malai kofta recipe, how to make malai kofta | malai kofta curry

malai kofta recipe

malai kofta recipe with step by step photos. malai kofta is a popular as well as most sought after vegetarian indian dish in restaurants.

malai means cream and kofta are fried dumpling balls. usually they are made up of mashed potatoes-veggies, with or without grated paneer. other kofta gravy recipes on the blog are cabbage kofta curry and lauki kofta recipe.

in this malai kofta recipe the koftas are made with potatoes and paneer. these melt in the mouth koftas are dunked in a creamy, sweet and mildly spiced curry.

to make any paneer dish its always better to make paneer at home. if you have time then check this method to make paneer at stove top. or if you are in hurry then you can also make paneer in microwave. i personally prefer the stove top method of making paneer as its more healthy than making paneer in microwave.

there are many variations of the malai kofta curry recipe. here the curry is made from ground cashew paste, onion paste and tomato puree. i have not used cream in this recipe. for the garnish you can use cream if you prefer.

the cashew paste, makes the curry creamy, so need to add cream. you can also use soaked almonds instead of cashews or both soaked almonds and cashews.

i have already shared the aloo paneer kofta recipe just a few days back. you can make stuffed koftas they way i made them for snacks or make them the way i have shown here. in this version, the koftas are not stuffed with dry fruits.

malai kofta recipe

malai kofta is best served with tandoori naan, garlic naan or tandoori rotis. even steamed basmati rice or jeera rice goes well with it. i served with phulkas.

the gravy or curry can be kept white or colored red or brown by using spice powders and tomato puree. both ways the malai kofta tastes good.

the recipe below will make 6-7 koftas with a curry for 3-4 people. let me tell you that malai kofta is a heavy meal. so even 2 koftas would be enough per serving.

long time back i had come across an interesting youtube video by chef harpal sokhi on malai kofta. i had then decided than whenever i write a post on malai kofta recipe, i will share chef’s video on the post. so here it is. i have not tried this version, but just looking at the ingredients and the way chef is making them, i am sure the malai kofta curry is bound to be good.

if you are looking for more paneer recipes then do check paneer butter masala, shahi paneer, palak paneer, matar paneer, paneer makhani, achari paneer, paneer 65 and kadai paneer.

malai kofta curry recipe below:

4.6 from 33 reviews
malai kofta recipe
malai kofta - potato and paneer koftas in a creamy, rich, mild and lightly sweet gravy.
CUISINE: indian, north indian
SERVES: 3-4 servings
INGREDIENTS (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
for the kofta:
  • 100 gms paneer/cottage cheese, grated
  • 2 medium size potatoes, boiled, peeled and grated
  • ¼ tsp red chili powder/lal mirch powder
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • a pinch or ¼ tsp garam masala
  • ¾ tbsp almond flour or ¾ tbsp milk powder or ¾ tbsp khoya/evaporated milk
  • salt as required
for the gravy/curry:
  • ½ cup onion paste, about 2 medium to large onions, pureed
  • 1 cup tomato puree, about 2 large tomatoes pureed
  • ¼ cup cashew paste, 12 to 15 cashews soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and then blended to a smooth paste
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¾ tsp red chili powder/lal mirch powder
  • 1 inch ginger/adrak - 4-5 garlic cloves/lahsun - made in to a fine paste in a mortar-pestle
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves
  • salt as required
  • sugar as required (optional)
  • oil for shallow or deep frying the koftas
whole spices/garam masala
  • 1 bay leaf/tej patta
  • 1 inch cinnamon/dal chini
  • 1 or 2 black cardamom/badi elaichi
  • 2-3 green cardamom/hari elaichi or choti elaichi
  • a pinch of mace/jayitri
  • 2-3 cloves/laung
for garnish:
  • 1 tbsp grated paneer
  • 1 or 2 tbsp cream
  • a few chopped coriander leaves/dhania patta
  1. mix all the ingredients mentioned under kofta ingredient list except oil in a bowl.
  2. make medium sized balls and fry the koftas in medium hot oil till golden.
  3. keep aside.
  4. remove extra oil from the same pan and keep about 1 or 1.5 tbsp oil.
  5. add all the whole spices and fry till the oil becomes fragrant.
  6. first add the onion paste and brown it.
  7. now add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for some seconds till the raw aroma of the paste goes away.
  8. add the tomato puree and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  9. add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder and cashew paste.
  10. stir and saute till the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala paste. add water and stir.
  11. simmer till the gravy begins to thicken. takes approx 11-12 minutes on a low flame.
  12. towards the end add crushed kasuri methi leaves and salt.
  13. you can also add sugar if you want a light sweet taste in the curry. simmer for 1-2 minutes more.
  14. add the koftas in the curry if serving immediately or you can also add the curry first in the serving plate or bowl and then place the koftas.
  15. garnish the malai kofta with some cream, grated paneer and coriander leaves.
  16. serve malai kofta hot with rotis, naan, steamed basmati rice or jeera rice.

