Malai Kofta Curry

Malai Kofta classic dish of Moghul origin is a rich, decadent dish usually prepared during special occasions. Deep fried vegetable balls are prepared and simmered in a special creamy sauce/curry and served along with rice and rotis/Naans (Indian flat bread). 

 Whenever we go to a new Indian Restaurant we order this along with Rice and Naans. It is one of our family favorite and one that everybody agrees on without any heated discussions. It is usually a safe choice when having to choose amongst 25 other entrée choices from the Menu card.  Fair or not, we also base our judgment about the restaurant and its quality based on the taste of Malai Kofta. If that appeals to our taste buds, then we know that we will visit the restaurant again to try out their other dishes and also recommend it to other friends.  

        Ordering and enjoying at restaurant is straight forward and an easy thing to do.  But preparing this at home is totally different. It is tedious and labor intensive, but when done the right way the results are worth the effort. I have learnt over the years that the trick to make the curry is to make it rich and creamy and infuse it with the correct spices. Also it is necessary to go easy handed with oil while making the curry. 

           As I have mentioned earlier the vegetable balls are deep fried and then added to the curry. However after some of my experiments with Appe Ponganalu/Paniyaram/Uniyappam I have used the (Aebleskiver Pan) pan/skillet here to make the vegetable/ potato balls. This cuts down on the calories, but there is definitely no compromise on taste. If there is any concern about using the Aebleskiver Pan or if it is not available then by all means please deep fry the vegetable balls. The preparation can be used more as a guideline and can be aptly adapted to suit one’s taste and needs.  

 Malai Kofta Curry Recipe

Serves : 3-4 people

  •  Ingredients:
  • Potato Balls (Kofta)

  • 1 large potato peeled, boiled mashed (make sure this is not watery and that the water is completely drained)
  • ½ cup paneer grated
    1 green chilli minced finely
  • ½ cup peas boiled

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 plain sandwich bread (sides removed)
  • ½ tsp garam masala

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ cup chopped coriander
  • ½ cup chopped onion

  • salt
  • ½ cup maida (only if deep frying)


Cooked Potato in the Aebleskiver  Pan

Creamy Curry  

  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 3 garlic pods (grated)
  • 2 tsp ginger grated
  • 8 cloves

  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 cup half-and-half (full fat milk)

  •  1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tsp kasuri methi
  • 1 tbsp Cumin-Coriander Powder

  • pinch turmeric

  • 2 tsp red chilli powder

  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 8 whole cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds

  • salt
  • oil 


Potato Balls ready to be devoured

To make the Koftas:  (No fry Koftas)

  • Take the bread, rinse in water and squeeze to remove all the water.
  • Take a big plate and in it combine mashed potatoes along with peas, paneer, minced chili, coriander leaves, cumin, salt, soaked bread, all powders and onion.
  • Make sure that you can form a big lump. Now form this mixture take small parts out and make into 1-inch balls. Check for seasonings.
  • If deep frying: Make a thick batter with the flour, salt and water. Heat oil in a heavy saucepan. Dip the potato balls into batter to coat completely, and deep-fry until brown on all the sides. Keep aside.
  • If using Aebleskiver Pan: (You can buy the pan from here) Heat the pan and add little oil in all the groves. When it is medium hot, add the potato balls in the groves. With in a minute turn it on all the sides and make sure it browns evenly. This cooks very fast so be very careful. Keep aside.


Sinfully decadent curry with the potato balls
  • To make the curry/gravy:
  •  Grind the cashews along with poppy seeds, water and make a thick paste.
  •  Take a heavy bottom pan, add oil, butter and when hot add the cloves, cinnamon. Next add the grated ginger and garlic paste. Mix well until light brown.
  • Next add the diced onions and fry until transparent.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and mix well. (Adding salt to the tomatoes helps it cook faster.)
  • Add the turmeric, chilli powder, sugar,  garam masala, cumin coriander powder and mix well. Add more oil if required. Allow this to cool.
  • After this is cooled blend this in a mixer along with ½ cup milk.
  • Add little oil to a pan and then add the above paste. Next add the remaining half and half (or full fat milk), cashew poppy seed paste and stir well. When this is almost add the cream and mix.
  • Check for seasonings, and adjust per taste. Finally add the kasuri methi. The creamy sauce is now ready.
  • Transfer the prepared ball into this mixture and allow to simmer for a little time.

 Serve hot with warm rotis/ naan and rice!

Yet another view of the Malai Kofta
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  1. Sia says:

    u know for us it is paneer makhani which is our scale to compare with diff rests 🙂
    ur malai kofta is lot more healthier than the deep fried ones. lovely pics RC 🙂

  2. Laavanya says:

    When I saw a malai kofta post from you.. I was so thrilled because I knew it would be a lower fat version!! Yay 🙂 Looks just perfect. Bookmarked.

  3. indosungod says:

    No way RC, I am so going to make this. Deep frying is what puts me off every time. It is one of our most ordered restaurant dishes too. the paniyaram pan is a great idea. Looks delicious.

  4. Ujwal says:

    Looks delicious.. Its been ages since I ate malai kofta.. Here when we tried at a resturant it was kind of sweet in a lot of places 🙁 Need to make this at the earliest.. 🙂

  5. Sunshinemom says:

    I think I could try the appam kuzhi next time – it is definitely a better idea – but if I make this vegan, I wonder whether it will actually taste like malai kofta!

  6. Supriya says:

    Beautiful malai koftas! I haven’t made them in ages. On my upcoming trip to India, I’m going to get this appe pan and will try it this way soon.

  7. Soma says:

    An all time favortie dish. What a healthy way to fry the koftas. I guess the use of bread binds the koftas better. I always fear that they will crumble when I am frying them.

  8. Madhuram says:

    The fried potato balls look very tempting RC. Actually I tried your method of frying vada (masala) in the appam pan and we loved it. So I’m sure this one will also be tasty.

  9. xiaoxiao says:

    Hi, thanks for the recipe. I followed it with some modification of my own, I am not an Indian, but when I tasted the potato koftas that I made, I thought it was strikingly authentic!! 🙂 Instead of deep frying, I baked them. They are not as crunchy and nicely colored as the deep fried koftas, but they are still really tasty. Thanks again!

  10. manda says:

    HI, main basically gujarati hu. But I like this low fat Malai kofta curry, Its too good in taste and like also health consious person Thanks

  11. Foodzone says:

    I am in love with your blog.
    I am alway slooking for healthy ways to cook with no compromise on taste. This surely is a great idea. Got to give a try. Thanks for sharing!

    Thanks for the good words, let me know how it turned out.

  12. Sara says:

    I made this for a party and it came out very well. All my friends kept asking if I had ordered it from a restaurant! I couldn’t deep fry successfully as the potato filling would break apart (even though I dipped in maida batter). I then pan fried my kofthas. This is a keeper!


  13. redchillies says:

    Aww thanks Sara for letting me know. So glad it turned out well and you all liked it. 🙂

  14. Dena Hankins says:

    I have been making your recipes for about a year and have enjoyed every one of them. I’m ready to try something more complicated and this one looks lovely. My husband and I always order Malai Kofta a new restaurants as well – we get an order of samosas and then share the Malai Kofta. It’s usually plenty of food and we can judge the restaurant on those two things!

    One question – when shopping in Safeway or some other non-Indian store, what do you buy for red and green chillies? Is it just jalepenos and serranos? Or do you always buy chillies at the Indian market?


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