Malai Kofta and Favorite Recipes

Malai Kofta Recipe

I look forward to my blog hops every Friday. I love selecting a theme – usually an ingredient or holiday – and seeing what everyone links up. The entries never fail to surprise and impress me, and I often return to the blog hops for inspiration. There’s a lovely community feel to boot, in the same way that a potluck has a sense of community. Today’s theme isn’t a specific ingredient, it’s much looser than usual. Today I just want to see your favorite recipe or recipes. What dish on your blog do you make all the time, or are you especially proud of?


A while ago I shared my simple recipe for homemade paneer and promised a recipe that uses paneer at some point in the near future. Well, better late than never. This is one of those dishes that I’d eaten out numerous times but never thought to make at home. But since making this delicious version, I’ve had a hard time ordering it when we go out for Indian since it’s so darn good.

Malai Kofta RecipeWhile the recipe is a bit time consuming, especially if you start with homemade paneer, it’s not particularly difficult and the result is restaurant-quality. Boiled potatoes, carrots, and peas are mashed with paneer and garam masala before being formed into about 30 kofta, or meatballs. They’re then deep fried (ok, so they’re vegetarian and gluten free but maybe not the healthiest dish on the block) and tossed in a flavorful Indian gravy.

Malai Kofta Recipe

The key to the dish is to eat it immediately. The fried kofte are crispy on the outside but soft in the middle, and so if they are left in the gravy for a while the whole thing turns to mush. A delicious mush, but not exactly what you’d want to serve to company. If you want to break up the effort, prepare the kofta and gravy the day before, then just before serving fry the kofta and add them to the reheated gravy.

Malai Kofta Recipe

4.5 from 2 reviews
Malai Kofta
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Malai kofta (Indian vegetarian "meat"balls made with paneer and vegetables) has become popular at Indian restaurants around the world, and but they’re easily made at home.
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
For the kofta:
  • 1 pound (470 grams) potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • ½ cup (60g/2oz/1 large) diced carrot
  • ½ cup (70g/2.5 oz) fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 cup cubed paneer
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt
For the gravy:
  • Oil or ghee
  • 2 large onions, coarsely grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 6 plum tomatoes, coarsely grated
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ cup finely ground cashews
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup water
To Assemble and Serve:
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Flour or cornstarch
  1. Put the potatoes, carrots and peas in a pot filled with water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Drain and roughly mash. Add the paneer, garam masala, and salt and mash together until a soft, smooth dough forms.
  3. Form into about 30 1-inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper-lined sheet. Refrigerate while you make the sauce (can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered in plastic wrap, and refrigerated).
  4. In a large sauté pan with a lid, heat some oil or ghee over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and fry until very soft and lightly browned (do not burn). Add the tomatoes, garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric and cashews.
  5. Cook for a few minutes before adding the cream and water. Stir to combine. At this point you can blend the gravy with an immersion blender for a smooth sauce, or leave it as is for more texture. Sauce can be made 1 day ahead (the flavors get even better!), covered and refrigerated, and heated up before continuing.
  6. Cover and put on the back burner over low heat while you fry the kofta.
  7. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. It should sizzle when you put a drop of water in it.
  8. Put flour or cornstarch on a plate or shallow bowl. Roll each ball in the flour and carefully drop into the hot oil. Fry, turning once, until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet.
  9. Once the kofta are cooked and slightly drained, add them to the sauce and remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for a few minutes. Serve immediately (if possible fry the kofta and add to the sauce just before serving, otherwise they can get soggy).
Gluten Free, Kosher Dairy, and Vegetarian

Some roll the kofta in breadcrumbs, some in flour, some in a batter, and some fry just as is. A rare few even bake them for a slightly healthier version.

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17 thoughts on “Malai Kofta and Favorite Recipes

  1. Willow

    Thanks for hosting yet another awesome round-up! I was so excited when you said this weeks theme was “Favorites”. I could hardly choose! I’ve never tried malai kofta, but it sounds delicious. Will have to order some the next time I’m at an Indian restaurant! 🙂

  2. john@kitchenriffs

    Such a great dish! I’ve had this often in restaurants, but have never made it. Nor have I ever made my own paneer, although I will be within the next year. Really good stuff – thanks so much.

  3. easyfoodsmith

    Malai Kofta is such a classic Indian dish. We love it here and your recipe is perfect.
    Blog hopping here after more than a year since I was away on hiatus all this while but so glad to be here again.

  4. Wendy

    Malai kofta is my vegetarian daughter’s favorite Indian dish! I never even thought of making it at home and am so glad to have this recipe! Thank you. Do you think the kofta could be pan fried in less oil, more like sauted?

    • Katherine

      So glad you found it as well! And I’m so sorry for my delayed response – I don’t think sautéing the kofte would work since I would be nervous that they would fall apart. If you’re looking for a more health conscious approach (although these are vegetarian, it’s not the healthiest meal) I would try baking them – I’ve never done it so can’t guarantee how they would turn out, but I’d be curious to see. I think it might work.

  5. Samantha

    The only problem I encountered while making this for dinner tonight was that my kofta balls were falling apart while frying. Any suggestions?

    • Katherine

      Hm they can be a bit delicate but I haven’t had them fall apart when frying before. It sounds like maybe the oil wasn’t hot enough? Or perhaps if your paneer or potatoes were more watery they wouldn’t stick together as well. Hope they work better next time!

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