The North Indian cuisine bucket is delectable and extensive. However, among all the exotic vegetarian curries, the Malai Kofta Recipe stands out. Typically made of minced meat, Koftas are used in a myriad of Indian dishes. But vegetarians use vegetables or paneer as an alternative to meat in the Paneer Kofta Recipe.
Veg Koftas are deep-fried oval-shaped potato paneer balls. Besides paneer and potatoes, people add cauliflower, carrots, green peas, raw banana and other veggies to add flavour and personalise the dish.
What is Malai Kofta?
Well, it’s a creamy and rich onion-tomato gravy with crispy potato paneer balls dunked in it. Think of it as a nicely balanced curry with a soft, velvety, and tangy flavour. You get a moderately sweet flavour from onions, velvety and creamy texture from cooking cream or malai, and tangy flavour from the spices used.
Malai Kofta is typically paired with naan, roti, plain rice, or jeera rice. On the downside, the malai kofta recipe is quite time-consuming. So, it would be better to recreate this restaurant-style Malai Kofta on weekends or special occasions.
Without any further ado, let’s see how to cook the Malai Kofta recipe at home.
How to Make a Malai Kofta?
To begin with, we shall prepare the onion and tomato-based malai kofta white gravy before making deep-fried potato and paneer balls. So let’s begin with gravy preparation.
1. Gravy Preparation
Below are the ingredients required for Malai Kofta gravy preparation.
- Oil – 1 teaspoon
- Cinnamon stick – 1 of ½ or ¾ inches
- Cloves – 3 to 4
- Cubed onion – 1 cup
- Chopped tomatoes – 1 and ½ cup
- Cashew Nuts – 15 to 20
- Water – ½ cup
Make sure to wash tomatoes and onions properly before chopping them.
The gravy of the malai kofta recipe is easy to prepare if you follow the following steps.
- Take oil in a pan, heat it on a medium flame, add cloves and a cinnamon stick. Saute well until cloves and cinnamon leave their aroma.
- Next, add onions and fry them until they turn translucent.
- Add cashews and fry for a minute.
- It’s time to add diced tomatoes and statue them until they turn soft and slushy.
- Let the mixture cool completely. Later, take a blending pot, add the cooled mixture and a half cup of water, and blend into a smooth paste.
- Take a sieve and filter the paste to remove any hard particles.
Keep this smooth and filtered puree aside.
2. Making Malai Kofta Gravy
After the preparation, we shall now proceed to cook a flavoursome Malai Kofta gravy.
- Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Bay leaf – 1
- Green cardamoms – 3 to 4
- Ginger-garlic paste – ½ teaspoon
- Cinnamon stick – 1 of ½ inch
- Red chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
- Garam masala – 1 and ¼ teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
- Salt as per the taste
- Sugar – ¾ teaspoon
- Water – ¾ cup
- Kasuri Methi – 1 teaspoon
- Fresh cream – 3 to 4 tablespoons
3. Malai Kofta Recipe
- In a pan, add oil and keep the stove flame at medium intensity. Next, put in bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and green cardamoms and fry them for around a minute.
- Put in ginger garlic paste and fry it unless both ingredients leave their raw fragrance.
- Turn the stove flame to low and add red chilli powder, coriander powder, salt, garam masala, and sugar. Mix all well and immediately pour the onion-tomato paste.
- You can even add the onion-tomato paste first and then dry spice powders. When you add spice powders directly to the hot oil, the chances of burning them run high.
- Stir the mixture well and cook for around three to five minutes. It’s an important part of the malai kofta recipe. There is no concern regarding onions leaving their smell, as they are already sauteed and turned into paste.
- It is time to add some water to the gravy according to the consistency you desire to have. For a little runny gravy, add ¼ cup of water than what is mentioned in the ingredient list.
- Let the gravy cook for 10-15 minutes. Prefer keeping the pan covered with a lid. Once it turns thick and some oil traces appear on the top, your gravy is ready.
- Introduce crushed Kasuri Methi and mix the concoction well. Taste the gravy to determine the salt.
- Finally, the fresh cream goes in the gravy. Stir well and turn off the heat.
The Malai Kofta recipe gravy is ready. While it cools, it’s time to prepare Koftas.
4. Kofta Recipe
Below is a step by step recipe for the basic variant of Kofta, i.e., potato and paneer Kofta.
- Potatoes – 2 large
- Grated or crumbled paneer – 1 cup
- Ginger – garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
- Chopped green chillies – 2 to 3
- Cornstarch – 2 to 3 tablespoons
- Salt – ½ to 1 teaspoon
- Raisins – 1 teaspoon
- Chopped cashews – 1 teaspoon
- Garam masala – ¾ to 1 teaspoon
Here’s the recipe for malai kofta
- Take potatoes, place them in a pressure cooker along with water and cook it for two whistles. After that, turn off the stove and allow the cooker to cool down.
- Take out potatoes and cool them completely. Peel off the skin and grate or crumble them. Ensure the potatoes retain their hardness and don’t turn mushy while grating or crumbling.
- Add crumbled or grated paneer and potatoes, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, cornstarch, garam masala, salt, cashews, and raisins in a bowl.
- Give a good mix of all these ingredients and form a smooth dough.
- Shape the dough into an oval or round. Make sure to grease your palms with oil before making balls. Turn the entire dough into small balls.
- In a pan, add oil for frying and heat it on a high flame. Ensure the oil achieves an optimal temperature. If it has not, balls will sink and stick to the pan. Try adding one ball to the oil and check if it does not sink.
- Once the oil heats, regulate the stove flame to medium and add balls to it one by one.
- Fry koftas until they become golden and crunchy. Do not overburn them.
Assembling Malai Kofta Recipe
Flavourful Koftas and creamy gravy are ready. Now, it is time to assemble both. Remember to add Koftas to the gravy just before serving, as they turn soggy and mushy if added earlier.
Take a deep bowl, add cool gravy and place Koftas over it. To garnish it, add finely chopped coriander leaves and one teaspoon of fresh cream on the top.
Malai Kofta is ready.
Here’re a few pro tips for the restaurant-style malai kofta recipe.
- Do not overcook potatoes, as they turn Koftas soft. For Koftas to have a crunchy and crispy outer layer and soft inner layer, potatoes should be cooked optimally.
- Cornstarch, a binding element, prevents Koftas from being scattered in the oil while frying. Moreover, cornstarch helps Koftas turn crispy and firm. Two readily available substitutes to cornstarch are gram flour or besan and arrowroot powder.
- Cashews add an extra creaminess to the gravy and richness to Koftas. You can even use soaked almonds or poppy seeds as substitutes for cashew nuts.
- Make sure to add every ingredient as per the given quantity. Any alteration in the quantity may change the taste.
- Do not add hot Koftas to the gravy. Let the fried Koftas cool completely and add them to the gravy just before serving it.
Try out this Malai Kofta recipe and recreate the restaurant-style taste at home. Malai Kofta being heavier and filling, you can serve it with simple roti or plain basmati rice. For a perfect Punjabi meal, serve Malai Kofta with jeera rice, butter naan, in addition to lassi and any dessert, like carrot halwa.
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