CREAMY MALAI KOFTA
This ultimate indulgence , Malai Kofta has it all, a silky and smooth golden sauce, protein packed dumplings, richest nutty flavor to make it worthy of a feast.
It beautifully pairs up with tandoori roti, butter naan or steamed long-grained basmati rice. A pure bliss for vegetarians to be served on special occasions or get-togethers.
As the festival of Holi is at a short distance , you can plan it to have on your lunch or dinner menu and it is sure to mesmerize all by its aromatic subtle flavors.
What is Malai Kofta ?
Malai Kofta is one of the most popular Indian vegetarian dish to please vegetarians who are looking for a hearty meal. This exotic dish tops the menu of almost all Indian restaurants.
It literally translates as Malai = creamy , Kofta = deep-fried veg dumplings(here made with potato and paneer).
How to make Malai Kofta ?
Some recipes are meant for special occasions or when you want to have something special. This is one such recipe. I won't say that it is easy and simple to make. The process is lengthy and time consuming but it is all worth it.
You have to work on two parts ; Kofta and Gravy/Curry , then assemble them in a dish when you serve.
Kofta - is made with potato and fresh homemade paneer, stuffed with khoya ,cashew, raisins , green chili and my secret ingredient saffron. Adding saffron to the stuffing makes the kofta more exotic.
For binding cornflour is added to the potato and paneer mixture that makes the outer layer of the kofta.
The stuffing is made with fresh khoya/mava, cashew, raisins, green chili, saffron and spices. If khoya/mava is not available you can add fresh malai or thick cream to the stuffing.
The stuffed kofta is then deep fried to a golden color on medium flame. Make sure you do not overcrowd the pan while frying the kofta otherwise the kofta will disintegrate and you have to begin it all again.
Also, add the kofta in the pan for frying once the oil is hot otherwise the kofta will stick to the bottom of the pan.
Always use fresh homemade paneer for melt-in-mouth koftas. It gives a way better result than store-bought fresh paneer or frozen paneer.
Gravy /Curry - These koftas are served on the bed of velvety, rich gravy made with onion, tomato, ginger-garlic, cashews and spices.
The gravy is smooth and slightly sweetened. I use a combination of sugar and honey for the perfect mild sweet flavor.
Another combination that works wonders in the gravy is oil and butter. Add oil and butter in the ratio of 1:1 for smoothness and glaze.
Just a pinch of saffron in the gravy infuses beautiful color and flavor. I strongly recommend using saffron in gravy as well as in the stuffing for the koftas.
Another intense spice used in the gravy to impart sweet and warm flavor is cardamom. I add cardamom while sauteing onion and tomatoes. The wonderful complex flavor of cardamon adds exotic depth to the dish.
This mildly sweet Malai Kofta goes well with any Indian flatbread like butter naan, tandoori roti, laccha paratha or even plain phulka.
It pairs well with steamed long-grain basmati rice , jeera rice as well.
Drizzle some cream and garnish with saffron threads soaked in water , coriander leaves when serving the Malai Kofta.
Tips for creamy restaurant-style Malai Kofta
If you want to enjoy the restaurant-style Malai Kofta in the comfort of your home then I have got some tips and tricks listed below for you.
Fresh, soft and moist homemade paneer - The koftas are not only come out soft but also taste delicious with homemade paneer.
Secret ingredient Saffron - Add saffron threads in the stuffing of the kofta and gravy as well for exotic , rich flavor.
Sugar and Honey for delectable sweetness - A combination of sugar and honey for the mildly sweet flavor , this is what I think works well in Malai Kofta rather than adding only one at a time.
Strain the tomato-onion- cashew puree for velvety smooth gravy - Once the puree is cooked pass it through a strainer for restaurant-style smooth gravy/curry. However smooth you grind the puree straining it gives a very smooth texture to the gravy/curry.
