Malai Kofta recipe to make this popular restaurant style Indian vegetarian dish. Kofta or deep-fried balls of potato and paneer are served in luscious and creamy curry. Serve these koftas in and creamy white gravy with Naan, paratha or Jeera rice for a delicious meal.
What is Malai Kofta?
Malai is milk cream and Kofta are deep-fried balls. So, malai kofta literally means crispy deep-fried potato paneer balls (Kofta) dunked in a creamy sauce. This popular Indian vegetarian kofta is a popular restaurant-style dish.
This is traditional Malai Kofta in white gravy. There is another version of the malai kofta in rich, spicy tomato-based gravy but I like to call that paneer kofta.
Ingredients for Malai Kofta
What is Malai Kofta Made of ? Malai Kofta is made of potato and paneer kofta which are stuffed with nuts and dry fruits and then deep fried. These vegetarian kofta are dunked in smooth gravy with lots of cream and cashews. You need these ingredients for making Malai Kofta.
Paneer - Indian cottage cheese or paneer. For making kofta you can use any paneer. Homemade paneer or store-bought both work fine.
Potato - Boiled potatoes (any variety work great. For making boiled potatoes pressure cook medium sized potatoes for 2 whistles and allow to release it naturally. In instant pot after adding potatoes and water (enough to immerse them) set to pressure cooker mode and for 5 minutes.
CornFlour or Arrowroot: You can use either corn flour or arrowroot powder for binding the kofta.
Cream/Malai - The recipe is made of creamy gravy. So use good quality fresh cream to make malai kofta gravy. If you want you can use malai which you collect from milk at home.
Spices & Seasonings: salt, coriander powder, cardamom powder, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf, cumin, Star anise
From the Pantry: cornflour, cashews, All purpose flour, Oil to fry kofta balls
Produce: Onion, green chilli, ginger.
Step by Step Malai Kofta Recipe
There are two parts of making this malai kofta recipe.
First is making Kofta: Kofta is kind of meatball. Meat or veggies along with spices are made into round balls and deep fried. In this vegetarian kofta curry I make kofta with potatoes and paneer.
Second is Making Gravy or curry: These kofta are served in a spiced sauce/gravy which is made with onion, cashews, nuts and whole spices like cinnamon, cardamom, star anise etc.
Step1: Making Kofta balls
- For making paneer and potato kofta first grate paneer . Add boiled and grated potatoes. [Photo1]
- Now add salt, coriander powder, cardamom powder, green chilli to season the kofta mix. [Photo2]
- Add cornflour in the bowl to bind the kofta's well and mix all of them together. [Photo3]
- Mix it well to make a dough. Now, take small portions of it to make small dumplings.[Photo4]
- Flatten it and Add few cashews and raisins for its stuffing. Reshape them after stuffing to form kofta balls. Coat these kofta balls with white flour/maida . [Photo5]
- Deep fry these kofta balls in a pan on a medium heat. When kofta balls are crispy and golden brown, remove the kofta from oil and let them cool for a while. [Photo6]
Step 2: Making Gravy Paste for Malai Kofta
If you are making malai kofta, there are two types of gravy options you can try. For restaurant style malai kofta with orange gravy you can use this gravy recipe. Or this white gravy recipe for malai kofta I shared here is good one too. So you can take your pick.
Put some onions, green chilli, star anise, ginger, cinnamon, bay leaf, cashews, and water in a saucepan and boil it for 5-6 minutes on a medium heat. [Photo1,2,3,4,5]
After it cools down blend to make a liquid paste in a grinder jar of the mixer. [Photo6]
Step 3: Making Gravy for Malai Kofta
Take another pan, add oil and zeera and allow it to crackle for few seconds. [Photo1]
Now add gravy paste we made and cook it for 7-8 minutes on medium heat till it starts to thicken up. [Photo2]
Add salt to season if required, along with cream and some yogurt and mix it well. Cook for few minutes. [Photo3]
Then, add some water and let it boil for few minutes. Sprinkle some kasuri methi over the gravy to give it a final touch. [Photo4]
Remove the gravy from flame and pour it in a nice serving plate. Place fried kofta just before serving and pour some more hot gravy over it. [Photo5]
And, your delicious malai kofta is ready to eat. [Photo6]
Watch Video Recipe - Malai Kofta in White Gravy
Recipe Notes: Tips to Make Best Malai Kofta
- If you want extra smooth gravy like restaurants, after grinding to paste strain the puree using a strainer. That will give you silky smooth gravy.