step by step malai kofta curry recipe:

a: preparing the koftas –

1: take all the ingredients for the kofta except oil in a bowl.

kofta ingredients

2: mix really well. the paneer and potatoes would both get mashed up in the process of mixing. shape them into medium sized balls. you can stuff them with dry fruits as shown here.

shape the kofta

3: also prepare the cashew paste, onion paste and tomato puree. for preparing so many pastes and purees i always use magic bullet. its quick unlike a chutney grinder and very easy to clean.

pastes for malai kofta

4: heat oil for shallow or deep frying. i always shallow fry. add the koftas and fry them till golden on both sides.

frying the malai kofta

5: fry all the koftas this way and drain them on a paper napkins so that the extra oil is absorbed.

frying malai koftas

b: preparing the malai kofta curry –

6: remove extra oil from the same pan and keep about 1 or 1.5 tbsp oil. add the whole spices and fry them till they release their aroma in the oil.

spices for malai kofta

7: add the onion paste.

frying kofta onion paste

8. fry the onion paste till it gets browned. then add ginger-garlic paste or crushed ginger-garlic.

ginger garlic paste for malai kofta

9. add the tomato puree and saute for 2-3 minutes,

add tomato puree for malai kofta

10. now add all the dry spice powders and cashew paste.

dry spice powders for malai kofta recipe

11. stir and saute till till the oil starts to leave the side of the masala paste. this will take approx 9-10 minutes on a low flame.

stir malai kofta paste

12. add water and stir. simmer till the gravy becomes thick and creamy. malai kofta gravy is usually smooth, creamy and slightly thick. you can keep it medium consistency also… they way i have done.

malai kofta gravy

13. add crushed kasuri methi and salt. simmer for 1-2 minutes more.

add kasuri methi to malai kofta gravy

14. lastly add the fried koftas. if serving malai kofta later, you can just prepare the gravy and add koftas while serving. these koftas are really soft. so if you add them before and serve them later, they will break. since i was serving immediately, i added them to the gravy.

malai kofta recipe

14: garnish malai kofta with coriander leaves and serve the malai kofta with rotis, naan, phulka or chapatis.

malai kofta

{ 162 Responses }

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  1. Anshul says

    I tried this awesome recipe, turned out to be great! 😀
    I have to make this again but I’m out of cashew nuts is there any alternative I could use? :)

    • says

      the kofta mixture did not bind well, thats why they broke. some more corn starch added in the mixture would have helped in binding the mixture and the koftas would have not broken. whenever you fry anything like a kofta or patties, then always test with a small kofta or patty. if the small kofta does not break while frying, then its safe to fry the remaining batches too. also the oil should be hot. if the oil is not hot, the koftas will absorb more oil. they become soggy and break.

  2. Vibhu Kapoor says

    Excellent recipe. My 2 cents to people who try this

    1. Make sure you make a proper paste of cahew/almonds as they dont look very good raw in mouth
    2. For making tomato puree, boil tomoatoes and then peel them off. Or else the skin comes in your mouth
    3. In the kofta mix, i added some dry roasted spinach and cabbage (optional)

  3. Georgia says

    Hi! I’m very excited to try this recipe for tonight’s dinner! I was just wondering about the amount of turmeric used – I can’t seem to find it on the ingredients list. Thank you!

