Originating from northern India, malai kofta is a deep fried dough made of veggies and paneer coated in a creamy tomato base sauce mixed with delicious cream. It is a popular dish amongst many restaurants around the world, and is a delicacy in Mughlai cuisine, which dates back to the 1500’s. 

Malai refers to the cream added to the recipe, and kofta is the doughy balls that are deep fried and added to the creamy sauce. The spices used in this dish add an abundance of flavor and aroma to the recipe. Some include garam masala, coriander, allspice and cardamom.

Although this is a simple recipe to follow, the precision needed to construct the kofta is very important to making this dish correctly. There should be no moisture present in the dough mixture, and the dough needs to be firm in order to fry perfectly. 

When you get the hang of the dough, the rest of the recipe is simple to follow, and is delicious served alongside rice or naan. 

If you’d like to give the dish a try for yourself, follow the steps below!

Recipe

Preparation
  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. When the oil turns hot, add cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon.
  2. Then add onions and saute until they turn transparent or golden.
  3. Next add tomatoes and cashews. Sauté for 2 to 3 mins. Pour half cup water and boil all the ingredients until soft and mushy.
  4. Turn off the stove and cool completely. Blend to a smooth puree.
How to make Malai Kofta
  1. Boil potatoes just until fork tender and not mushy.
  2. Crumble them and add to a mixing bowl.
  3. Add crumbled paneer, ginger paste, corn flour, salt, garam masala and chopped coriander leaves.
  4. Mix everything well and divide the dough to 8 equal parts. Roll them to balls.
  5. Heat oil in a pot for deep frying. Check if the oil is hot enough by sliding in a small portion of the malai kofta mixture. It has to rise without browning a lot. This is the right temperature.
  6. Test the dough: Wait for the oil to heat up. Pinch off 1 teaspoon of the kofta mixture and roll to a small ball. Slide it to the hot oil to ensure the mixture is right and does not disintegrate.
  7. If the ball does not disintegrate or disperse in oil, then go ahead with the next step. If the ball disintegrates, add more corn starch to fix it.
  8. Slide the koftas one by one gently to the hot oil.
  9. Deep fry on a medium flame until crisp and golden. Remove them to a steel colander or plate.
Making Curry
  • Heat a pan with oil or butter.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and saute for about 2 to 3 mins.
  • Quickly stir in chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder,salt and sugar. Pour the onion tomato puree. Mix it well.
  • Saute for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Pour ½ to ¾ cup water to make a gravy. Cook covered until the gravy thickens and traces of oil are seen on top.
  • Add kasuri methi and taste test. If needed add more salt.
  • Regulate the flame to low and add cream. Stir and turn off the heat. Set this aside.
Assembling Malai Kofta
  • Cool the gravy completely and transfer it to a serving dish.
  • Cool the malai koftas slightly. Place them in the gravy and pour 1 tbsp of cream. (avoid adding hot koftas to hot gravy)
  • Garnish malai kofta with coriander leaves & serve with butter naan or Jeera rice.

Ingredients

For Malai Kofta
  • 1 cup paneer, crumbled
  • 1 cup potato, boiled and crumbled
  • 2½ tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped finely
  • salt as needed
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • Oil for deep frying
To Saute & Puree
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup onions cubed
  • 1½ cup tomatoes cubed
  • 15 cashew nuts
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1½ tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • ¾ to 1¼ tsp garam masala(adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • ½ to ¾ tsp sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi
  • 3 to 4 tbsp cream

 

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