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.

16 thoughts on “Restaurant Style Malai Kofta ( Fried Vegetable Balls in Creamy Sauce)

  1. Wow, Shobaka. One of my favourites! Yes, when we do it here for phulkas we grind it all the way to creaminess.. But I guess this version would be great with rice varieties. Bookmarked for next time.. using the appam pan of course – what a great way to cut back on oil!

  2. Also, we sometimes throw in an increased measure of assorted nuts – almonds and walnuts – along with cashews and omit the cream 🙂

  3. @ Nalini,

    thanks for the lovely words. I love malai kofta and I make it very often these days as Ki and ammu loved them a lot!


  4. @Whitegirllovesindianfood,

    I am so glad that you liked all my posts~ The abelskiver pan is available in the US.
    Happy Diwali to you.


  5. Hi shoba, ive made this twice now. Came out really really delicious. This has bcom my signature dish:)

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