Malai kofta curry or Indian creamy veggie meat balls is yum and delicious. It is one of the most ordered recipes at any restaurant. People love eating out and they want gravies which even kids can eat. If you are not allergic to nuts or vegan, it is one of the best curries ever!! This is also one of the best vegetarian kofta recipe.
What is malai kofta?
It is a creamy vegetarian meatball curry. Ingredients are very simple. The stuffing consists of the inner stuffing of dry fruits(with coconut and cream).The outer layer of boiled potato and starch(potato/cornflour/tapioca).You can also add paneer or cottage cheese to it. Bring the gravy to a boil and add the kofte to make the shahi kofta curry.Serve it with plain basmati rice or jeera rice. I love to add some bay leaf and jeera tadka to my rice as it instantly elevates the flavor if I am not cooking an elaborate pulao. You may also serve it with garlic naan or rumali roti. Tandoori roti or phulkas also go well with the curry.
If you want to make a vegan version you can try other meatball recipes given at the end of the post.
This recipe of malai kofta is very special to me. The very mention of this gravy transports me back to my childhood. Memories of yummy food at roadside dhaba en route to Delhi. Recreating this dish for a special dinner makes me smile always.
What is malai kofta served with?
This is a creamy curry perfect with naan or Tandoori roti. You can make a yellow or a white gravy as per your choice. Below recipe is with yellow gravy.
For kofte :
Air-fryer for low oil version
kadai/frying pan for traditional frying method
- Boiled potatoes
- Corn flour/arrowroot powder/tapioca starch
- Raisins & cashews
- Desiccated coconut
- Red chilli powder
- Onion tomato puree
- Ginger garlic paste
- Green chillies
- Cashews/Peeled almonds
- Coriander powder
- Red chili powder
- Dried fenugreek leaves/ kasoori methi
- Salt as per taste
Read below steps on how to make malai kofta balls.
Add mashed potatoes, corn flour and red chilli powder in a bowl to make the potato dough.
2. Mix all ingredients together to form a smooth dough.
3. Meanwhile, mix coconut, nuts and raisins for the filling.
4.Take some of the potato mix and add the coconut stuffing in the center.
5. Close from all sides, shape them into round smooth balls. Cover it and keep it aside.
Once all balls are ready you can air fry or deep fry them to make crisp kofte.
How to deep fry kofte?
- Heat oil in a metal kadai/frypan to make deep fried kofte.Before adding , check if the oil is hot.
2. Cook them on medium heat until golden brown from all sides.
3. Take out the kofte and let them rest on a paper towel. Paper towel will soak any extra oil.
4. Follow the malai kofta gravy recipe from our paneer butter masala recipe to make the malai kofta restaurant style.
How to make malai kofta in air fryer?
For air fryer malai kofta, its very simple to make them and add them to the gravy. Once you cook them in the air fryer, you might notice that they have a very soft covering, however once they go into the gravy, they soak up the liquid and you cannot make much difference between the air fried and the fried version.
- Arrange the balls in an air fryer tray.
2. Brush/spray with oil. Cook at 190 degree C for 10 minutes.
3. Brush/spray with oil again. Cook at 190 degree C for further 10 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Allow the kofte to cool a bit and toss them into the curry for few minutes. Follow the malai kofta curry recipe from our paneer butter masala recipe to make the malai kofta dhaba style.
Does it taste as good as restaurant style curry?
Yes, totally and lesser calories too. Win-win!
Read recipe below
Malai Kofta recipe
For Kofta dough
- 2 large boiled potatoes 500 grm
- 3 tablespoon cornflour/arrowroot powder/tapioca starch
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder/lal mirch
- ½ teaspoon salt
For kofta stuffing
- ¼ cup dry fruits raisins,cashews/peeled almonds,finely shopped
- ¼ cup desiccated coconut
- 1 pinch Salt as per taste
- Oil for frying
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic,chillies
- 1-½ cup tomatoes chopped
- 4-5 cashews
- 3 tablespoon oil for curry Adjust if reqd
- ½ teaspoon turmeric/haldi
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder/dhania powder
- 2 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch or as per taste
- 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi optional
- Salt as per taste
- 2-3 tablespoon cream use coconut cream if vegan
For Koftas:(Traditional fry method)
- Mash boiled potatoes,Add the spices,salt and cornflour.Mix well.
- Roll it into equal sized small balls and add small stuffing of dry fruits in the middle.
- Heat oil in a wok/kadai.Add the kofta balls one by one.
- Add the kofta balls one by one.Fry them until golden brown,keep it aside
- Arrange the balls in an air fryer tray
- In a pre-heated air fryer (5 mins) Brush/spray with oil, cook at 190 degree C for 10 minutes.
- Brush/spray with oil again, cook at 190 degree C for further 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow the kofta to cool a bit and toss them into the curry for few minutes before serving.
For the curry:
- Heat oil in a pan. Add onions & ginger to it.
- Cover and cook for 2 minutes until soft.
- Add chopped tomatoes, cashews and salt. Cook till tomatoes soften, mixing with a spatula.
- Blend the gravy with 1 cup water. Pass it through sieve.
- Cook the gravy in a pan, along with spices and cream.
- Add the koftas. Garnish with coriander.
- Serve malai kofta with rice or roti or any flat bread.
- This kofta curry unlike others is generally slightly sweet. If you like spicy food, you may add a teaspoon garam masala and increase the amount of chilli/ chilli powder as per your choice.
- A teaspoon garam masala can be added when you are reheating frozen leftovers. I feel it freshens up the gravy.
Always add a teaspoon of kasuri methi to your tomato based curries to get your umami flavor.There is another secret benefit. Methi is very good for digestion and helps digest any heavy meal. It also increases iron level in blood. If you have a lot of cream at home.Use it to make methi malai matar.
Can you freeze malai kofta curry?
Yes, you can fry kofta in advance and store it in an airtight container in freezer.Make a fresh gravy and add kofta to it.Serve with roti or of your choice.This saves time on the day of party. Also,you are always ready to serve a good meal.
Alternatively you can freeze the curry and warm it in a microwave or on low heat whenever you wish to eat.
Can you make malai kofta vegan ?
Yes, as you see in the recipe, the only non-vegan items used is the cream/ghee. You can easily bypass those and replace milk cream with coconut cream and ghee with oil.
Looking for vegan kofta recipes?
There are many ways of making a vegetarian/vegan meatballs. You can grate a zucchini or bottle gourd to make a lauki kofta. Use shredded cabbage and carrots to make vegetable kofta. You can also make a mushroom kofta. Curry can be made vegan too if you want to ditch the dairy. Click on links below to make the yummy recipes.You may make this by frying or bake them in an air-fryer or oven.