- You can make same kofta and use other red sauce which I have shared here.
- To make Vegan Malai Kofta you can substitute dairy products with non dairy. Substitute paneer with tofu, malai/cream with coconut cream. Either skip yogurt or use cashew yogurt.
- Do not add kofta balls to the gravy while cooking. Add kofta just before serving. Otherwise these will soak up the gravy and become mushy and might break.
How to Prevent Kofta from breaking?
- Kofta breaks because of less binding in the mixture. Before frying kofta make sure to use the right amount of corn flour/arrowroot in the kofta mixture.
- Paneer has lots of moisture, Press the paneer with paper towel to remove extra moisture from paneer.
Variations in Kofta Stuffing
- Paneer and potatoes kofta with cashew and raisins stuffing (as I showed in this post).
- You can simply add vegetables of your choice in the centre like grated carrot, bottle gourd, any squash or green beans/french beans etc.
What to Serve with Malai Kofta?
How to Store?
You can make both the components of malai kofta ahead of time and store them. Store them in two airtight containers separately in the fridge.
When You are ready to serve Just reheat the gravy and pour in a serving bowl. Next heat Paneer and potato kofta balls place them in the gravy and enjoy this steaming hot.
More Such Recipes You May Like to Try
If you want to try vegetarian kofta recipes, I have more such recipes of kofta curries like
- 200 grams paneer
- 200 grams potato boiled
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon coriander powder
- ⅕ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 teaspoon green chili
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- ½ cup cashews
- 20 grams flour
- Oil to fry kofta balls
- 150 grams Onion
- 1 teaspoon green chili
- 1 Star anise Chakri phool
- 1- tablespoon ginger
- 1 cinnamon
- 1 cardamom
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon cream
- ¼ cup yogurt dahi
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek dried Kasturi methi
To make Kofta
- Take a large bowl, add grated paneer in it.
- Also, add soft boiled and mashed potatoes.
- Add salt, corriander powder, cardamom powder, green chilli, cornflour to paneer and potato mix.
- Mix all these ingredients together and mash nicely to make mixture of malai kofta.
- Make small dumplings out of it, flatten it with palms of your hand. Place few cashews & raisins for its stuffing and close it make a kofta ball as shown in video.
- Take some flour in a plate or a bowl and roll these dumplings in the flour to coat them well.
- Now, heat some oil in a pan, and deep fry these small dumplings on a medium heat.
- Once they are golden brown, remove the koftas from hot oil and put them on a paper napkin to absorb excess oil.
To Make Gravy
- Take a saucepan, add sliced onions, green chilis, star anise, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf, cashews and water and boil it for 5-6 minutes on a medium heat.
- After boiling, allow it to cool and then blend it to make gravy. it will give a white creamy gravy.
- Take another pan, heat some oil and add cumin seeds/ jeera.
- Also, now add the paste we made for malai kofta gravy.
- Cook on medium heat for 8-9 minutes till it thickens up.
- Keep stirring in between.
- Add cream and yogurt in it and mix it well and cook for 2-3 minutes while continuously stirring it.
- Season it with salt to taste.
- Also add 1 cup water in it and let it boil for 6-7 minutes. Adjust the consistency of gravy as per your liking by adjusting water quantity
- In the last, add crushed kasuri methi over the gravy and stir it well.
- Now, switch off the flame and pour the gravy on a nice serving plate.
- Add koftas only when you are ready to serve and also pour some gravy over them.
- And, your delicious restaurant style Malai kofta is ready to eat.
- Serve kofta with Naan, rot