If you like meatballs and have never tried this creamy cheesy ball curry Malai Kofta, then you are seriously missing something big in life. And if you have tried it in the past and think its only possible in a restaurant then you are very wrong my friend. Malai stands for cream and kofta stands for the balls created with cottage cheese.
If you follow the recipe below I am sure you won’t miss anything that is served in the restaurant. I remember having Malai Kofta, back in Vashi (a part of Bombay/Mumbai called Navi Mumbai) as a take-away from a restaurant named ‘Sanjay’. We never had a meal as a dine-in in that restaurant ever always take-away (I don’t know the reason for that, was too young to question the reasoning). But I make this dish every time, I want to eat our take-away experiences back in my childhood.
I love my malai kofta with Naan and Jeera rice, what do you like to pair it with?
Couple of weeks back I decided to experiment while making my koftas and instead of using regular Indian paneer I used Turkish Peynir.
Beyaz peynir (Turkish, literally “white cheese”, “peynir” is from Persian panir) is a salty, white cheese made from unpasteurized sheep milk. The cheese has a slightly grainy appearance and is similar to Greek feta cheese. Indian Paneer on the other hand is made from Full fat Cow’s milk.
Beyaz peynir is produced in a variety of styles, ranging from non-matured cheese curds to a quite strong mature version. It is eaten plain, for example as part of the traditional Turkish breakfast, used in salads, and incorporated into cooked foods such as menemen, börek, and pide.
But this experiment of using Turkish Peynir to make Indian Malai kofta was a successful one. Had to just keep a check on the salt as peynir is saltier than paneer. You can see the result below:
Malai Kofta (Cottage Cheese Balls Curry)
To boil and grind into a puree
Making the Kofta
Take the grated paneer, mashed potatoes, corn flour, garam masala, cashews, raisins and salt in a bowl.
Mix well using hand. Knead into a dough.
Now divide and make 12-14 smooth balls out of the dough.
Take enough oil to deep fry the kofta - In my opinion it should be 5-6 tbsp. Heat the oil and add the kofta gently into the hot oil.
Keep moving them slowly such that they get cooked on all sides. Don't fry them on a very high flame else, the outside will be fried and the inside stays uncooked.
Once browned from all the sides, remove it and transfer it on paper napkin lined plate to absorb the extra oil.
Making the puree
In a pan, add the onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, cashew nuts and water. Let this simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium flame.
Once the onion and tomatoes get cooked and become soft, let it cool down before blending it.
After a few minutes, make a smooth puree out of it using blender or grinder.
Making the gravy/curry
Heat butter in a pan and within 20 seconds add oil on medium heat.
Once the oil is hot add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamon, cloves. Fry for 30-40 seconds.
At this stage at the puree prepared in the stage before this.
Let this cook till it get thick (if you feel its spluttering everyone, check the flame, if its too high, reduce the heat).
Once the mixture comes together and get thick, add the ground spices - turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam masala and cook for a minute.
Add water and bring the gravy to a boil. Now let it simmer on a low-medium flame for 10 mins under a cover. You can stir it occasionally.
You can add the dried fenugreek leaves now and mix everything well. If you are serving this meal immediately add the kofta and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes till the kofta soak some of the gravy and get softer.
If you want to serve it little later, then don't add the kofta immediately as it would mean the kofta getting too soft and the gravy considerably getting soaked it.
Add the heavy cream and garnish it with fresh coriander leaves.