Paneer Kofta is a super-rich, absolutely creamy paneer recipe that spells a pure luxuriant vegetarian main-course. Paneer Kofta has a true Mughlai style gravy. It is a full soul-satiating paneer dish – one that teases your sense, tingle your taste buds, leaves your nostrils longing for more and then some. Malai Kofta is a complete sensory delight. Let’s call it food therapy.
A kofta quite literally is a little ball of meat, cheese or vegetables, often used in Indian cooking. Let’s call paneer kofta a vegetarian version of meatballs, shall we?
The koftas for this gravy are simply made with crumbled cottage cheese (paneer), spices and all bind together into mouth melting balls using potatoes. Later, these paneer koftas are doused in a finger-licking and borderline sinful gravy of cashew nuts, and onions.
Making of Paneer Kofta:
Step 1: Mix your ingredients together, shape into round balls and deep-fry in small batches. Boil and refrigerate the potatoes a couple of hours before making the koftas, this ensures a lot of time-saving and a non-sticky mixture. Paneer Kofta can be fried and set aside well in advance.
Step 2: Malai Kofta Gravy is a rich, festive kinda curry with a lot of spices, nuts, and cream. An interesting addition to this gravy is soaked and pureed cashew nuts. As sinful as they sound, cashew nuts add a nice thickness and nutty taste to the malai kofta gravy. Don’t add the kofta to the gravy way ahead of serving time. This just makes them soggy and strips them of flavor.
Is paneer kofta gluten-free?
Paneer Kofta is a widely popular gluten-free Indian main-course dish. The vegetarian meatballs are prepared with potato and grated cottage cheese. Whereas, the gravy has a base of onion, tomato and cashew paste. Many malai kofta recipes suggest adding all-purpose flour as a binder in the kofta mixture. But that is totally optional.
Are malai kofta and paneer kofta same?
Malai Kofta and paneer kofta are often referred to as synonyms. In both these Indian dishes, fried vegetable meatballs are dunked in a rich and creamy gravy. ‘Malai’ is the Hindi term for fresh cream, hence if the cream is added in the gravy the final dish is called malai kofta. Whereas, in paneer kofta gravy fresh cream might or might not be added. But usually, the taste and texture of both these Mughlai dishes are almost similar.
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Paneer Kofta is a true Mughlai style gravy. Learn how to make restaurant style malai kofta gravy recipe in a few simple steps.
- 200 gram paneer (cottage cheese), grated
- 1 potato, boiled and grated
- 2 slices of bread
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- oil for deep-frying
- 1 Cup onion, fine chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1/4 Cup cashew nuts
- 1 whole bay leaf (tej patta)
- 2 - 3 green cardamom (elaichi)
- 1- 2 green chilli
- 1 Cup milk, at room temperature
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala ( see recipe here)
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron strands
- 4 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
Heat oil for frying the kofta in a pan.
Remove the edges of the bread slices. Dip in water to soften for a second. Remove and squeeze well to drain all the water.
Mix all the ingredients for the kofta except oil in a bowl. Mix and mash nicely to avoid any lumps.
Make small, even bite-size balls of the mixture. Keep in the fridge while oil is heated.
Heat oil in a deep-frying pan over medium flame.
Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to low and fry the koftas until golden brown. Drain the koftas on a plate and keep aside.
Soak saffron in 1 tablespoon of milk and set aside.
Boil cashew nuts in 1 Cup of water for 5 - 10 minutes. Blend to a smooth paste and set aside.
Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Add bay leaf, and cardamom. Fry for 1 - 2 seconds.
Next, add the chopped onion, ginger, garlic, green chilli and fry till onion is golden brown in colour.
Add spices, salt and cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and grind the masala to a smooth paste.
Once again, heat pan, add onion paste, cashew paste, and milk. Stir to combine nicely.
Add salt, spices and allow the gravy to simmer over low heat for 5 - 10 minutes. Adjust the consistency of gravy by using water if it seems too thick.
Once you are ready to serve, add the deep-fried kofta in gravy along with saffron milk. Stir gently to combine. Simmer paneer kofta curry for 3 - 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Serve Paneer Kofta Gravy with naan or paratha.
- You can use gluten-free bread as well to bind the kofta. Or use all-purpose flour if you are not making a gluten-free version.
- Kofta can be prepared and fried a few hours before as well.
- Chopped raisins can be stuffed inside the kofta for sweet flavour.
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