Malai Kofta are delicious in any curry and they are quite easy to prepare.
If you want to make a meat curry vegetarian and you’re looking for ways to do so, you simply have to try malai koftas. In this recipe you will see how they are prepared and added to a curry. You can add the malai kofta to any curry though. Try them instead of chicken in chicken tikka masala. How about trying malai kofta in a super spicy vindaloo? Your options are endless!
If you would like to make your malai kofta curry into a delicious vegetarian curry feast, you just need to cook some plain basmati or flavoured rice. Homemade naans and chapatis are always a good addition as well as any of these Indian vegetarian side dishes.
What are malai kofta?
Malai means cream and malai kofta often do have cream in them. In these malai kofta, grated paneer gives them their creaminess and also helps bind the koftas together. You could add a tablespoon or two of double thick cream to these malai kofta if you like too.
These vegetarian koftas are idea meat substitutes for any curry. Just add them at the end of cooking and I promise, you won’t miss the meat!
How do you make malai kofta?
Malai kofta are usually prepared with grated potato, spices and some sort of binder. In this case paneer and flour help bind the malai koftas together.
You want to squeeze as much of the moisture out of your grated potatoes as possible so that they stay together when fried.
Once you have all the malai kofta ingredients together, squeeze them into neat koftas and fry for about 5 minutes until crispy brown.
How do you add malai koftas to curries?
It could not be easier to add these koftas to a curry. Simply prepare your curry sauce of choice and then add the fried malai koftas just before serving.
Are there other ways to serve malai koftas?
Yes. You might like to make smaller koftas and serve them on toothpicks with a few dipping sauces. They make a really good starter or snack.
How long do malai koftas keep in the fridge?
You can store your malai koftas in the fridge, cooked or uncooked for about 3 days.
If you decide to fry them and then store them in the fridge, you will need to reheat them. To do this, you could just fry them again or place your malai kofta in the microwave for a minute or so.
Can you freeze malai koftas?
Yes. In fact they freeze quite well. I recommend freezing them before you fry them in air-tight containers.
That said, I have fried and then frozen malai koftas with good results.
If you want to fry them, be sure to let the koftas come to room temperature before frying.
Make this recipe your own.
You can use my malai kofta recipe as a guide. Personally, I quite like these koftas just as I wrote the recipe.
You might want to adjust the spicing. Feel free to do that. Try adding more chillies, for example. You can also omit spicy ingredients all together if you prefer.
Can these koftas be cooked in an air-fryer?
Yes. They can be cooked in an air-fryer the same way you cook air-frier onion bhajis. Here is how it’s done.
- Be sure to squeeze as much moisture out of the potatoes as you can. Potatoes are full of water and that water will break your malai koftas apart.
- Ensure your oil is hot enough. All is explained in the recipe card below. If your oil is not hot enough, your koftas will break apart so be sure to test the oil by adding a small piece of kofta to the hot oil. If it bubbles and rises to the top quickly, your oil is ready for frying.
- Keep your malai koftas hot! When cooking a curry, it is a good idea to fry the koftas while the sauce is simmering. Then you can add them hot from the oil to the sauce.
Malai Vegetarian Kofta Curry
- 250g (9oz) potatoes
- 1 tbsp rice flour
- 1 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
- (or an additional 1 tbsp rice flour, if going gluten free)
- 200g (7oz) paneer cheese, grated
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 large handful baby spinach leaves, washed and chopped
- 4 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Rapeseed or vegetable oil, for deep frying
- Garam masala, to serve
- FOR THE SAUCE
- 4 tbsp rapeseed or vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 10 almonds
- 10 cashews
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 green chillies, finely chopped 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
- Start by making your koftas. Par-cook your potatoes until they are almost cooked through – it should be easy to stick a fork in but there should still be some resistance. About 10 minutes should do but watch carefully.
- Remove the potatoes from the water and allow to cool so that they are easier to handle, and then grate them. Squeeze as much moisture as possible from the grated potatoes and mix with the rice and plain (all-purpose) flours. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
- Mix the grated paneer, 1/2 tsp of the turmeric, 1 tsp of the chilli powder, the chopped spinach and coriander (cilantro) into the grated potato. To this add the salt. Form into koftas slightly larger than golf balls and set aside while you make your sauce.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium–high heat. When visibly hot, stir in the remaining turmeric and chilli powder and the cumin, ground coriander, almonds and cashews. Temper this all in the oil for about 30 seconds, then add the chopped onions. Fry for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the green chillies and the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further 1 minute, then add the tomatoes. Simmer for about 5 minutes and then blend to a smooth sauce using a handheld or countertop blender.
- Return this to the pan and add about 400ml (1 ¾ cups) water and simmer down for about 15 minutes. Stir in the cream and continue to simmer until you are happy with the consistency. Season with salt to taste and keep warm.
- You can fry your koftas while the sauce is simmering if time is an issue.
- To cook the koftas, heat about 10cm (4in) depth of rapeseed or vegetable oil in a saucepan – you need enough oil in your pan to just cover the koftas so add more if required. The oil is hot enough for frying when a small piece broken off of one of the koftas sizzles and rises to the top immediately when thrown into the oil.
- Carefully place your malai koftas in the oil and fry until crispy brown on the exterior. About 5 minutes should do the trick. Don’t overcrowd your pan and do this in batches if necessary.
- Place the fried koftas on paper towels to soak up excess oil and then place in large or individual serving bowls and cover with the sauce. Sprinkle with garam masala and a drizzle of cream.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 730mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 7g
Friday 11th of May 2018
Wondering if koftas can be frozen .. have you tried. ? I'm worried that they'll fall apart upon thawing and reheating.
Monday 14th of January 2019
Sorry, but I've never tried freezing them. I will though.
Thursday 5th of October 2017
Hello, can the curry be made the day before it is served?
Friday 13th of October 2017
It sure can. In fact the flavours develop so it may even be better next day.
Sunday 21st of May 2017
Dan, that's a belter. All 5 kids devoured. Doubled the recipe, more or less, served with naan and Bombay potatoes. This is going to become a regular.
Thursday 25th of May 2017
Great to hear John! I'm really glad you and family liked the recipe. :-)
Thursday 18th of May 2017
Doing this as a main course, what would you serve it with?
Thursday 25th of May 2017
I like to serve it with rice or naans! There is a lot of flavour in the curry. A good dhal always goes well too.