  4. Harsha Pathak says

    Hi Dassana,

    Very good recipe and I tried this, it turned out fine. But only problem I faced frying the koftas they were breaking up while frying. Khoya and Paneer got scattered in the pan. Could you suggest why it might have happened? Is it because quantity of potato should be more? Please suggest!

    • says

      thanks harsha. it needs more binding agent. you can either increase the quantity of potatoes or add some more corn starch. possibly there must be lot of moisture in the khoya.

  5. Deepika says

    Excellent stuff. I will try it soon.

    BTW… I cooked baigan burta following your instructions and trust me, it was delicious. Thank you :)

  6. Rimi Chatterjee says

    I tried this recipe…and my family just loved it. I too kept licking my fingers. Although i have a question about ur veg biriyani recipe.
    The place where i live its difficult to find dried star anise, is there any replacement? Or can i omit it?

  7. Maria says

    Mine were a bit bland. I did not put the fenugreek leaves, it does makes a difference in the result?
    I was wondering if the potatoes i used were to big in proportion with the amount of cheese. When i fried them they hold together.
    And the garam masala i used was the one from the store because i don’t black
    Cardamoms and jayitri.
    If i omit the chillies because spicy food irritates my stomach (i have IBS) would change the result in the recipe?

    I am a bit disappointed with the result.:(:(

    • says

      the recipe is not bland. did you omit the red chili powder. also did you skip the whole garam masala spices and just added garam masala powder. its very not clear from your comment. when store brought garam masala is added, you need to add more as they are not strongly flavored like homemade ones. when using store brought garam masala you can easily use from 1/2 to 1 tsp. fenugreek leaves do give a nice flavor to the dish. omitting chilies in any recipe will change the final result.

  8. harpreet says

    Hi… i had problem while frying koftas.. it turned out to be very soft and raw from inside… it also sticked while frying.. what should i do?

    • says

      the sticking was as the oil was not hot enough or the kadai or pan was not seasoned well (meaning used often for frying). thats also the reason the koftas were raw from inside as they did not cook well enough. just pan fry them like aloo tikkis instead of deep frying the. that should solve the problem.

  9. distelfliege says

    I stuffed them with almonds and raisins, and made them a little bit smaller. I got 12 small ones instead of 6 big ones.
    so tasty, thank you very much for sharing this recipe.

  10. Kk says

    Hi, i just tried this recipe…. Awsm. Love the clarity of instructions nd ingredients explained… I will be following this site for my recipes. Cant believe malai koftas are so easy to cook…… Thanks dassana…. U r the best.

  11. ruchika says

    Tried tawa pulai and kofta curry and out turned out really well..thanks a lot for sharing such wonderful recipes

    • says

      thanks. you will have to heat the milk. once it cools, collect the malai or cream floating on top in a bowl or box and keep in the freezer. collect the floating cream every time when you get fresh milk. use your own mathematics and when you get a good bowl of malai. defrost it for some hours. then add in a blender or stand mixer. whip up till the malai becomes smooth and flowing. collect this cream in a bowl and refrigerate.

  12. Deepti says

    Hi Dassana! I have tried quite a variety of the recipes you have posted here. Cabbage matar Sabzi, stuffed Simla mirch, gobhi ke danthal ki Sabzi, mint yoghurt chutney, garlic naan, Achari paneer tikka, Kashmiri dum aloo to name a few. But malai kofta was the best and was polished off by my family in no time. All thanks to you! :)
    PS: Can you also include a recipe for banana stem?

  13. Deepti says

    Best malai kofta recipe ever!! No words can describe what a mind blowing dish it turned out to be , thanks a ton for sharing your talent with us !!!

  14. Celine says

    Amazing! I’ve cooked this recipe four times now and I’m starting to tweak it to my own flavors and perfect it. It goes down really well at social gatherings and special occasions!

