Malai Kofta


Malai kofta is a hugely popular dish on Indian restaurant menus all over the world. It is a special occasion food probably because making it is a labor of love and takes time and effort. Malai (meaning creamy in Hindi) kofta is the perfect vegetarian alternative to meatballs. It goes very well with naan (tandoor-baked flatbread) or Jeera rice.

Prep: 30 mins

Cook: 90 min

Recipe Serving: 4


    For the Koftas

  • 2 cups potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, peas, sweet corn; boiled)
  • 1 cup paneer cubes
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, and cashew nuts)
  • 1/4 cup of raisins (finely chopped)
  • 3 cups vegetable (or canola or sunflower cooking oil for frying, or more as needed)
  • For the Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or canola or sunflower cooking oil)
  • 2 large onions (quartered)
  • 2 tomatoes (quartered)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (lightly roasted and ground into a powder)
  • 3 tablespoons nuts (cashews and almonds, ground into a thick paste)
  • 1 cup water (warm)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala


    Make the Kofta

  • Gather the ingredients.
  • Wash, peel, and dice the potatoes.
  • Boil them in a pot of water until fork tender.
  • Drain and set aside.
  • Next, boil the veggies until crisp-tender.
  • Drain and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mash the boiled potatoes, mixed vegetables, paneer, and cream together.
  • Add the kofta spices - cumin, coriander, and red chili powder - to this mash and mix well. The resulting dough should be firm. If not add some more boiled potato. Season with salt.
  • In a small bowl, combine the chopped nuts and raisins.
  • Make this dough into balls and put a 1/2 teaspoon of the nut and raisin mix in the center of each ball.
  • Roll into perfect rounds.
  • In a large pot, heat the oil kept aside to fry the koftas, on a medium flame.
  • Deep fry these rounds till pale golden in color.
  • Drain on paper towels and keep aside.
  • Make the Gravy

  • Gather the ingredients.
  • Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a deep pan and fry the onions till light brown.
  • In a small food processor, place the fried onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, and red chili powder, and grind into a paste.
  • Put this paste back into the pan and fry till the oil begins to separate from the masala.
  • Add the poppy seeds powder and nut paste and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of warm water (the sauce for this dish is meant to be thick so do not add too much water) to this masala to form a gravy. Mix well. Season with salt.
  • Bring the gravy to a boil and then reduce the fire to a simmer.
  • Gently add the koftas to this gravy and cook uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Turn off the fire and sprinkle the garam masala all over the top of the dish.
  • Cover immediately and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with hot naans (tandoor-baked leavened Indian flatbread) or jeera rice.
  • Enjoy!