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How to make restaurant style ‘Malai Kofta’?

A delicious paneer kofta gravy with fresh cream and tomatoes

Deepa Gupta | New Delhi |

Malai kofta is a North Indian dish that can be easily prepared at home. It is a dish that can be described by its name – soft, mouth-melting paneer koftas in a delicious, thick, slightly tangy and very creamy gravy.

In India, lots of people are vegetarians. This is the perfect dish for them to be served on special occasions. The dish tastes best when served with chapati, naan or lachcha paratha. You can serve it on a bed of plain boiled, long-grained basmati rice too. Teaming it with a salad makes it a very fulfilling meal. Add it to your lunch or dinner party menu, and it will surely be a star.

Koftas are basically deep-fried golden paneer balls served in a delicious gravy of onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, spices, cashew nuts, and fresh cream. This recipe can be divided into two parts – first, make koftas with homemade or store-bought paneer and then make tomato-based gravy. Soak the koftas in a creamy gravy.

Here is the delicious recipe:

Serves: 8-10

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30-45 minutes


Paneer: 400 grams

Boiled potatoes: 4 (medium)

White bread: 4 slices (without brown sides)

Corn flour: 4 tbsp

Cashew nuts: 35-40 (coarsely chopped)

Raisins: 30

Fresh cream:1 cup

Tomatoes: 8 (large)

Onions: 3 (large)

Garlic paste: ½ tsp

Ginger paste: ½ tsp

Green chillies: 3

Red chilli powder: 1 tsp

Coriander powder: 1 ½ tsp

Garam masala: ½ tsp

Green cardamom powder: 1/3 (tsp)

Salt to taste

Kasoori methi: 2 tsp

Oil for frying

Pure ghee: 2 tbsp

Coriander leaves: two tbsp (finely chopped)


Coarsely chop 15 cashews and soak the remaining 20 in one cup of water for an hour. After an hour make a paste of soaked cashews along with water in a high-speed food processor. To make koftas, mash paneer, and boiled potatoes. Mix white portion of white bread removing the brown corners and two tablespoons of cornflour. Knead properly to make a smooth and stiff dough. Make small lemon-size balls out of this dough. Press each ball gently and flatten it. Place two to three cashew nut chopped pieces and two raisins in each flatten the ball. Put a drop of fresh cream and close the edges giving it again a ball shape. Fill all balls in the same way. Roll the balls in cornflour powder and keep aside. Heat oil for deep frying. Fry all the balls in small batches until golden brown. Take them out on a kitchen towel. Keep aside. Boil tomatoes in an open pan until a little tender. Remove the skin of boiled tomatoes and blend them into a smooth puree. Strain the puree to discard the seeds and keep aside the puree. Heat one tablespoon of pure ghee in a separate deep pan. Add ginger-garlic paste, saute. Add cardamom powder. Saute for another few seconds. Chop onions and add in this masala. Cook until golden brown on medium-low flame. Add tomato puree. Cook on medium-low flame until it leaves the oil on the sides. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder, kastoori methi, and cashew nut paste. Give a good stir. Cook on low flame for 10 minutes. Add one cup of water. Cook on medium-low flame for 5 more minutes. Turn off the flame. Let the masala cool. Grind the masala to a fine paste in a food processor. Heat one tablespoon of pure ghee again in the same pan. Add the blended masala gravy. Add salt and cook for 10 minutes on low flame. Add garam masala and turn off the flame. Add one cup of milk to the gravy. Add one cup of fresh cream. Run a handy mixer in the gravy to give a smooth texture. Reheat the gravy at the time of serving and add koftas. Give a mild boil and transfer it in a serving dish. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Tips to make authentic Malai Kofta:

Always use fresh paneer preferably homemade.

Use fresh cream of good quality to give a perfect creamy texture.

Mash paneer and boiled potatoes with cornflour and bread properly to give the mixture a smooth texture and it will prevent cracks while making paneer balls.

Bind the paneer balls properly so that they should not break while frying. You must add cornflour to paneer balls mixture because corn flour works as a binding agent in koftas. While deep frying koftas, fry few say four to five at one time. Overcrowding can lead to breakage.

Fill the paneer balls with cashews and raisins to give a rich, sweet and crunchy taste while eating koftas.

Keep moving the koftas gently while frying so that they get even browning from all sides.

Use a paste of soaked cashew nuts or poppy seeds in the gravy to give it the perfect authentic taste, colour and texture. You can use melon seeds as well.

Add koftas to the gravy just before serving otherwise they will become soggy. Reheat the gravy and add the koftas. Give a stir on high flame and serve.

This malai kofta recipe is so delicious and satisfying, you will become addicted. And you might have to resist an urge to pour it over just about anything or everything.