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Malai Kofta


This recipe for Malai Kofta comes from India and was commissioned to compliment the earlier published article entitled Indian Cooking . . . how did it become so popular?

Kofta originated in the Middle East or South Asian countries. It is a mughlai cuisine and is inspired by Arab cooking styles.

There are different types of kofta which are cooked all over the world. In simple terms, kofta is a ball of meat, vegetables, fish or egg. It can be grilled, baked, fried or steamed.

It is served in many Indian and Pakistani restaurants. In Pakistan, they generally use beef or chicken and in Bengal (east India) fish and egg is used to make koftas. The famous Nargisi kofta is made of hard boiled eggs.

Malai kofta is a vegetarian version of kofta, generally using lauki or potato and paneer for making balls and is served in a spicy curry. It is savoury and very rich, especially eaten in north India.

Food historians say it is an example of the Mogul empires kitchen’s richness. The main ingredients of malai kofta are malai, paneer and dry fruits. It is served at weddings and all important occasions. It is served with plain roti, naan, fluffy puri or even with rice.

This dish is prepared in two steps - first prepare the kofta and then the gravy.

Ingredients for Malai Kofta

Ingredients for the Kofta:
Potatoes (boiled and mashed)
Paneer (mashed)
Green chillies (chopped)
Khoya and thick cream or malai
Cashew nuts (chopped)
Raisins or sultanas
1 tsp coriander
Red chilli powder
Cardamom powder
Salt to taste
¼ tsp sugar
Oil for cooking and frying

Ingredients for gravy:
Onion paste
Ginger and garlic (crushed)
4 big tomatoes (blanched and pureed)
1 tsp red chilli powder
Garam masala
¼ tsp sugar
Poppy seeds
1 tbsp cashew nuts (soaked in warm water and ground into a paste)
Fresh coriander
Cooking oil
Cream (malai)

How to make Malai Kofta

  • To make the koftas, boil and mash the potatoes and add salt to taste and keep aside.
  • Mix all the other ingredients for the kofta in a bowl. Take some of the mashed potato in your hand and flatten it. Place some of the mixture in the centre of it roll the potato into a ball and deep fry on medium heat. Place on a kitchen towel to drain oil. Do the same for all of the potato and if it falls apart add some corn flour to help bind it.
  • To make the gravy, heat some oil in a pan and fry the onion paste, ginger and garlic and poppy seeds until the oil separates.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and the chilli powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and sugar. Cook for a while then add the cream (malai) and ground cashew nuts.
  • When it thickens take off the heat, put curry in a serving dish and add the koftas into it when you are ready to serve.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander.

Malai kofta goes best with flat bread like roti, naan or jeera rice.

Koftas can also be eaten plain without gravy as a snack. No doubt it is a high calorie diet but you can reduce calories by using unsaturated fat in the recipe, after all cooking is all about experiment, and that is how we create new recipes.

"Just a comment about the quantity of ingredients in this series of recipes, I would say that most people add in different amounts according to how they like it. Recipes are either normally passed on or people learn by experimenting with different amounts of spices until they get the taste they like, for example, I know I put different amounts of thngs into curries than my family and friends do, everyone does tend to work out how much they like."

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Harpreet Virdee



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