Indian Veggie Balls (Malai Kofta)

Malai kofta vege balls recipe

​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  • 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.

Ingredients

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

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this kofta dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Kofta

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for kofta
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Wash, peel, and dice the potatoes.

    Wash and peel potatoes
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Boil them in a pot of water until fork tender.

    Boil potatoes
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Drain and set aside.

    Drain
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Next, boil the veggies until crisp-tender.

    Boil veggies
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Drain and set aside.

    Drain
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. In a large bowl, mash the boiled potatoes, mixed vegetables, paneer, and cream together.

    Mash ingredients
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  8. Add the kofta spices - cumin, coriander, and red chili powder - to this mash and mix well. The resulting dough should be firm. If not add some more boiled potato. Season with salt.

    Add spices
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  9. In a small bowl, combine the chopped nuts and raisins.

    Add chopped nuts
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  10. Make this dough into balls and put a 1/2 teaspoon of the nut and raisin mix in the center of each ball.

    Add filling
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  11. Roll into perfect rounds.

    Roll into balls
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  12. In a large pot, heat the oil kept aside to fry the koftas, on a medium flame.

    Heat oil
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  13. Deep fry these rounds till pale golden in color.

    Deep fry
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  14. Drain on paper towels and keep aside.

    Lay out of paper towels
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

Make the Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for sauce
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a deep pan and fry the onions till light brown.

    Onions in pan
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. In a small food processor, place the fried onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, and red chili powder, and grind into a paste.

    Process
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Put this paste back into the pan and fry till the oil begins to separate from the masala.

    Paste in pan
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska 
  5. Add the poppy seeds powder and nut paste and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.

    Add poppy seed powder
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. 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 gravy. Mix well. Season with salt.

    Add water
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. Bring the gravy to a boil and then reduce the fire to a simmer.

    Stir
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  8. Gently add the koftas to this gravy and cook uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes.

    Add koftas
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  9. Turn off the fire and sprinkle the garam masala all over the top of the dish.

    Add spices
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  10. Cover immediately and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

    Cover
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  11. Serve with hot naans (tandoor-baked leavened Indian flatbread) or jeera rice.

    Serve
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  12. Enjoy!

    Malai kofta
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

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