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

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malai kofta recipe with step by step photos. these are delicious melt in the mouth paneer koftas in a creamy, rich, mild and lightly sweet onion tomato based gravy. 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, mix vegetables or paneer.

in this delicious restaurant style malai kofta gravy recipe, the koftas are made with paneer and potatoes. they are crisp as well as melt in the mouth. these tasty paneer koftas are dunked in a smooth, mildly sweet and lighted spiced curry. the combination of the kofta with the curry taste awesome. this is one of the best malai paneer kofta you can make at home. the recipe is for keeps.

there are many variations of the malai kofta gravy recipe. in this recipe the curry or gravy 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 only making the paneer kofta recipe as a snack just a few days back. in this snack version, i have added dry fruits and nuts. so you can either make stuffed dry fruit & nuts koftas for snacks or make them the way i have shown here without stuffing with dry fruits and nuts. in the recipe shown in this post, the koftas are not stuffed with dry fruits.

malai kofta is best served with roti or paratha or naan or or roomali 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. 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.

the recipe below will make 6 to 7 paneer koftas with a curry for 3 to 4 people. let me tell you that malai kofta is a heavy meal. so even 1 to 2 paneer koftas would be enough per serving.

malai kofta recipe below:

4.54 from 60 votes
malai kofta recipe | paneer kofta recipe
prep time
45 mins
cook time
45 mins
total time
1 hr 30 mins

malai kofta gravy recipe - potato and paneer koftas in a creamy, rich, mild and lightly sweet gravy.

course: main course
cuisine: indian, north indian
servings: 3 to 4 servings
calories: 414 kcal
author: dassana amit
ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)
for making paneer kofta:
  • 100 grams paneer (cottage cheese) - grated
  • 2 medium size potatoes (aloo) - boiled, peeled and grated
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cornflour (corn starch)
  • teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond flour OR 1 tablespoon milk powder OR 1 tablespoon khoya (mawa or dried evaporated milk solids)
  • salt as required
  • oil for frying paneer koftas
for making malai kofta gravy or curry:
  • ½ cup onion paste OR about 2 medium to large onions, pureed
  • 1 cup tomato puree OR about 2 large tomatoes pureed
  • ¼ cup cashew paste OR 12 to 15 cashews soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and then blended to a smooth paste
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ¾ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
  • 1 inch ginger (adrak) + 4 to 5 garlic cloves (lahsun) - made in to a fine paste in a mortar-pestle
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • salt as required
  • sugar as required (optional)
  • oil for shallow or deep frying the koftas
whole spices or garam masala for malai kofta gravy:
  • 1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 1 or 2 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
  • 2 to 3 green cardamom (hari elaichi or choti elaichi)
  • 2 to 3 single strands of mace OR a light pinch of mace powder (jayitri)
  • 2 to 3 cloves (laung)
for garnish:
  • 1 tablespoon grated paneer (cottage cheese)
  • 1 or 2 tablespoon cream
  • a few chopped coriander leaves (dhania patta or cilantro leaves)
how to make recipe
making paneer kofta:
  1. mix all the ingredients mentioned under "for making paneer kofta" ingredient list except oil in a bowl.

  2. make medium sized balls and fry the paneer koftas in medium hot oil till golden.

  3. keep the fried kofta aside.

making malai kofta gravy or curry:
  1. remove extra oil from the same pan and keep about 1 or 1.5 tbsp oil.
  2. add all the whole spices and fry till the oil becomes fragrant.
  3. first add the onion paste and brown it.
  4. now add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for some seconds till the raw aroma of the paste goes away.
  5. add the tomato puree and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  6. add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder and cashew paste.
  7. stir and saute till the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala paste. add water and stir.
  8. simmer till the gravy begins to thicken. takes approx 11-12 minutes on a low flame.
  9. towards the end add crushed kasuri methi leaves and salt.
  10. you can also add sugar if you want a light sweet taste in the curry. simmer for 1-2 minutes more.
  11. 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.
  12. garnish the malai kofta with some cream, grated paneer and coriander leaves.
  13. serve malai kofta hot with rotis, naan, steamed basmati rice or jeera rice.
recipe notes

rough nutrition info per serving:

Nutrition Facts
malai kofta recipe | paneer kofta recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 414 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 37%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 29mg 10%
Sodium 1624mg 68%
Potassium 1116mg 32%
Total Carbohydrates 40g 13%
Dietary Fiber 7g 28%
Sugars 8g
Protein 13g 26%
Vitamin A 13.7%
Vitamin C 37.4%
Calcium 27.3%
Iron 39%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

how to make malai kofta recipe:

a) making paneer koftas:

1: take all the ingredients mentioned under “for making paneer kofta” except oil in a bowl. the ingredients needed are: 100 grams grated paneer, 2 medium size potatoes (boiled and grated), ¼ teaspoon red chili powder, 1 to 2 tablespoons cornflour (corn starch), ⅛ teaspoon garam masala powder, salt as required and 1 tablespoon almond flour. instead of almond flour you can also use 1 tablespoon milk powder OR 1 tablespoon khoya (mawa or dried evaporated milk solids).

