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

malai kofta is a popular paneer dish. potato and paneer kofta in a creamy, rich, mild and lightly sweet gravy.
4.71 from 67 votes

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.

malai kofta recipe, malai kofta, paneer kofta

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 recipe

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.

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

  1. shahi paneer
  2. matar paneer
  3. paneer tikka masala
  4. paneer butter masala
  5. palak paneer

malai kofta

Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:45 minutes
Cook Time:45 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 30 minutes
Course:main course
Cuisine:indian,north indian
Servings (change the number to scale):3 to 4 servings
4.71 from 67 votes
malai kofta recipe, paneer kofta recipe
malai kofta is a popular paneer dish. potato and paneer kofta in a creamy, rich, mild and lightly sweet gravy.


(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

  • 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)

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 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.
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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).

malai 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 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.

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

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.

frying the malai kofta

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

frying malai koftas

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.

spices for malai kofta recipe

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 recipe

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

add tomato puree for malai kofta recipe

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

dry spice powders for malai kofta recipe

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.

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, the way i have done.

malai kofta gravy recipe

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

add kasuri methi to malai kofta gravy

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.

malai kofta recipe

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

malai kofta recipe



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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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252 comments/reviews

    • yes, you can use just grind almonds and make the flour. another method is to soak almonds in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. then remove the skins. let them cool and then grind them to a fine powder.

  1. Your reciepes are excellent.. when ever I try they come out superbly.. thank you so much for such an informative blog. Request you to update the reciepes for dal batti, Malai kofta in white gravy

  2. Your recipes are awesome. I have tried your recipes of North indian and south indian foods. Your way is easy to follow. Plus step by step photo guide is the best I have ever seen. Keep sharing such lovely recipes. Love

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.☺☺☺

  14. 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…

  15. 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…

  16. 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 🙂

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 ??