Malai Kofta | Restaurant Style Paneer Kofta is a rich, creamy dumpling curry. It is made with potato and paneer and dunked into a gravy.
Koftas are meatballs, made of ground meat and found in Asian and Middle Eastern Cuisine. The Asians have adapted the vegetarian version, and for today we will talk of one such Kofta.
Crisp on the outside and soft inside these fried dumplings melt in your mouth. We dunk them in a smooth and silky gravy, made with onions and tomatoes. Serve them with a hot Ajwain Paratha or a Warqi Paratha or even with Perfectly Cooked Rice.
Ingredients for Malai Kofta
Paneer: Homemade paneer is the best, but you can always use store-bought. It cuts down the extra time and effort. Grate the paneer.
Potatoes: I like to boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker, allow them to cool before using.
Cashews/ Raisins / Poppy Seeds: I mix all three chopped cashews, chopped raisins and poppy seeds for stuffing.
Spices: Salt and Garam Masala are the only spices that I add to the kofta dough. You can add a pinch of chilly powder to the stuffing to enhance the flavour, though it is optional.
Herbs: Coriander is my favourite herb and I use it lavishly. Use green chilly paste or pound the chillies.
Ingredients for the Gravy
Oil / Butter / Ghee: I have used a combination of oil and butter. Butter adds a nice rich flavour. Instead, you can use ghee or simply use oil.
Onion: I use red onions for the gravy, and chop roughly.
Tomatoes: Fresh ripe tomatoes will lend a beautiful colour and flavour.
Ginger Garlic: I like to make a paste of the two. Use in equal ratio.
Cashews: They help to make a thick, nutty and creamy gravy.
Whole Spices: Saute them in butter for best results.
Seasoning: I use homemade Garam Masala.
Milk / Cream: I prefer to add milk to adjust the gravy consistency and make the dish rich, but you can use water as well. The cream makes it look tempting, besides making it rich.
Kasoori Methi: It will lend a wonderful aroma to the dish.
How to make Malai Kofta | Restaurant style Paneer Kofta
Malai Kofta is made in two parts, Kofta and Gravy.
Let’s make the Koftas first
To make Kofta first we will boil the potatoes. I prefer to boil them in a traditional pressure cooker, but a microwave or an instant pot works fine too. Do not over boil the potatoes. Peel and mash them after they cool down.
Next, we will grate the paneer and mix in green chilly paste or pounded green chilly, coriander leaves, gram masala, cornflour and finally salt.
Mix everything with hands so everything comes together. We have a smooth potato paneer dough. Take a test check for salt and flavour.
At this time I also take a frying test check. Heat oil and dunk in a small ball from the prepared dough. If it disintegrates then add more cornflour.
We will make the stuffing by mixing chopped cashews, raisins, poppy seeds, a pinch of red chilly powder, salt and chopped coriander. If you want, you can incorporate the nuts and raisins in the potato and paneer dough too, but I prefer to stuff the koftas.
Now we will pinch out a lemon sized ball, remember to grease your hands. Flatten the ball, place a tsp of stuffing and bring the edges together to seal. Shape into round balls or oval koftas. Deep fry on medium to high flame to a golden.
Let’s proceed to make the Gravy now.
Using a pan or kadhai we will first saute onion and ginger garlic paste in oil. Saute till the onions change their colour. Light pink is the perfect colour.
Next, add roughly chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes are soft and mushy. I normally add cashews halfway, but it is ok to add at the beginning too.
Cook the onion-tomato mix, till oil, separates. cool. Let it come to room temperature. Now we will blend it into a fine paste, adding water if required. Finally, sieve it to get rid of seeds and skin and resulting in a smooth paste.
The next step is to cook the gravy. Heat oil and add butter. Simmer the flame, so that butter doesn’t burn.
Add cumin, cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon and clove, saute them till aromatic. Now add red chilly powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. Saute for a few seconds and finally add the prepared paste and salt. Cook till the oil separates.
Since the paste is thick, add either water or milk to adjust the gravy consistency. Bring it to a boil, and add gram masala.
To serve the dish add koftas to the gravy and simmer for a minute, or place them in a serving bowl and pour hot gravy. Garnish with cream and coriander leaves. I like to add some pomegranate pearls too, but they are optional.
Can I make these Koftas Vegan?
Substitute Tofu for Paneer.
Oil is a good substitute for Ghee and Butter.
Use Almond Milk.
Coconut Cream works well or skip the cream.
Can I avoid Deep Frying the Koftas?
Fried Koftas taste best, but I too at times avoid fried foods.
I use airyer to fry the koftas.
I even brush the Appe Pan with a little oil and roast them.
And lastly, you can even bake the koftas.
Other Restaurant Style Dishes that I make
Malai Kofta | Restaurant Style Paneer Kofta
- 3 Boiled Potatoes
- 3/4 cup Cottage Cheese / Paneer Grated
- 1-2 Green Chilly finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Coriander Leaves finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp Garam Masala
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp Maida
- 2 tbsp Raisins chopped
- 2 tbsp Cashew chopped cashew
- 1 tsp Poppy Seeds
Oil for Frying
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1 Onion roughly chopped
- 1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 2 Tomatoes roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp Cashew
- 1 tbsp Butter/ Ghee
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 pod Cardamom
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 inch Cinnamon
- 2 Cloves
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilly Powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- ¾ tsp Coriander Powder
- ¼ tsp Cumin Powder
- Salt to taste
- ¼ cup Cream
- ½ cup Milk
- 1 tsp Kasoori Methi crushed
- ¼ tsp Garam Masala
- In a large mixing bowl take the potato and paneer.
- Mash them well.
- Add green chilly, coriander,cumin powder and salt to taste.
- Now add maida and mix well forming a soft dough. Maida helps to absorb moisture and bind the mixture well.
- Mix chopped raisins, chopped cashew and poppy seeds.
- Add a pinch of salt, finely chopped coriander leaves and a pinch of chilly powder.
- Mix well making sure all the spices are well combined.
- Grease your hands and pinch out a small lemon sized ball from the potato mixture.
- Place 1/2 tsp of stuffing and bring the sides together to close the ball.
- Shape either into round or oval koftas.
- Similarly make all koftas.
- Deep fry on medium hot oil.
- Stir occasionally, making sure the koftas are cooked uniformly.
- Fry until the kofta turn golden brown and crisp.
- Drain off the koftas and keep aside.
- Firstly, in a pan heat oil. Saute onion and ginger garlic paste.
- Saute until onions changes colour slightly.
- Add tomatoes, and cook till soft and mushy, in between add cashews.
- Cool completely and transfer to a blender.
- Blend the mix to a smooth paste adding water if required.
- Sieve the mixture to get rid of skin and seeds.
- Next, in a large kadai heat a tbsp of butter and oil.
- Saute cumin, cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon,clove until it turns aromatic.
- Reduce the flame to low, add chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder and cumin powder.
- Saute until the spices turn aromatic.
- Now add in the prepared onion tomato puree, salt and mix well.
- Cover and cook until the mixture starts to thicken and oil separates from sides.
- Add milk and mix well adjusting consistency as required.
- Bring the curry to a boil and sprinkle gram masala.
- Add the koftas just before serving.
- Garnish with fresh cream, kasoori methi and pomegranate pearls.
- Do not boil the koftas in the gravy for long. It might disintegrate.
- Add the kofta to the gravy just before serving the dish.
- I prefer to heat the koftas in an air fryer or microwave.