Cuisine : Indian
Course : Main Course, Curry
Prep time : 40 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Servings : 3-4
For kofta outer cover
1 Cup fresh homemade mashed paneer
1 Cup boiled and grated potato
2 Tsp chopped coriander leaves
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper powder
1 1/2 Tbsp cornflour
For stuffing in kofta
1/4 Cup khoya/mava
1/4 Tsp sugar
1 Tsp chopped green chili
1 Tsp chopped cashews
Few saffron threads
Veg oil for frying
2 Tbsp oil
2 + 2 Tbsp butter
1 Tsp cumin seeds
2 Bay leaf halves
2 Small pieces of cinnamon
2 Whole green cardamoms slightly crushed
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Medium sized chopped onion
2 Big sized chopped tomatoes
1 + 1 Cup water
1/2 Tsp kashmiri red chili powder
1/2 Tsp salt
1 Tsp sugar
1/4 Tsp garam masala
Few saffron threads
1 Tsp crushed kasuri methi
3-4 Tsp cooking cream
1 Tbsp honey
Make the stuffing and frying the stuffed kofta
1. In a bowl add khoya, chopped cashew, raisins, chopped green chili, sugar, saffron threads and mix it well. Keep aside and use it later to stuff the kofta.
2. In another bowl add boiled and grated potato, fresh homemade mashed paneer, cornflour, salt, black pepper powder and coriander leaves.
3. Mix it well with your hands to get a smooth dough , this makes the outer cover of the kofta.
4. Divide the above dough into equal size portions, this will give you around 7-8 portions.
5. Grease your hands and take one portion of the dough on your palm and flatten a little and create a cavity in the center. Fill the cavity with the stuffing made in step 1.
6. Roll up the sides of the flatten disc shaped dough along with stuffing to make a sphere shaped kofta.
7. Roll it in between your hands to make crack free spherical kofta. Make sure the stuffing is sealed proper to avoid disintegration of kofta while frying.
8. Similarly make all the koftas and keep it ready for frying.
9. Heat oil in kadai, once the oil is hot drop the koftas slowly in the oil.
10. Keep rolling the koftas in kadai so that its golden brown from all sides.
11. Carefully take out the koftas from kadai using perforated spoon to drain excess oil.
12. Fry all the koftas, remove from kadai and keep it on a paper towel. Keep it aside and make curry/gravy.
Make the curry/gravy
13. Heat oil and butter in a pan , once heated add the bay leaf, cinnamon, green cardamom, cumin seeds.
14. Let the cumin seeds crackle and other spices sizzle a little then add onion , chopped ginger and chopped garlic. Saute for around 5 minutes till onion becomes translucent but not brown.
15. Then add the tomatoes along with cashews.
16. Cook for around 10 minutes until tomatoes become tender. Switch off the flame.
17. Once it has cool down , remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick and transfer to a blender.
18. Add 1/2-1 cup of water or as required to grind to a smooth paste.
19. Pass the puree through a strainer and collect the smooth puree in a bowl or container.
20. In the same pan add butter and let it melt. Add the strained puree and cook it for 2-3 minutes.
21. Now add salt, sugar, kashmiri chili powder, garam masala , saffron threads and cook it for around 5 minutes. If you thick gravy/ curru is too thich you can add a cup of water to it at this stage. I added a cup of water and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
22. Add cream and cook it for a minute.
23. Add honey for the glaze in the gravy.
24. Finally sprinkle kasuri methi and cook it for a couple of minutes and switch off the flame. The gravy is now ready.
To serve Malai Kofta, pour the gravy in serving bowl or small serving kadai and carefully place the kofta on the bed of the gravy. You can do vice versa also.
Drizzle cream and sprinkle some saffron threads. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rice or any Indian flatbread.
Enjoy restaurant style Malai Kofta at home when you want to have something special.
If you like this recipe , you might also like recipe of Shahi Paneer
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #preetiskitchentales on Instagram! I’d love to see the recreation of my recipe in your kitchen.