Malai Kofta - Vege-balls in a Thick Sauce Recipe

Malai kofta
Easycooking/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
Ratings (33)
  • Total: 2 hrs
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4

Malai Kofta is a hugely popular dish on Indian restaurant menus all over the world. It is a special occasion food probably because making it is a labor of love and takes time and effort.

Malai (meaning creamy in Hindi) Kofta is the perfect vegetarian alternative to meatballs. It goes very well with Naan (tandoor-baked flatbread) or Jeera Rice.


  • For the Koftas:
  • 2 cups boiled potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, peas, sweet corn) boiled
  • 1 cup paneer cubes
  • 2 tbsp. of thickened/heavy/double cream
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, and cashew nuts)
  • 1/4 cup of raisins (chopped fine)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 cups vegetable (or canola or sunflower) cooking oil for frying (or more as needed)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable (or canola or sunflower cooking oil)
  • 2 large onions (quartered)
  • 2 tomatoes (quartered)
  • 2 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds (lightly roasted and ground into a powder)
  • 3 tbsp. nuts (cashews and almonds, ground into a thick paste)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp. garam masala

Steps to Make It

Mash the potatoes, mixed vegetables, paneer and cream together. Add the kofta spices to this mash and mix well. The resulting dough should be firm. If not add some more boiled potato. Season with salt.

Make this dough into balls and put 1/2 a tsp of the nut and raisin mix in the center of each ball. Roll into perfect rounds.

Heat the oil kept aside to fry the koftas, on a medium flame. Deep fry these rounds till pale golden in colour.

Drain on paper towels and keep aside.

For the gravy, first heat the 3 tbsps of oil in a deep pan and fry the onions till light brown.

Grind into a paste along with the tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin and red chilli powders.

Put this paste back into the pan and fry till the oil begins to separate from the masala.

Add the poppy seeds powder and nut paste and fry for another 2-3 minutes.

Add 1 cup of warm water (the sauce for this dish is meant to be thick so do not add too much water) to this masala to form a sauce/gravy. Mix well. Season with salt.

Bring the sauce/gravy to a boil and then reduce the fire to a simmer.

Gently add the kofas to this sauce/ gravy and cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes.

Turn off the fire and sprinkle the garam masala all over the top of the dish. Cover immediately and allow to sit for 5 minutes.