Malai Kofta

Malai Kofta is a creamy, mildly spiced Indian delicacy – fried potato and cottage cheese dumplings covered in a thick spice-based gravy through which individual flavours reveal themselves very subtly. Prepared on special occasions, like Diwali and Holi, Malai Kofta is best enjoyed with hot naan. Chef Danish Ashraf, Executive Sous Chef at the Renaissance Convention Centre Hotel, Mumbai -- who specializes in Modern European Cuisine -- shared this recipe along with tips to create that perfect gravy. 

Preparation time 20m Difficulty
Cooking time 20m Budget
Serves 6 Published Friday, 06 December 2013
Recipe type Vegetarian Author
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For 6 people ()


  • For gravy:
  • 1500 grams onions
  • 90 grams curd
  • oil for frying
  • 30 grams vanaspati ghee / ghee (clarified butter)
  • 10 grams whole garam masalas (bay leaf, black cardamom, green cardamom)
  • 30 grams charmagaz (melon seeds) paste (20 gm of charmagaz make 30 gm of paste)
  • 100 grams cashew paste (80 gm of cashews make 100 gm of paste)
  • 30 grams chironji paste (20 gm of chironji make 30 gm of paste)
  • 30 mL cream
  • 3 teaspoon(s) red chilly powder
  • 2 slit green chilly
  • 3 tablespoon(s) cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) turmeric
  • 3 tablespoon(s) coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon(s) salt
  • 30 grams coriander leaves
  • For Koftas
  • 500 grams cottage cheese (paneer)
  • 100 grams boiled potatoes
  • 40 grams ginger
  • 2 green chilly
  • 30 grams coriander leaves
  • 1 tablespoon(s) garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon(s) salt
  • For the filling
  • 50 grams cottage cheese
  • 100 grams khoya/mawa (reduced milk)
  • 2 tablespoon(s) black cumin seeds (shahi jeera)
  • 60 grams raisins
  • saffron
  • 60 grams nuts

Malai Kofta Directions
  1. For the gravy, pour Vanaspati ghee (vegetable oil) in a pan. To this, add all whole garam masalas and cook for a few minutes till the mixture turns light brown. This way, the oil is infused with the flavours of these masalas.
  2. Remove the whole garam masalas with a slotted spoon. In the same oil, add cumin seeds and let them crackle. To this, add finely chopped onions and cook till the mixture turns brown. When done, the oil will separate and the onions will come together.
  3. In a blender, combine these onions with curd to make a smooth paste.
  4. Now add some more ghee to the pan and add the paste. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes. To this, add turmeric, slit green chilies, cumin powder and coriander powder. Next add the cashew, chironji and charmagaz pastes.
  5. Let the gravy simmer for a few minutes until the curd is cooked. Keep stirring to keep the gravy from sticking to the bottom of the pan and getting burnt. If the gravy becomes too thick, add some water and continue to cook till it is done. It will take about 3-4 gentle simmers (cook for approximately 15 minutes).
  6. For the koftas, mash boiled potatoes, grate the paneer and ginger, and chop green chilies and coriander leaves finely. Now mix all of these together along with salt and garam masala. 
  7. Prepare the filling by mixing all the filling ingredients together. Mash and mix well.
  8. Take some of the kofta mixture in your hand and roll it into a small ball. Make a well in the centre of the ball with your thumb and put the filling in it. Pinch the kofta ball together, gently rounding it again between your palms till the filling inside is completely covered.
  9. Put the kofta balls aside and let them rest for about 30 minutes. Dust the balls in corn flour and fry in hot oil over low flame to ensure the kofta is well cooked on the inside and outside.
  10. Before adding koftas to the gravy, if required, thin down the gravy with water or cream. Add the koftas to this gravy and cook again for about 5 minutes. 

  11. To garnish, mix some saffron strands into hot milk and pour over the koftas.
  12. Serve hot with rice or naan.
  13. Tip#1: Vanaspati ghee helps the gravy congeal when stored in the deep freezer.
  14. Tip#2: For best results, the kofta mixture should be rested for some time before making the koftas.
  15. Tip#3: During the preparation of the gravy, keep the cashew and charmagaz paste separate. If mixed together and kept aside, the paste will turn grey.
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