  15. kanu says

    Thank u so much for mouth watering recipe!!!!I wanna ask one thing that can we add bread crumbs instead of cornflour for koftas

  16. Dolly vij says

    Thank you so much as you explained so well and in a very simple way . I tried and my husband said that it is better than our favourite restaurant .

  17. swati says

    Wow..mouth watering recipe..m gonna try this tonight..can you pls share a recipe with lotus root also..was searching for it as well…this site has really developed my interest in cooking..all thanks to you dear…

    • says

      thanks swati for this positive feedback. its very difficult to get lotus root in my place. i have few recipes with lotus root but i don’t get them easily. will keep your request in mind.

  18. Kajol Kesarwani says

    I have made many recipies by seing from this site. I really preffered many recipies. I have made malai khofta by seing above recipies and every one liked it very very much.

  19. lopamudra das says

    You have a lovely blog. The recipes are very well explained which makes it really easy to follow. I had tried this recipe earlier and it came out absolutely yum, today i made the gravy with boiled onion paste and that tasted very good too. do try it with boiled onions and let me know how you liked it.

  20. Shivani says

    Hi Dassana

    I tried this recipe and wasn’t able to fry the kofta as they kept sinking to the bottom of the fry pan (non stick fry pan) and would stick to the bottom and break apart with the cottage cheese and potato burning eventually. Could you suggest another way to fry the kofta? Also can we use almond paste instead of cashew paste in the gravy ?

    • says

      hi shivani, this is because the oil was not hot. if the oil was hot, the koftas would come up on top of the oil and frying would be easy. i am not sure which shape of pan you used, but fir frying kofta, kadai works best. another way would be to fry them like tikkis or patties. just flatten them and shallow fry them. but here too make sure the oil is hot. you can also pan fry the tikkis or patties with 1 or 2 tbsp oil and this will give a make it more healthy as less oil is used up. but the texture will not be crisp all over. yes, you can add almond paste instead of cashew paste.

    • says

      yes you can make this way too. just soak the cashews in hot water for 30 minutes before you blend them with the onions and tomatoes. in this case, the sauteing of the paste will take some more time.

  21. Tani says

    The recipe looks very good , thanks! I am planning to make it for eight people, should i just double the quantity of everything includind the spices?


  22. Shruthi says

    Thank you so much for publishing this recipe. Your instructions were so clear and precise it made an intimidating recipe easy-peasy! I tried this recipe for the first time and the compliments poured in left, right and centre. Thank you!

  23. Dr.kanchan verma says

    your recepies are a great saviour for working women like me who have unsatiable tastebud
    …easy to make and great in taste…thank u for being a wonderful guide…kanchan verma

  24. monika says

    Hi Dassana
    I love your recipes and frequently visit your website. I tried this recipe but it turned out a bit bitter. I had put sugar as well but I must admit I didn’t measure the ingredients exactly for the masala. What could have gone wrong?

    • says

      hi monika, there is no ingredient which is bitter in the recipe, except kasuri methi. but kasuri methi also has a faint bitterness and added for its aroma. so i can only rule out kasuri methi. perhaps you must have added an extra quantity and thats why the gravy was a bit bitter.

  25. Nate says

    Thanks for the fantastic recipe. As others did, I ended up throwing some cashews and raisins into the Koftas and it worked magnificently.

    You did an excellent job laying out an intimidating recipe and making it approachable and pointing out potential variations. It’s incredibly rare that I try a recipe I find online and it works the first time. Great job.

  26. deepali says

    Hello ….can we grind onion garlic and ginger all together as it is harder to grind ginger garlic past im small quantities

  27. deepali says

    Hello…i have one question..what to do wid the whole spices as if left in gravy no one in ma family likes them coming into mouth…do can we remove them ….if yes at what point of time to remove…

  28. shree says

    Hey the veg is so so yummy but there is a problem my hubby want this veg in tiffin so what should I do I mean should I put gravy and koftas separately or mixed…
    If I place them mixed koftas will become extra soft ???

