Recipe courtesy of Melissa Gaman for Food Network Kitchen

Malai Kofta

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
While there are many kinds of kofta, the fried balls in this recipe are potato and paneer based. Serving the kofta on top of the sauce keeps them crisp, but if you prefer a softer texture, you can spoon the sauce over them or even simmer briefly in the sauce before serving.


For the Sauce:

For the Kofta:


  1. Make the sauce: Heat the vegetable oil in a large wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cashews, a big pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper. Add 3 cups of water, bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes are very soft and the cashews are plump, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a blender; reserve the saucepan. Carefully blend until very smooth.
  3. Wipe out the reserved saucepan and set over medium heat. Add the butter and let melt, then strain the tomato puree through a fine-mesh sieve into the pan, pressing on the solids. Add the coriander, garam masala, cardamom and cayenne.
  4. Simmer, stirring well to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan, until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and simmer a few more minutes to heat through. Season with salt and keep warm.
  5. Meanwhile, make the kofta: Prick the potatoes with a fork; microwave until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then peel and transfer to a bowl; mash well. Add the paneer, jalapeño, cilantro, cashews, garam masala and 1 teaspoon salt and mix well. Sprinkle the cornstarch on top and mix in with your hands. Pack into 16 balls, squeezing the mixture together; set on a plate or baking sheet.
  6. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large pot until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350˚ F. Working in 2 batches, fry the kofta until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove to a rack set on a baking sheet to drain and sprinkle with salt while still warm. Pour most of the sauce onto plates and top with the kofta. Sprinkle with more cilantro. Serve with rice, naan and the remaining sauce on the side.