Today I am here with an immensely popular recipe in the ‘carte du jour’ of any Indian restaurant and the most popular substitute for any non-veg dish in the country. Breaking the suspense, yes, I am talking about MALAI KOFTA!
Crushed paneer (cottage cheese) mixed with mashed potato, stuffed with dry fruits, deep-fried in hot oil and served in a tomato-onion-nuts gravy is in a nutshell what malai kofta is all about. Malai literally means cream. Koftas are deep-fried dumplings. The non-veg ones are often referred to as meatballs. For vegetarians, meat is replaced by either veggies or paneer! It’s called Malai kofta possibly because the koftas are dipped in malai or cream is added to the gravy.
Malai kofta is one of my personal favourites. So, it’s but obvious that I would love to prepare this dish in my kitchen often! Undoubtedly, the whole process is a little tedious and time consuming….. making the koftas meticulously, deep frying it carefully, preparing the gravy and finally assembling the dish is quite an arduous affair! But once it’s served hot with naan or tandoori roti (varieties of Indian bread), and the soft koftas simply melt in your mouth and the rich gravy effuses all its tastes and aromas in the palate and finally that lingering effect of the aftertaste…. Yes, it’s definitely worth all the time and effort preparing this dish! Confidently I can confess that I don’t mind “wasting” time on this lip-smacking preparation!
DIFFICULTY LEVEL- Moderate
PREPARATION TIME- 30 MIN, approx.
COOKING TIME- 20-25 min, approx.
- Cottage cheese- 150 gm
- Potato- 2 medium size
- Cornflour- 1 tbsp
- Green chilli- 1 chopped
- Gram masala- 1 tsp
- Dry fruits (Cashew, Raisin)- 3 tbsp., finely chopped
- Salt- to taste
- Oil- for deep frying
- Onion- 1 large, chopped
- Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tbsp.
- Green chillies- 1, chopped
- Tomato- 1 big, chopped
- Cashew paste- 2 tbsp
- Cream- 4-5 tbsp
- Salt- to taste
- Sugar- ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
- Red chilli powder- ¼ tsp
- Cumin powder- ½ tsp
- Coriander powder- ½ tsp
- Garam masala- ½ tsp
- Dry fenugreek (Kasuri methi)- 1 tsp
- Oil- 3-4 tbsp
Boil and mash potatoes.
Crumble the paneer and mash it lightly.
Add salt, spices and cornflour and mix it nicely. It should be of smooth consistency.
Shape the koftas into a round shape or slightly flatten them.
Stuff the koftas with some chopped dry fruits and shape into either round or slightly flatten them.
Keep in the fridge for at least ½ hr.
Heat oil and deep fry the koftas in a non-stick pan.
Take it out on a paper napkin to absorb the excess oil.
Koftas are ready.
In the same pan add 2 tbsp. of oil and fry the chopped onion till brown in colour.
Add ginger-garlic paste.
Add green chillies and tomatoes.
Add the cashew paste and mix well.
Put off the gas when spices are nicely mixed with onion-tomatoes and its mushy in nature.
Put 1-2 tbsp of water.
Let it get cool completely.
Run it in a mixer to get a smooth consistency.
Put another 2 tbsp oil in a pan.
Add whole cumin and add the tomato-onion paste.
Put turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder.
Add crushed Kasuri methi.
When it turns aromatic, add the cashew paste.
Add salt and sugar.
Add 1 cup of water, cover and cook for another 10 min.
If the gravy turns too thick add some more water.
Now sprinkle garam masala and put off the gas.
In a serving platter arrange the koftas and pour over the gravy. Pour cream and sprinkle some chopped green coriander leave.
Serve hot with naan/ tandoori roti/ roomali roti.
Enjoy delightful malai kofta.
I prefer to use home-made cottage cheese as its convenient to obtain.
Sometimes I shallow fry the koftas in a non-stick pan to enjoy guilt-free malai kofta. But deep frying the koftas would definitely enhance the taste.
Omit the use of cashew paste if you want to cut down the calorie count.
Dip the fried koftas in heavy cream before adding to the gravy. This process is optional but would sure enhance the taste. I mostly follow this step and omit to pour cream on top of the koftas before serving!
The recipe is not so simple. It’s not too difficult either, but definitely, it is a lengthy and time-consuming affair. But then this is the recipe of a royal dish, a dish to relish and remember. That justifies the elaborate process and tedious procedure! Happy cooking!