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. do note that before shaping and frying the entire batch, check a small tiny piece of the paneer kofta in hot oil (step 4 below). if it does not break, then you can easily fry the remaining koftas. if it breaks, then add some more binding agent like corn flour (corn starch). you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of corn flour. mix and shape into koftas.

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.

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

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

b) making malai kofta gravy:

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.

7: add the onion paste.

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

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

10. now add the cashew paste. also add     red chili powder and ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder.

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

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, the way i have done.

13. add crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and salt as required. simmer for 1 to 2 minutes more.

14. lastly add the fried koftas. if serving malai kofta later, you can just prepare the gravy and add koftas while serving. these paneer 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.

15: garnish malai kofta with coriander leaves and serve the malai kofta gravy with rotis, naan or jeera rice or saffron rice or chapatis.

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This post was last modified on May 16, 2018, 4:40 pm

    Categories Curry RecipesDinner RecipesNorth Indian RecipesPaneer RecipesPopular Indian Recipes

View Comments (234)

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • thanks for sharing the feedback. the size of the koftas can be made as per one's preference.

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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.:(:(

    • 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.

  • 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?

  • Excellent stuff. I will try it soon.

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

  • 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!

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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)

    • 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.

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

  • It was delicious n upto the mark when I tried first time but I dont know why next two times my koftas splitted into oil while frying inspite of every thing being just the same as first time. Please guide what could be the possible mistakes or reasons.

    • komal, the oil temperature and the binding of the kofta mixture plays a important role while frying them. do ensure that the oil is medium hot while frying them. add a tiny piece from the kofta mixture in the oil. if it comes up steadily, quickly and gradually, the oil is hot enough. if it stays in the oil for some seconds or minutes, then the oil still has to become hot. if it comes up too quickly, then the oil is very hot. also depending on the moisture content in the paneer and potatoes, you may need to add more or less of the corn starch. the mixture should not appear pasty or moist. always test a small piece in the oil, before you fry the koftas.

  • Hi there..my kofta didn't turn out well..It broke..even though I added more cornflour as suggest by u in tips..I took 200gm paneer and 4 medium size potatoes and 1.5 cornflour and added some more cornflour later as it was breaking ..plz suggest

  • Oh soooo good! Those little balls of heaven. That perfect gravy. I paired it with corn and pea pulao! Definitely making this again and again and again!

  • Tried malai kofta for the first time.came out excellent. But my koftas didn't absorb any taste of gravy.what did I do wrong? Can u let know soon as I need to make for this Christmas.

    • possibly the koftas have become dense and thats why the gravy was not absorbed. could be due to less moisture in the kofta mixture. for the next time, you could just add a few teaspoons of milk while binding the kofta. the moisture comes from the potatoes and khoya, so if the khoya is too dry then the koftas can become dense. too much of corn starch also can dry out the koftas and make them dense. hope this helps.

  • December 1, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    It was delicious n upto the mark ... My family appreciates me for my cooking skill and all credit goes to you as wel as to my mom ??

  • I had this dish for the first time at India Sweets and Spices in Los Feliz, it blew me away. They only make it once a week. Where else can I find this in Los Angeles, and I want a really good version. I cannot make it to save my life. Any tips are greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  • I have made a few tweaks to malai kofta myself. I think they don't have a detrimental effect on the recipe!!!

    1. Instead of cashews, i often use blanched almonds or regular almonds. Almonds are definitely healthier.. but please ensure they are not old/stale/bitter.

    2. I avoid malai altogether. I use skimmed evaporated milk ( which is an unsweetened and lighter version of condensed milk), and on occasion have used 1% fat milk too. The only thing is one may want to use a little more onion paste and one will have to simmer the gravy a bit. You will not need to add any water. I use this hack for all malai/gravy recipes and it works great

    3. While grinding onion tomato gravy, i add a slice of red bell pepper too, That adds some spice and flavour but also gives it that lovely light orange red colour.

  • Dear Dassana, I am from Slovakia (Eastern Europe), really far away from India. I have visited this amazing country only once, but since my childhood I love love love Indian cooking. I could eat Indian food all the time. Your blog is the best, I have tried a few recipes and all of them turned out very well. I even invested some time to get all the spices that are not so common here in my country. Also, I started making paneer quite often. My husband likes it :). This dish is the next one I am going to make. It seems a little bit complicated to me, but I will do my best and let you know how it turned out. Just wanted to let you know that you really have readers and fans all over the world!

    • very pleased to know alexandra about your love for indian food :) thank you for your kind and motivating words it means a lot to us. surely try malai kofta and do share your feedback to us god bless you.

      • Hello Dassana!
        Today I made the malai kofta. It took some time, but it was definitely worth it! The dish is really delicious. My sauce was a little bit too ginger-y, but maybe I just added too much of it, or did not cook it long enough... Anyway, I served it with a little bit of plain yoghurt (curd), which balanced the hot taste just right. Thank you!

