Malai means “cream” and Koftas means “meatballs”, Malai Koftas are potato and paneer balls dipped in rich and creamy sauce. In India vegetarian version of koftas are very common. In this recipe, koftas are made with paneer and potatoes with ginger garlic paste and hint of spices, served with delightful and rich gravy made with onion,tomatoes and cashew nuts. To cut down the costs most of the restaurants in India use poppy seeds and magaz seeds (pumpkin seeds) instead of cashew nuts paste. The recipe I have shared is one of the creamiest and tastiest.
Puree for Gravy
1 medium onion
3 large tomatoes
10-12 cashew nuts
½ inch cinnamon stick
4 green cardamom
2-3 cups water
200 grams paneer (grated)
2 large potatoes (boiled and crushed)
3 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tbsp coriander leaves (chopped)
1 tsp garam masala
1 cup oil for frying
2 tbsp cashew nuts (chopped)
2 tbsp raisins (chopped)
3tbsp butter (you can use oil, but butter is preferable)
1 bay leaf
3 green cardamoms
½ inch cinnamon stick
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1-2 tsp red chili powder (depends on spiciness you prefer)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
Salt to taste
Honey/Jaggery depending on sweetness preferred (you can add sugar but honey or jaggery is health option)
2 tsp kasuri methi
5-6 tbsp heavy cream
Water (saved from puree)
Puree for Gravy:
Cut onions and tomatoes into large cubes. Heat water in a pot, when it starts simmering add all the ingredients listed under puree. Let it simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes (or until onions and tomatoes are soft).
Turn off the heat, strain and let it cool down. Preserve the water so you can add it later in the gravy. Blend it into a fine puree. Strain if needed (if the puree has chunks of cashew nuts, cardamom and cinnamon). Keep aside
Heat a pan with butter or oil. Add bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamom and saute for a minute. Add ginger garlic paste and saute for 2-3 minutes (make sure the raw smell goes away)
Add chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder. Saute for minute on medium flame. Pour in the puree and mix. Cook if for 2-3 minutes on medium flame. Add water (saved from puree).
Cook until the gravy thickens. Add salt and Jaggery/honey/sugar according to taste desired. Add kasuri methi. Turn the heat low and add cream, stir and turn the heat off.
Boil water in a pot. Add in the potatoes (cut into large cubes). Boil until they are cooked. Strain let them cool down. Grate paneer and keep aside.
In a bowl crumble potato, add in grated paneer, ginger garlic paste, corn starch, salt, garam masala and chopped coriander leaves. Mix everything properly. Divide the dough into 8-10 equal parts and roll them into balls. If you are stuffing the dough with cashew nuts and rasisns, flatten each dough balls and stuff with cashew nuts and raisins and seal them (I have flattened the balls so I can shallow fry instead of deep fry)
Heat oil in a pan for frying, when the oil is hot slide in the kofta balls and fry it. Make sure the oil is not too hot or the koftas will burn. Before frying all the koftas, slide in one kofta ball and check if the oil is in the right temperature.
Fry on medium flame until they are golden brown and crisp. Remove on a plate lined with paper (this will soak most of the oil).
Add the gravy in a bowl, place koftas on top and garnish.
Serve with roti, naan or jeera rice.