Mali Kofta (Potato and Paneer Kofta in a Rich Tomato Cream Sauce)

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Mali Kofta (Potato and Paneer Kofta in a Rich Tomato Cream Sauce)

Mali kofta is a classic north Indian dish of potato and paneer cheese dumplings served up in a spicy cream-based tomato gravy. If that doesn't sound appealing, I don't know what is! But it's a rich dish so one that you may want to reserve for special occasions or simply when you want to pamper yourself. Although I have really have cut down my consumption of dairy, paneer cheese is still pretty much irresistible to me.

The sauce can be made ahead of time and reheated gently before serving. If it thickens up too much, add some water. Alternately, if it's too watery, whisk in a bit more corn starch (or arrowroot flour). As this dish is rich enough as it is, I decided to bake the koftas instead of deep-frying them and then added the koftas to the gravy afterwards so that the tender koftas did not break apart. It is truly an addictive dish, and one that I will be revisiting in future, as this recipe went over very well with my diners.

paneer kofta

Mali Kofta (Potato and Paneer Kofta in a Rich Tomato Cream Sauce)Mali Kofta (Potato and Paneer Kofta in a Rich Tomato Cream Sauce)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on August 21, 2015

Creamy spiced potato and paneer cheese dumplings served in a rich and fragrant tomato cream sauce — a north Indian classic

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

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  • 2 tablespoons ghee or sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 to 3 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coconut or brown sugar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 half teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • water as needed
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons corn starch, as needed
  • 1/4 cup fresh fenugreek leaves, trimmed and chopped (or 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves, crumbled)
  • 2 large potatoes, scrubbed
  • 12 oz (350 g) paneer cheese, mashed or shredded
  • 3 tablespoons chickpeas flour (besan)
  • 2 to 3 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • To make the sauce, heat the ghee or oil in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and stir for a few minutes until they darken a few shades. Stir in the shallots and sauté for 5 minutes or until they begin to brown. Add the garlic, ginger and chilies and continue to stir for another few minutes.

  • Add the ground coriander, turmeric, paprika, cayenne and garam masala. Stir a few times and then add the tomato, sugar and salt. Simmer until the tomato has thickened, about 15 minutes.

  • Pour in the coconut milk and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer gently for a few more minutes and then pour in the cream. Simmer for a few minutes longer, whisking in corn starch as needed to thicken or more water as needed to thin. To finish, stir in the fenugreek leaves, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand until ready to serve the koftas.

  • For the koftas, boil or bake the potatoes until fork tender. Let sit until cool enough to handle, then peel and transfer to a large bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. Stir in the mashed or shredded paneer, along with the rest of the ingredients for the koftas. Stir well to combine everything.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat a broiler. Oil your hands with a bit of sesame oil, and scoop out roughly 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture, shape into a ball, and then press down in the palms of your hands to make a small patty. Transfer to the baking sheet and repeat until all of the koftas are shaped.

  • Position the oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler and bake the koftas for 10 minutes until golden. Carefully turn the koftas over and bake for another 10 minutes. Broil longer until they are golden with browned specks. Let sit on the pan for a few minutes before serving, or wait to serve at room temperature.

  • To serve, gently reheat the sauce and scoop some of the warmed sauce into bowls. Top each with a few koftas. I like to serve this dish with Indian flatbreads to scoop up the extra sauce.

Makes 4 servings

Mali Kofta

Other delicious kofta recipes to try from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Spicy Baked Chickpea Koftas
Chickpea Potato Koftas with Ricotta Cheese
Baked Chickpea Kofta Tacos with Avocado and Harissa
Vegetarian Samosa Cakes with Tamarind Chutney


Simona Carini said...

What a nice combination! I am looking for suggestions on using coconut milk and yours is perfect.

Eileen said...

These kofte sound so good! I've never made kofte at home before, but I'm thinking that has to change very soon. :)

Joanne said...

I'm on a paneer kick right now, so these sound incredibly good to me. Love that you made the dish a bit less rich by baking the kofta instead of deep frying!