Malai Kofta (Indian Veggie Balls) Recipe

Total time : 2 hrs

Prep : 30 mins

Cook : 90 mins

Yield : Serves 4

Malai kofta is a hugely popular Indian dish. It is a special occasion food probably because making it is a labor of love and takes time and effort.

Malai (meaning creamy in Hindi) kofta is the perfect vegetarian alternative to meatballs. It goes very well with naan (tandoor-baked flatbread) or Jeera rice.


For the Koftas

  • 2 cups potatoes (peeled and diced)

  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, peas, sweet corn; boiled)

  • 1 cup paneer cubes

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

  • Salt (to taste)

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, and cashew nuts)

  • 1/4 cup of raisins (finely chopped)

  • 3 cups vegetable (or canola or sunflower cooking oil for frying, or more as needed)

For the Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or canola or sunflower cooking oil)

  • 2 large onions (quartered)

  • 2 tomatoes (quartered)

  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste

  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste

  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder

  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (lightly roasted and ground into a powder)

  • 3 tablespoons nuts (cashews and almonds, ground into a thick paste)

  • 1 cup water (warm)

  • Salt (to taste)

  • 2 teaspoon garam masala

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this kofta dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking. Make the Kofta

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Wash, peel, and dice the potatoes.

  3. Boil them in a pot of water until fork tender.

  4. Drain and set aside.

  5. Next, boil the veggies until crisp-tender.

  6. Drain and set aside.

  7. In a large bowl, mash the boiled potatoes, mixed vegetables, paneer, and cream together.

  8. Add the kofta spices - cumin, coriander, and red chili powder - to this mash and mix well. The resulting dough should be firm. If not add some more boiled potato. Season with salt.

  9. In a small bowl, combine the chopped nuts and raisins.

  10. Make this dough into balls and put a 1/2 teaspoon of the nut and raisin mix in the center of each ball.

  11. Roll into perfect rounds.

  12. In a large pot, heat the oil kept aside to fry the koftas, on a medium flame.

  13. Deep fry these rounds till pale golden in color.

  14. Drain on paper towels and keep aside.

Make the Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a deep pan and fry the onions till light brown.

  3. In a small food processor, place the fried onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, and red chili powder, and grind into a paste.

  4. Put this paste back into the pan and fry till the oil begins to separate from the masala.

  5. Add the poppy seeds powder and nut paste and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.

  6. Add 1 cup of warm water (the sauce for this dish is meant to be thick so do not add too much water) to this masala to form a gravy. Mix well. Season with salt.

  7. Bring the gravy to a boil and then reduce the fire to a simmer.

  8. Gently add the koftas to this gravy and cook uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes.

  9. Turn off the fire and sprinkle the garam masala all over the top of the dish.

  10. Cover immediately and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

  11. Serve with hot naans (tandoor-baked leavened Indian flatbread) or jeera rice.

  12. Enjoy!