malai kofta recipe with step by step photos. these are delicious melt in the mouth paneer kofta in a creamy, rich, mild and lightly sweet onion tomato based gravy.
what is malai kofta
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 recipe, the kofta are made with paneer and potatoes. they are crisp as well as melt in the mouth. these tasty paneer kofta 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 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 aloo paneer kofta 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 roomali roti. 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 of how to make paneer at home.
the recipe below will make 6 to 7 paneer kofta 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 kofta would be enough per serving.
for more paneer gravy recipes on blog are
INGREDIENTS FOR malai kofta
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)
- ⅛ 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
- 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 for malai kofta
- 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)
- 1 tablespoon grated paneer (cottage cheese)
- 1 or 2 tablespoon cream
- a few chopped coriander leaves (dhania patta or cilantro leaves)
HOW TO MAKE malai kofta
making paneer kofta for malai kofta
- mix all the ingredients mentioned under "for making paneer kofta" ingredient list except oil in a bowl.
- make medium sized balls and fry the paneer koftas in medium hot oil till golden.
- keep the fried kofta aside.
making malai kofta
- remove extra oil from the same pan and keep about 1 or 1.5 tbsp oil.
- add all the whole spices and fry till the oil becomes fragrant.
- first add the onion paste and brown it.
- now add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for some seconds till the raw aroma of the paste goes away.
- add the tomato puree and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder and cashew paste.
- stir and saute till the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala paste. add water and stir.
- simmer till the gravy begins to thicken. takes approx 11-12 minutes on a low flame.
- towards the end add crushed kasuri methi leaves and salt.
- you can also add sugar if you want a light sweet taste in the curry. simmer for 1-2 minutes more.
serving malai kofta
- lastly add the fried paneer kofta. if serving malai kofta later, you can just prepare the gravy and add kofta while serving. these paneer kofta are really soft. so if you add them before and serve them later, they will break.
- while serving, garnish the malai kofta with some cream, grated paneer and coriander leaves.
- serve malai kofta hot with rotis, naan, steamed basmati rice or jeera rice.
preparation for malai kofta recipe
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 in this paneer kofta recipe. 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.
frying paneer kofta
4: heat oil for shallow or deep frying. i always shallow fry. add the paneer kofta in medium hot oil. fry them till golden on both sides.
5: fry all the paneer kofta this way and drain them on a paper napkins so that the extra oil is absorbed.
making malai kofta
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.
serving malai kofta
14. lastly add the fried kofta. if serving malai kofta later, you can just prepare the gravy and add kofta while serving. these paneer kofta 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 with rotis, naan or jeera rice or saffron rice or chapatis.