Malai kofta translates to creamy dumplings in English which are served with creamy cashew gravy. It is a famous Indian vegetarian curry and is served in Indian restaurants around the world.
It is mild in spiciness and savory in taste with a hint of sweetness. Malai kofta goes well with Indian bread and rice.
Malai kofta balls are traditionally deep-fried but they can be air-fried for a healthier option. The gravy is quick and easy to make on the stovetop or in the instant pot without monitoring.
The main ingredients for kofta are boiled potatoes and paneer. Homemade paneer is preferred for soft and creamy koftas. It is extremely easy to make paneer at home in the instant pot.
Don't get daunted by looking at the ingredient list of malai kofta. Most of the ingredients and spices are easily available in the pantry.
Raisins are an important ingredient in making koftas as the sweetness comes from them. A few raw cashew pieces add the crunch.
A little cornstarch helps in binding the koftas well so that they do not break, especially while deep frying.
The gravy is cashew-based and made with tomatoes, onions, and spices. Adding some heavy cream is optional.
Malai kofta balls or dumplings are made by mixing spices with grated homemade paneer and boiled potatoes. Mash the boiled potatoes well and then add grated paneer to them.
Now add and mix raisins, raw broken cashews, serrano pepper, grated ginger or ginger paste, cornstarch, and salt. Make into a soft smooth dough.
Divide the dough into small parts of equal size and make it into a smooth ball. First, press the dough piece in your fist a few times to make it more smooth. Then roll it in between your palms to make a smooth round ball.
Kofta balls are now ready now and can be either deep-fried, air fried, or frozen for later.
Malai kofta balls are easy to fry in the air fryer if you are looking for a healthier option. However, it can take a little longer than deep frying.
Preheat the air fryer to 360 °F and then place the kofta balls in the air fryer basket lined with parchment paper.
Air fry the kofta balls for about 8 minutes and then coat them with some oil with the help of a basting brush or an oil sprayer. Flip and cook them on the other side for another 8 minutes.
I have made balls of about 30 grams each. If the size of the balls is different then the overall cooking time may change slightly.
The kofta balls are done once they are golden brown from all sides. Remove them carefully with the help of kitchen tongs.
Traditionally malai kofta has always been deep-fried and it is a lot quicker than air frying. Also, it is a dish that is prepared once in a while so you might want to indulge in deep-fried koftas.
Heat some oil or ghee on medium flame in a frying pan, you will need at least an inch in height. Once the oil is hot, drop the kofta balls and deep fry them until golden brown in color.
To avoid koftas from breaking while frying, ensure that you add cornstarch while binding and making the kofta balls.
Malai kofta curry can be made on the stovetop or in the pressure cooker like an instant pot. I like to make it in the instant pot as there is not much monitoring involved.
To make kofta gravy in the instant pot, select the 'Saute' mode on the 'Normal' setting. Once the pot is hot, add oil.
Once the oil is hot add some cumin seeds and allow them to crackle. Add and saute chopped onions, ginger garlic paste, and chopped tomatoes.
Add the soaked cashews and spices (except garam masala and kasuri methi).
Deglaze the pot by using some water and close the lid. Cancel 'saute' mode and select the high-pressure mode with the pressure release valve in the sealing position.
Perform a quick release by moving the release valve in the venting position until the silver pin drops. Use an immersion hand blender directly in the instant pot container to make a smooth gravy.
Add and mix the garam masala, and crushed kasuri methi. Malai koft gravy is now ready. You can add some heavy cream, but it is optional.
Malai kofta is usually served for lunch or dinner. While serving, place the koftas in a serving dish and then pour the gravy over it to cover the koftas well.
Generally, one or two koftas are a good serving size depending on other dishes served in the meal.
Since koftas can end up becoming soggy if kept with the gravy, so it is best to put the gravy only when you are ready to serve.
Malai kofta is popularly served with naan and basmati rice in Indian restaurants but it also goes well with other Indian bread like paratha, puri, or roti.
To make a complete meal, other side dishes like raita (yogurt condiment), pickles, lentil crackers (papad) can be served.
Malai kofta can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days. Again, it is best to store the curry and koftas separately so that they do not become soggy.
When you are ready to serve, heat up the curry and the kofta balls and then serve them together. Kofta balls can be reheated in the air fryer or in the microwave.
You can freeze deep-fried kofta balls in the freezer for 2-3 months. When you are ready to eat, you can defrost them in the microwave and heat them in the air fryer.
Another option is to freeze the kofta balls without cooking. They also stay well up to 2-3 months. When you are ready to use them, you can deep fry them or air fry them after defrosting them in the microwave.
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like
- Instant pot Indian vegetarian recipes
- Matar paneer
- Palak paneer
- Dal makhani
- Grilled paneer tikka
- Paneer wraps
Don't forget to rate the recipe by clicking the stars. Also, pin the recipe by clicking the "Pin" button, for your future reference.
Malai Kofta | Air Fryer
- 100 grams Paneer (homemade, grated)
- 100 grams Potatoes (boiled)
- 1 teaspoon Ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon Serrano pepper (finely chopped)
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 tablespoon Raisins
- 2 tablespoon Cashews (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon Corn starch
- 300 grams Tomatoes (cubed)
- 150 grams Onion (cubed)
- 10 count Cashews (Raw and soaked in water)
- ½ cup Water (more if needed)
- 1 tablespoon Ginger garlic paste
- ½ tablespoon Serrano pepper
- 2 teaspoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
- ½ tablespoon Organic cane sugar
- ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon Cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
- ¼ teaspoon Red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Garam masala powder
- ½ teaspoon Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 1 tablespoon Cilantro (chopped)
- 2 tablespoon Heavy cream
Making malai kofta curry in the instant pot
- Turn the instant pot on "saute" mode on the normal setting.
- Once the instant pot is hot, add oil.
- Once oil is hot, add onions and saute until translucent.
- Add ginger garlic paste and continue to saute for a few seconds
- Add tomatoes, cashews and spices - turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder and saute it.
- Add water and deglaze the bottom of the pot with a spatula.
- Cancel saute mode, close the lid and turn the pressure cook mode or manual mode on high setting for 5 minutes with 'release valve' in sealing position.
- Once done, perform a quick release by moving the valve in venting position until the silver pin drops.
- Blend using a hand blender into a smooth paste. (You can blend in Vitamix or another blender)
- Add salt, sugar, and garam masala and mix it well.
Making kofta balls
- Add all the kofta ingredients into a mixing bowl.
- Mix everything well into a soft ball.
- Divide into 8 parts (about 30 grams each) and make smooth round balls.
Air fry malai kofta balls in the air fryer (option 1)
- Preheat the air fryer to 360 °F
- Place the kofta balls in the air fryer basket preferably on parchment paper.
- Cook for 8 minutes at 360 °F.
- Apply oil on the kofta balls on all sides using a basting brush or an oil sprayer.
- Flip and cook for additional 8 minutes at 360 °F.
Deep frying kofta balls (option 2)
- Heat oil in a frying pan on medium-high flame.
- Once the oil is hot drop the kofta balls gently and deep fry from all sides until golden brown.
- Take the kofta balls out from the oil and place them on a kitchen towel.
How to serve malai kofta
- In a serving plate, place all the koftas.
- Cover it evenly with the curry.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and optionally some heavy cream.
Leave a Reply