Malai Kofta

Serves ~4 | Cook & Prep Time: ~45min


  • Wide dutch oven at about 4-6qt
  • Deep pot (or wok) for frying or ideally, a deep-fryer, remember oil expands when it gets hot.
  • Blender or immersion blender
  • Small pan (or toaster oven) for toasting spices and herbs
  • A Sharp Knife 🙂

Ingredients: Kofta

  • 1C boiled mashed potatoes (Idaho or Yukon Gold work)
  • 1C shredded paneer (queso fresco works very well as a substitute)
  • 3T cornstarch
  • 2T minced cilantro
  • 1/2t crushed cumin seed
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1 small Thai chili
  • Batter:
    • 3T all purpose flour
    • 4T water
    • High-heat oil, for frying

Ingredients: Sauce

  • 2T oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1t crushed cumin seed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 medium tomatoes or 1 28oz can of diced/crushed
  • 1T shredded ginger
  • 1 green chili
  • 1T coriander powder
  • 1/2t turmeric
  • 1/4t red chili powder
  • 20g crushed and toasted cashews (do not skip this, unless allergic)
  • 2t all purpose flour
  • 1/2C heavy cream
  • Salt – to taste
  • 1/4t garam masala
  • 2T minced cilantro leaves

Directions: Kofta

  • Mix all the ingredients together for kofta,
  • With oiled hands, divide the mixture into ~16 equal parts…
  • Take mix and pat it down into a square 1″ x 4″ x 4″.
  • Make them in round balls. ~1 inch in size
  • Mix flour with about 4 tablespoons of water and mix well until batter is smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat.
  • The frying pan should have at least 1.5 inch of oil. To check if the oil is ready, just put one small piece of mix in the oil, it should come up right away but not change color.
  • Dip the paneer balls in the batter one at a time and slowly drop into the frying pan
    • (You can also use a deep fryer set to 375 Fahrenheit)
  • Turn them occasionally. Fry koftas until golden-brown all around.

Directions: Sauce

  1. Blend the tomatoes, green chilies and ginger to make a puree. If you prefer mild take the seeds out of green chili before blending.
    • You can also do this with an immersion blender and a tall-form beaker
  2. Mix cream and flour and keep aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan on med-high
  4. Sauté onions with a pinch of salt until brown, add cumin and sauté for 2 more min.
  5. Add the tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder and cook for about 4 minutes on medium heat.
  6. Tomato mixture will start to separate and will reduce by half
  7. Add cashews, cook for 2 min
  8. Add cream/flour mix, salt and one cup of water and let it cook covered for 7 to 8 minutes on medium heat.
  9. Add the garam masala, salt and cilantro. Let it cook for another minute.
  10. Add koftas as soon it comes to boil, then turn off the heat.
    • Koftas will expand to about 1.5 times, if you like more gravy this is the time to add some more boiled water and adjust salt.

I absolutely adore this North Indian curry, it is one of the most layered, complex and luxurious curries I’ve ever had.

Love, Jimi


  • You don’t even need to make the kofta if you’re short on time, just some naan and/or basmati and you’re eating better than most people on the planet. For the Thai sister of this curry, see Masaman Curry
  • Koftas are very soft they should be added to the gravy when you are ready to serve, otherwise they will break.
  • You can make extra: plain koftas freeze well (as does the gravy, separately) and you can simply refry them next time you want to use them.

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