Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Restaurant Style Malai Kofta ( Fried Vegetable Balls in Creamy Sauce)

Restaurant Style Malai Kofta.
Restaurant Style Malai Kofta.

Malai Kofta is a rich mughlai dish which consists of panneer/vegetable balls floating in a tomato cashew based gravy. It`s garnished with heavy cream/ malai and served with Jeera Rice, Naan, or Parathas. My older daughter S loves Malai Koftas from restaurants and would never ever give it a pass. Comfort food on weekend nights are almost always Malai Koftas with steaming hot Peas Pulav or TIranga Pulav. This is a combination of methods and madness from many sources which has been adapted to suit my taste buds. The panneer from this recipe has been omitted and I have used simply boiled potatoes as I was out of panneer completely.


3/4 Cup boiled potatoes.

1/2 Cup boiled carrots, beans, peas.

1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs. ( I simply pulsed one loaf in the mixer)

2 Tsp Dhania Powder.

1 Tsp Cumin Powder.

3/4 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

10 Cashews broken in to little pieces.

Finely chopped cilantro.

Salt to taste.


1 Onion chopped fine.

3 Tomatoes grated or chopped fine.

3/4 Tsp Freshly Grated Ginger.

3/4 Tsp Freshly Grated Garlic.

A pinch of turmeric.

1/2 Tsp Garam Masala.

2 Tsp Dhania Powder.

1 Tsp Cumin Powder.

3/4 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

10 Cashewnuts powdered.

1/4 Cup Half & Half or Heavy Cream or Malai.

1 Tsp Kasoori Methi.

Salt to taste.

1/4 Tsp Garam Masala.

2 Tsp OIl.

1 Tsp Somph.


  • Boil vegetables like peas, carrots and beans in the pressure cooker with very minimal water and a little salt. I closed the veggies with a lid and placed the potatoes on top of the plate with just sprinkling water.  The steam is sufficient to cook the veggies.
  • Once cooled, peel the potatoes and mash them seperately. Collect all the remaining boiled veggies – carrots, peas, beans etc and put it inside a thin cotton cloth or a muslin and squeeze out all the water until dry. Collect the water to use in the gravy.
  • To the bowl of mashed potatoes, add the boiled veggies and all the other ingredients needed for Koftas and mash and mix in to a ball.
  • Divide in to little balls large or small enough to fit inside your appam pan.  Alternately you could also deep fry them but I prefer using the Aappam Pan for frying the same.
Kofta Balls fried in the Abelskiver Pan.
Kofta Balls fried in the Abelskiver Pan.
  • Pour oil in to the appam depressions and allow to heat.
  • Shallow fry all the kofta balls on medium heat until they are done on all sides and remove with a spoon on to a dry tissue towel.
  • Alternately, you could roll the kofta balls in cornflour or bread crumbs and deep fry in oil.


  • In a large heavy bottomed kadai, add about 2 tsp of oil. Season with a pinch of jeera and add the finely chopped onions.
  • Add a pinch of salt and saute the onions until brown. The slow browning of the onions are very important to the taste of the sauce.
  • Now add the freshly grated ginger and garlic and allow to saute.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, dhania powder, and cumin powder and salt and saute until all the water is evaporated and its well cooked and mushy.
  • If at this point you have inadvertently increased the heat of the stove and you feel that its slightly dry, add a couple spoonfulls of water.
  • Set aside to cool and puree to a smooth consistency.
  • In the same kadai, add more oil, season with shah jeera or somph and add the ground paste.
  • At this point, make sure that the flame is on medium low as the paste might start splattering all around.
  • Add about 1 cup of water, heavy cream / half & half and the ground cashew powder and swirl in to mix.
  • When the sauce bubbles slightly switch off heat and add crushed kasoori methi.
  • When its time to serve , drop the fried and crisp kofta balls in to the Malai sauce, garnished with chopped cilantro and serve.


The Kofta Balls can be made with any available ingredients on hand – Panneer, peas, carrots, beans, quinoa etc. The proportion also can be tweaked around, as long as you are able to fashion it in to a smooth ball.

The Malai sauce has to be ground to a smooth consistency, and not so much like in the picture. My daughter likes the texture and thats the reason my version is not ground all the way.