-pong-sized balls and place in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Set to one side – do not drain yet, as water will be used for the sauce.
Place oil in a pan on medium heat and add finely chopped onion. Allow onion to lightly brown and add diced tomatoes. Add salt and turmeric and fry until tomatoes are soft.
Add 2 to 3 cups of water from the pot the meatballs boiled in and bring the sauce to boil once again. Whole peeled garlic cloves can be added to the sauce at this point, if desired.
Once boiling for a few minutes, leave the sauce and meatballs on low to medium heat for around 12 to 15 minutes to give time for the sauce to thicken.
Serve in a bowl, add yellow split lentils (if desired) and garnish with fresh coriander leaves or herb of choice.