  29. zainab says

    Thanks! You made it easy.
    I tried the recipe with a few tweaks.
    In the kaju paste I added some melon seeds and poppy seeds.
    Net result, my husband said tasted as good as restaurant wale! Infact he said even better because i didn’t make it sweet.
    thanks a lot, saved many a meal with your recipes.

  30. says

    I made this recipe and the taste was really very good. I loved specially the gravy of the curry. I have one question in my mind.. does the magic bulet works good to grind whole spices into powder form?

  31. Mansi Gupta says

    This recipe is yummilicious.. tried it for the first time.
    Gave it a twist by stuffing the kofta’s with roasted dry fruits..
    Thanks Dassana for sharing it. :)

  32. AnandLakshminarasimhan says

    Made it for my mom and she said the taste is good. Finished the dish in no time. So the taste came out really good. NOT DIFFICULT TO COOK AT ALL AFTER IT IS EXPLAINED

  33. pournima says

    ohh its realy amazing…i tried daughtr loved it.wel nw we shudnt need to go at out to hv dis.dassana u make it easy..wel if i wil try seeds rather dan cashew for paste..then wud it make any diffrnce in taste?
    my daughter love sugery taste..can i use raisin in it?
    anyways…thnks a lot

  34. uma says


    I am planning to try this out today….have been searching for it a long while. My daughter and husband would love to have this…..can u please tell me how to make the tomato puree…

    • says

      there are basically two ways for making tomato puree. in this recipe, i have just chopped the tomatoes and blended them to make smooth puree. you can blend the tomatoes in an electric blender or even in a mixer-grinder. also hand held blender can be used. no need to add water while making the tomato puree. other way is to blanch the tomatoes and then make the puree. 2 to 3 medium tomatoes will give about 3/4 to 1 cup tomato puree.

  35. pournima says

    its realy awsome…my daughter lovd it…i was thinking like paneer kofta cnt make at home…its time consuming and dassana u made it easy.
    thank u sooo much.nw i can enjoy paneer at home easy.

  36. Jenn says

    This is what I order every time I go to an Indian Restaurant. I would love to be able to cook it at home. I have a few questions:

    Is pureed tomatoes made with whole, raw tomatoes, or is that the kind that comes in a can?

    How do you make cashew puree?

    Thank you so much!

    • says

      made with fresh whole tomatoes. not the ones that come in a can. soak the cashews in hot water for 30 mins or in normal water for 2 hours. drain the cashews and then blend adding little water to a smooth paste.

  37. Tyler says

    Hi there! Malia Kofta is my favourite dish! So delicious..

    Sad news is that I’m vegan now so I can’t get it at restaurants, but I can make it at home with a few tweaks.. What can I use instead of paneer? Or can I just omit that altogether? Thank you! :) <3

    • says

      instead of paneer, you can use extra firm silken tofu. i think the texture of this tofu would go well. may be for binding you might need to add some more corn starch so that the koftas don’t break in oil. you can also skip them altogether. just make the kofta with mashed potatoes, almond flour or ground almonds, corn starch or rice flour (for binding) and stuff them with chopped cashews and raisins.

  38. Aleisha says

    I recently tried malai kofta and absolutely loved it. This recipe looks so good, I will need to make it one day for everyone at home. I’m allergic to nuts however, do you have any recommendations for substitutes for the cashew paste, or can I just not add it in without it making too much of a difference?

    Thanks :)

    • says

      thanks aleisha for the feedback. as a substitute, you can use dried melon seeds (either musk melon or water melon seeds). we generally use these seeds in indian cooking along with either cashew or almond paste. the melon seed paste help to thicken the gravy as well give their flavor. the taste will be different though as cashews are not added.

  39. seema says

    Tried the malai kofta recipe yesterday for dinner . And it was so yummy and delicious . and the best thing was it was so easy to prepare . thanks for sharing this recipe .regards

  40. Delphine says

    My husband and I are so looking forward to trying this recipe today! We got all the ingredients and are looking at the instructions. We noticed that in the ingredients list, the sauce calls for tomato paste, but the instructions call for tomato puree. Can you please clarify which should be used? Tomato paste and puree taste very differently. We bought tomato paste per the ingredients list, but looking at your picture, it appears we should have bought puree?
    Thank you!