        • thanks alexandra for sharing the feedback. yes it does take some time to prepare. what i do is prepare the mixture for the koftas a day before and keep it in the fridge. if the gravy or sauce is not sauteed or cooked well, then some rawness will be felt. glad that you liked the dish :-)

  • ur Site is very helpful and informative ...with little effort we can make yummy mouth watering dishes at home ..thnkx

    can you please share Jain malai kofta recipe here...

    • thank you komal for your positive feedback have taken your request for jain malai kofta. please allow us some time to post the recipe.

  • hi dassana ...can you please share Jain malai kofta recipe here... before some months I requested for the same but I am not able to find the recipe here...

    • komal, i am not able to make jain malai kofta recipe. there are still many recipes request in queue. will try to add soon.

    • i have not received any email from you simmy. i hope you are sending your emails to the correct email address.

  • Superb recipe. I have followed it step by step and prepared Malai kofta for six persons. Amazing taste, Superb flavours and everybody said that it can beat even a five star hotel.
    Thanks for sharing such an amazing recipe.☺☺☺

  • Hi dassan i have few doubts can i add more garam masala insted od whole spices , can can i make the gravy alone before (2 or 3 days) and refrigirate it or freeze it.

    • deepti, overall just add 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder and skip the whole spices. too much of garam masala will spoil the taste. you can make the gravy before and freeze it. do not refrigerate.

  • Hi... .. Iove ur blog.... The recipies are simple but yet very tasty....Thanks for sharing your
    magic ☺️

  • Best website ever!! I am a vegetarian and I never knew I could try these many dishes in my life time.. Your website is so handy that I always refer it for any questions !! Thank u very much !! Keep going :) Love u and omg your photography!!! That's just awesome and makes me try all the dishes as soon as I read it .. U r a genius <3

    P.S- My husband loved all the dishes I tried :) It is just because of you :) Tku tku tku <3

    • Welcome Sudha. Thanks a lot for your positive feedback on recipes and also for your appreciation. Glad to read your words full of positivity and praise.

  • Hi Amit, I am big fan of yours. I've tried many recipes of yours and every time my husband appreciated my cooking. Thank you thank you thank you so much.
    Your blog is very convenient for guidance. Thank you again

  • Hi Dassna,

    Can I fry the koftas and keep in fridge in advance in the night as I will make it early morning for my sons tiffin.

  • I bought powered mace and will add it with the powered ingredients. Should I have bought whole mace and added it with the whole spices. I love this site. One recepie leads to another. Thank you.

    • kent, just add a light pinch of mace as it is a very strong spice. in any recipe, mace powder can be substituted with whole mace. depending on the recipe servings, you can always increase the amount of mace powder accordingly. and thanks.

  • I must say, absolutely fantastic recipe! My craving for excellent malai kofta has finally been satisfied! My first round of koftas fried well whereas the second batch broke up unfortunately and being 8 months pregnant, it was so hard to see so much effort disintegrating in the oil :( I don't know if it is because the oil became too hot by then. My mixture consistency was exactly like in your pictures. In any case, the taste of the koftas and the gravy was nothing less than 5 star! I've even tried the dahi puri recipe from here including making the puris from scratch and my family and I enjoyed authentic five star chaat at home and away from India thanks to you!

    • thanks a lot zainab. while frying koftas the oil has to be at the right temperature. less hot oil or too hot oil can spoil the texture. this is also true while making cheese balls or potato balls. i can understand how you must have felt 🙂

      take care and i wish you all the best.

  • Malai kofta is the traditional indian international food. We can give first mark to this ever. its very good to speaking about malai kofta. it is my favourite food.

  • Hii Dassana..I made this today and to my surprise one of my three years old twin ate it happily which usually he doesn't do..thanks a lot for the great recipe once again..hope to write again soon!!stay blessed

    • Welcome Zainab. Thanks for sharing this sweet feedback. This is one of best feedback i have received on this malai kofta recipe. thanks for your best wishes.

  • Malai Kofta has become my new favorite dish. I followed the recipe exactly, and have to say the taste was up there with the best I ever had. My only issue was that the kofta fell apart slightly when trying (only some of them) and then REALLY started to fall apart when adding them to curry.

    After asking around, I hear a lot of restaurants coat their kofta in flour before trying, so that's something to try for people that are having similar issues. The temperature of the oil is of utmost importance, as well. What temperature do you use to fry?

    • thanks bryan. as you mention frying at the right temperature is very important. i fry at a medium flame. i have not measured the temperature, but next time when i make malai kofta, i will measure the temperature and update in the post. if there is too much moisture in the mixture or if it has not bound well, then they can break in the oil. so before frying the entire batch, check a small tiny piece of the kofta in hot oil. if it does not break, then you can easily fry the remaining koftas. if it breaks, then add some more binding agent like corn starch. mix and shape again.

  • Hello, i am going to make this dish for around 12 people ( need about 20 koftas).. how should i increase the proportion?

    • for the koftas you can increase proportionately. for the gravy increasing all the ingredients proportionately may not work well. so while adding the ingredients the method of approximation or andaaz should be used.

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