Malai Kofta

Malai kofta is a simple and delicious curry that is perfect for any festive or special occasion. Made of paneer or cottage cheese, stuffed with dry fruits and a secret ingredient, these malai kofta are perfect for serving on special occasions. The gravy is silken smooth and absolutely delicious. I make it from scratch but I will include short cuts in this too. So take your pick, but make sure you make this once. I bet you will be glued to this!!

malai kofta

Given its festive season and soon time for Diwali, I thought it best to share with you all a special curry. Something that would sit perfectly on a dinner table with friends and family just as prettily as it would for a delicious meal for two -three people like my own family. Most Indians know and love this dish. There isn’t much to not love!! I mean come on when we talk vegetarian food for special occasions, paneer definitely figures in in our menu, some way or other. These deep fried paneer koftas are delicious, mildly spiced, perfect and stuffed with chopped dry fruits.

The gravy is silken smooth and delicious. Made of a base of tomato puree spiced mildly and swirled through with cream, this gravy is pretty much a standard gravy base for most of your curries. Most of your paneer and makhni based curries are mildly sweet and spiced. The key is to perfectly balance the gravy so that its subtly sweet, mildly spicy and just the right amount of creaminess. It might take you a couple of tries to get the curry to its perfect stage. Some like it sweeter, some a little more spiced , so make sure you follow your instincts and go with the flow. This malai kofta is a delicious take on a simple festive curry that is perfect to serve guests and family alike. Not too tough even for an amateur cook, this malai kofta relies a lot on one’s own palate and sensibilities. So dont wait too much. Make this malai kofta curry soon. You and your loved ones deserve this treat!

mango paneer curry in coconut milk

What do you make when you are feelin blue? Are you like me who hides in the kitchen getting lost in the various aroma of spices, the mechanical act of chopping and prepping, crossing off things to do in your mind or are you the sort who don’t even eat when upset?

If you are feeling overwhelmed by anything today, or anytime, take a pause. Retreat into your safe space for a bit. Rationalise why and what caused your feelings or reaction. Try to sort it out. And if that’s not possible just do what I do – lose yourself in the process of doing something that you love. Over time everything starts to look better once you give it some space.
For me that safe space is cooking.

So here I am today bringing you a bowl of our family favorite malai kofta curry. I use chhena (homemade cottage cheese) to make these koftas. They are mildly spiced with a lot of aromatics, ginger, green chilies, coriander leaves and shallot. Fennel seeds and aniseed flavour it further. I stuff my koftas with a mix of dry fruits (almond, cashew, pistachio and raisins) and add a secret ingredient to take the koftas to an all new level of deliciousness not found in the restaurant dishes. The gravy is super simple too.

It is a time taking dish for sure.. not something you can whip up in minutes. But at times there is comfort in these slow dishes. You take the time and effort to make it perfect, and in the process you find yourself some of that much needed calm.


Here’s some more Diwali inspiration for you: 


Typical Sunday thaali (also a great way to indulge your guests)

Mango paneer curry in coconut milk 

Butterscotch phirni

Pineapple Sandesh with orange zest and saffron

North Indian vegetarian Thaali fit for a King!!

 WP Recipe Maker #6465

malai kofta
5 from 1 vote

malai kofta

Malai kofta is a rich and delicious curry thats silky smooth, perfectly balanced, creamy yet not too rich and just perfect for the festive season. 


  • 200 gms paneer crumbled
  • 1 large potato boiled and mashed
  • 1 small onion chopped very fine
  • 1/2 inch ginger root grated
  • 2 small Serrano chili deseeded and chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaf chopped fine
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp aniseed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 2 tbsp milk powder Secret ingredient!
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
  • 2 tsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp chopped dry fruits
  • oil to deep fry the koftas
  • 2 tbsp cornflour

For the gravy

  • 1 large onion, diced boiled for 10 mins.
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 50 gms tomato puree , or puree from 4 medium blanched tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fresh cream
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 tbsp kasuri methi
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
  • salt as per taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • pistachio chopped for garnish
  • whole spices for flavoring - 3 green cardamom, 2 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon, 5-6 black peppercorns
  • honey for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp hing or asafoetida


For the koftas:

  1. Mash the potato and paneer together with all the ingredients except the dry fruits and cornflour. 

    Mix very well and shape into little flat tikkis. Stuff a little dry fruit at the centre of each disc and shape into balls. Now roll the koftas in some cornflour. 

    Heat enough oil to deep fry the koftas. Now place the koftas gently into oil.  And deep fry them till golden brown on all sides.

    Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on tissue.

For the gravy

  1. Boil the chopped onion in water for 10 mins. Remove and drain the water. Put it in a grinder jar. Add the ginger, garlic, green chilie. Add a splash of water and grind till a smooth puree is formed. 

    Similarly, blanch ripe tomatoes, skin them and blend them to make fresh tomato puree. Alternately use ready made tomato puree. 

    Now heat 2 tbsp vegetable or canola in a thick bottomed kadhai. Now add the whole spices as listed in the ingredients. Once its fragrant, add the hing. After 30 secs, add the onion puree. Be careful as it may splutter. Reduce the heat to medium high and cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes. 

    Now add all the powdered spices and the tomato puree. Cook on low heat for 6-7 minutes. Make sure it doesnt stick. Once the gravy has thickened a bit, add about 1/2 cup of water, crushed kasuri methi, sugar and salt. Cook on low heat, letting the flavors merge well and the gravy become a deep red. 

    Once the tomato is cooked really well, takes about 20 mins, add the cream and mix it well. 

    Remember to have the cream at room temperature and the heat at the lowest possible before adding the cream to avoid splitting. 

    Once you stir it through, taste and adjust salt or chili as per taste. 

    The perfect gravy should be balanced well. It should be slightly sweet with a lingering taste of heat, creamy and smooth. 

    Just before serving, add the koftas, garnish with a drizzle of honey, chopped pistachios and even some silver varq if you want to really make this a show stopper. 

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