In simpler terms, this nutty meatless malai kofta curry is pure indulgence. Mildly spiced cottage cheese koftas dunked in nutty and luscious white gravy always makes for a centrepiece to the festive dinner table. Often said to be a decadent Mughlai recipe, this kofta curry is surely a keeper!
What’s so special about this Malai Kofta recipe?
Koftas have been very popular in Central Asian cuisine, Indian cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine and the food from the Balkan areas. Originally made with ground or minced meat – beef, pork, lamb or chicken, spiced with spices, onion, garlic and other vegetables. Once the meatballs are prepared and fried, they are either consumed as it is with a side of salads and bread or they are further cooked in a variety of gravies.
Like many meat-based dishes which underwent a transformation to suit those who prefer meatless food, koftas were also made meatless by using freshly made cottage cheese, potatoes and some other starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, plantain or green bananas, jackfruit, etc.
In fact, I have Kanchkolar Kofta recipe or Bengali Green Banana Kofta recipe, which is immensely popular among my readers.
Malai Kofta Easy Recipe: Varieties, and How to Make
Broadly speaking, there are three types of Malai Kofta recipes.
- Malai Kofta Recipe with tomato-based gravy. Also contains onion, ginger & garlic. Basically it is meatless and vegetarian.
- Malai Kofta recipe with white gravy. Here, the gravy is cooked without tomato and turmeric powder. Said to be Mughlai style of making Malai Kofta, here the gravy is often made using nuts & seeds. It is again meatless and vegetarian.
- Malai Kofta recipe in no-onion and no-garlic gravy. It is a popular Bengali side dish known as Chanar Dalna where the gravy is made using ginger, tomatoes and cumin seeds.
Irrespective of the gravy base for the recipe, one thing is common and that is, the vegetarian koftas are cottage-cheese based, which may or may not fortified further with potatoes. The cheese is mashed nicely with spices and a binding agent such as potatoes, cornflour, rice flour or even slices of bread.
Tips & tricks of making perfect koftas and the Malai Kofta white gravy recipe
- For this recipe, we need minimum moisture in the cheese, so hang the cheese to rid of the water. Once you have dry and crumbly cheese, use the recipe below to prepare the chanar kofta.
- The key step to follow to make the koftas soft is to knead the cheese or chana till it becomes smooth. It might take a couple of minutes extra but it would be so worth the effort.
- These koftas can be made with fillings of crushed nuts & raisin, or simply without any filling.
- You may also add some spices to the kofta mix, such as grated ginger, red chilli flakes, cumin seeds, some dried herbs, etc.
This malai kofta recipe white gravy is perfect for feeding a crowd. You can easily include it in your party menu, in fact, prep it ahead as well to ease up the burden. These koftas and the gravy base freezes well, so you can make these a couple of days ahead and refrigerate. Before you serve this to your guests, you can drop them in the gravy and reheat the dish. In this way, your koftas won’t be soggy and mushy.
How to serve this Malai Kofta recipe in white gravy?
There are several options to pair this malai kofta in white gravy.
- Indian flatbreads like Naans, Paranthas or the humble rotis, also known as chapattis
- Rice-based dishes like pulao, such as Bengali Mishti Pulao ( as I paired here).
In simpler terms, this nutty meatless kofta curry is pure indulgence. Mildly spiced cottage cheese koftas dunked in nutty and luscious white gravy always makes for a centrepiece to the festive dinner table. Often said to be a decadent Mughlai recipe, this malai kofta curry is surely a keeper!
- 200 gms Paneer or Cottage Cheese
- 1 Slice Bread
- 2 tsp Cornflour
- 1/2 inch Ginger
- Salt to Taste
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 8 Almonds soaked and peeled
- 1 tbsp Melon Seeds
- 5-6 Fenugreek Seeds or Methi
- 1 Onion large cubed
- 1 inch Ginger
- 4-5 Garlic Cloves
- 1 tbsp Refined Sunflower Oil
- 1 tbsp Ghee or Clarified Butter
- 1 tsp Dried Fenugreek leaves or Kasuri Methi
- 4 Green Cardamom
- ½ tsp Pepper powder
- ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 tbsp Fresh Cream Optional
- ¼ tsp Shahi Garam Masala Or any Garam Masala powder will do.
Take the Paneer or Cottage Cheese in a bowl and add the slice of bread, 1/2 inch ginger grated, coriander powder, salt and knead them all together.
Once it has turned into to smooth dough, pinch off balls each of the sizes of a ping-pong ball and roll them smooth between your palms. You may also stuff a raisin in each of these chana balls. It’s optional, but it can be done.
Heat the mustard oil in a pan and fry these chana/paneer balls till golden. Once done, take them out and keep them aside.
You may store these fried balls in an air-tight container for a couple of days before making the actual dalna.
Heat refined oil in a pan. Add the Fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, onion, ginger, garlic, almonds, melon seeds, cardamom and stir till the onions moisten up a bit. Add salt and pepper.
Now, take all of this in a blender and blend it into a smooth paste.
Note that it would be hot. Either allow it to cool down sufficiently, or if there is a small lid in the cover of your blending jar, use a kitchen towel instead. This would allow the steam to release. Be very careful!
Heat the ghee in the same pan and add this paste back in it. Turn the heat low and cook till you see the edges release a little bit of fat. You have to stir it regularly as it has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Once this mix is done, add some water to adjust the consistency of the gravy. Drop the paneer cubes in it. Add the Garam Masala Powder and dried fenugreek leaves or kasuri methi.
Switch off the heat. Then add the fresh cream and give it mix. Serve with naans or rice.