My 220th recipe, “Malai Kofta”, a rich and delicious North Indian side. For folks who are hearing this name for the first time, kofta is a deep fried dumpling made out of paneer (Indian Cottage cheese) and potato. And malai is nothing but cream.
The recipe of malai kofta is basically paneer, potato dumplings swimming happily in a rich and creamy tomato based sauce. My love for paneer butter masala had literally wiped out any chance of trying other gravies all these years. The first time I had a malai kofta was only a couple of years ago when RK ordered it in a nearby Indian restaurant here. It was so rich, creamy and darn delicious that I immediately fell in love.
After that first encounter, I wanted to try a malai kofta when I get a chance to visit an authentic North Indian restaurant in India. While I was on a vacation to India, I gave it a try in such a restaurant. While the basic concept was the same, I was surprised to see that there was a huge difference in taste and flavor. Since then I have tasted malai kofta in a handful of Indian restaurants and each time I have had a different experience. Only then I realized that malai kofta is a recipe which has a wide variation based on who makes it. While it is always delicious, some malai koftas are more tangy than others, some are more sweeter, some are thick and creamy, etc.
Since I usually make a tomato based sauce for paneer butter masala, I wanted to leverage my experience and come up with a malai kofta recipe which suits my taste buds. The kofta itself is not sweet, nicely crispy on the outside and soft to bite into. And the nuts and raisin filling adds a nice flavor and texture to the kofta balls. The tomato sauce is nicely creamy, smooth, tangy and mouth watering delicious. This recipe of malai kofta is the perfect side for dipping your naans or chapati or any other Indian flat bread 🙂
Malai Kofta Masala
Malai Kofta Masala is a famous North Indian gravy of fried paneer and potato dumplings swimming in a delicious tomato based cream sauce.
- Ghee - 1 tsp
- Chopped Dry fruit and nuts - 1/2 Cup (* I used cashews, charoli, raisins)
- Mashed potato - 1 1/2 Cup (* Refer notes section)
- Grated paneer - 1 Cup
- Red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
- Coriander powder - 1/4 tsp
- Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
- Corn flour - 1 1/2 Tbsp
- Salt - 1/4 tsp (Adjust as per taste)
- Coriander leaves - 1 Tbsp (Finely chopped)
- Oil - For deep frying
- Oil - 1 tsp + 3 Tbsp
- Onion - 1 large (Cubed)
- Garlic - 2 cloves
- Ginger - 1/4 inch
- Tomato - 2 large (Cubed)
- Bay leaf - 1
- Cinnamon - 1/2 stick
- Clove - 1
- Cardamom - 1
- Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
- Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
- Jeera powder - 1/4 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp (adjust per taste)
- Garam masala - 1 tsp
- Kasoori methi - 1 tsp
- Fresh Cream - 1/4 Cup
- First heat the ghee in a small pan and roast the chopped dry fruit and nuts until nicely golden. Keep aside and bring to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, add all the ingredients listed under "For kofta" except oil to a large mixing bowl. Mix well until combined well. Make equal lemon sized balls out of the mixture and keep aside.
- Now, take one of the kofta balls, make a dent at its center, place about a tsp of the prepared stuffing and cover it again. Smoothen it back into a ball.
- Heat oil in a pan and fry the kofta balls in medium flame in batches until nicely golden. Keep the fried kofta balls aside.
- Now moving on to the gravy part. Heat a pan with 1 tsp of oil, add the onion, garlic, ginger and saute until the onion turns translucent. Transfer to a plate. To the same pan, add the tomatoes and saute for about 1 min, turn off the flame and transfer it to the plate. Wait until they come to room temperature and then blend them into a smooth puree without any chunks.
- Now heat a pan with the remaining 3 Tsbp oil, add the bay leaf, cinnamon, clove, cardamom and once the bay leaf starts changing color, add the prepared puree, red chilli powder, coriander powder, jeera powder, salt and mix well to combine. Let them cook in medium-low flame until the raw smell is gone, the gravy thicken and the oil oozes out.
- Now add water to the gravy based on your desired consistency. I added about 1 1/2 cup of water for a medium thick gravy. Add the garam masala and crushed kasoori methi leaves and mix well.
- Let the gravy simmer for a few more minutes (2-3 minutes). Finally, add the fresh cream, mix well and turn off the flame. Add the kofta balls to the gravy just before serving.
- Serve hot with naan or any other Indian flat bread.
- For the mashed potato, wash and cook about 2 large potatoes until done. Peel the skin, mash it and measure 1 1/2 cup.
- If using freshly made paneer, you can use it directly. If using store bough paneer, you can soak it in warm warm to soften it. Then you can grate it finely using the small holes of a box grater.
- To get soft kofta balls, potato quantity should be higher than paneer. Reduce the potato quantity for a more firmer kofta ball.
- I used corn flour as a binding agent for the kofta balls. You can also use bread crumbs. In case, you are not able to roll the kofta balls properly, adjust the corn flour quantity accordingly.
- Fry the kofta in batches to maintain the oil temperature. Fry them in medium flame. Low temperature leads to excess oil absorption. High temperature leads to burnt koftas.
- The gravy will thicken after adding the kofta. Add water accordingly while preparing the gravy.
- Add the kofta balls to the gravy a few minutes before or just before serving. As soon as the kofta is added to the gravy, it will start absorbing the liquid. If left for too long, the gravy will become too thick and kofta will be soggy.
- Since I like to have the kofta alone, just as a snack/appetizer without the gravy, the quantity mentioned in this recipe will give you about 10 kofta. Your gravy will need only about 6 kofta.