    • says

      delphine, actually its tomato puree. i have used both the words interchangeably. thanks for pointing out. i know in abroad tomato puree is different from tomato paste but in india, we use both these words for puree. have changed the word paste to puree.

      • says

        We made it last night with the puree and it was divine! I’ve been searching for a good malai kofta recipe for decades with no luck. This is just what I was looking for! Thank you! We liked it so much, we linked to your website from our blog:
        P.S. Also made your suji halwa recipe last night and that was delish too!

    • says

      yes jay, you can make the kofta one day in advance (but not 2 days in advance as they are made of paneer). refrigerate the kofta, once the temperature comes down after making them.

  41. Parul says

    Hi , can you tell me if I don’t want to use cornflour what can I use instead?? N if at all cornflour has to be used which one I should buy ??

    • says

      use besan instead of corn flour. first roast the besan in a small pan till its raw aroma goes away and then add it to the potato mixture. you can use any good brand of corn flour. i use either brown & polson or rex.

  42. Heidemarie says

    Hi, am about to try this. Can you give me rough idea of amounts of cashews, tomatoes, & onions i will need to make the pastes? Thanks.

    • says

      onions can be 1 medium.
      tomatoes are about 2 medium to large tomatoes, pureed.
      cashews would be 10-12 whole cashews .

      will update the post about the turmeric powder. about 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder is added.

  43. trupti says

    thank u so much for the reply…..will incorporate these changes nxt time….one more thing…..i tried to shallow fry them wid enuf oil…..however they stuck the to bottom the moment i put it in n thts why they fell apart….they stuck bad….any tip?

    n yeah forgot to mention…..luv ur blog….easy way of cooking….thank u so much….:-)

    • says

      okay. they stuck and thats why they broke. what kadai you use. nonstick or a thick bottomed iron or aluminium kadai. generally when frying, the kadai as well as the oil has to be hot. what i have observed is that if i don’t use a particular kadai for frying at all or use it for making sabzis or roasting etc, then when i fry in it, the pakoras sometimes get stuck. so usually i stick to one kadai for deep or shallow frying.

  44. trupti says

    Hi….I made this today, but y koftas weren’t as smooth s yours…..also they were breaking apart…where did I go wrong

    • says

      to get the smoothness you have to mix and mash the kofta mixture really well. did they break after adding the gravy or before. if before, then that means the mixture has not binded well. depends upon the quality of paneer and potatoes. so some extra cornflour added would have not allowed the koftas to break while frying. and if after when you added them to the gravy, then they have to be added just before serving. if the koftas are immersed in the gravy, then they absorb the gravy and break.

  45. Kirti says

    Dear Dassani

    I really love your recipies. I love cooking but dont get a lot of time to do so. But i really enjoy your recipies as they are so easy & quick & come out very well, just the way u describe them. My son love s to try this one.


  46. says

    Hi! This looks AMAZING! I can’t wait to try it. Malai kofta is one of my favourite foods ever so I would love to make it.
    I’ve made the red thai curry recipe from your blog and it’s fabulous so can’t wait to try this one.
    Keep up the great cooking!

  47. Nancy Desai says

    Hello. Lovely recipe. An all time favourite !!
    A quick question though. Almond flour is same as almond powder?
    In case I don’t have khoya or milk powder what do I use? Thank you!

    • says

      hi nancy, it is same. then no need to add them. the milk powder or khoya or almond powder just gives a nice sweet tinge to the koftas.

  48. says

    wow before i started blogging i always craved for koftas in restaurants
    now we know with little or more effort we can make it at home and get even more for less price

    i love ur version here and what is magic bullet thing.. can u pls share the pic of it. wud try to get it here if i can

    • says

      magic bullet is mini chopper & blender. good for making small batch of chutneys, masala paste purees and even chopping. i purchased from flipkart. you can search on amazon or flipkart. btw i have the chinese version purchased in error. but still going good.

  49. Siva says

    This is very good….wondered about this recipe…thanks for the pics…it makes this recipe easy to make….