‘Malai Kofta Curry’ is a very popular Indian vegetarian dish and also one of the most popular items to be ordered while in any Indian restaurant. Cutlets or Koftas made with seasoned & mashed cottage cheese/paneer and soaked in a rich creamy gravy of tomatoes, onions blended in aromatic spices, enhanced with rich cashew paste and adorned with milk cream is what in short, the paneer malai kofta is best described. Its a delicious accompaniment with rice and flat breads both.
With the temperatures cooling down, I have been craving for this the way my Mom used to make it and serve it hot chapatis or flat breads as said. But since cottage cheese is out of the question now, I am so glad that Tofu has replaced it many ways and besides that, nothing else has actually altered much, for this lip smacking side dish.
Ingredients To Make:
makes for 4-6 members
- 1 Packet of organic firm tofu
- 3-4 medium sized boiled potatoes
- 2 large onions chopped (for the gravy)
- 2-3 large tomatoes chopped (for the gravy)
- 2 inch grated ginger or 1 1/2 tsp ginger paste
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
- 3-4 green chilies or as per taste
From the Spice Rack
- 1/2 cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 /2 tsp red chili or paprika powder
- 1/4 and 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
- 2-3 tbsp of gram flour or chickpea flour
- 1/4 cup cashews soaked in water and churned into a paste in a blender.
- some crushed cashews and raisins for the cutlets (optional)
- 1 & 1/2 tsp Salt or per taste
- 1/2 tsp sugar or per taste
To Make the Tofu Cutlets
- drain the tofu well and get rid of all excess water and crumble all of it with your hand.
- mash in the boiled potatoes into the crumbled Tofu.
- add the 1/2 tsp of all the above mentioned spices- cumin, coriander powder, red chili powder, salt, garam masala and the gram flour into the mixture.
- You may also add some chopped cashews and raisins for a richer flavor but it is purely optional if you are not much of a sweet tooth fan for savory dishes.
- Knead a rough dough by mashing and mixing all the ingredients well. The gram-flour here helps to bind the mixture so that the cutlets do not break off while frying.
- Once done, make small round cutlets, flattening the top of it and shallow fry them in a non stick skillet unless both sides turn golden brown.
- gently remove them from the hot oil and place them on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.
For the Creamy Gravy:
- In a non stick vessel heat some oil.
- Add the cumin seeds and as they start to splutter add the 1/2 tsp turmeric and red chili powder and the remaining 1 tsps of cumin powder, coriander powder, salt and sugar.
- Mix well and then its time to add the chopped green chilies and the onions, garlic and ginger paste and saute until soft and almost cooked.
- Now add the chopped tomatoes and mix well on medium heat until the oil starts to separate.
- Add some water and keep mixing for another 5-7 minutes until the onions and the tomatoes are properly combined and soft.
- this almost smooth gravy now needs to be transferred into a blender and churned to make a rich paste.
- Add the blended gravy back to the pan, add some water and cover it with a lid to simmer.
- Meanwhile blend the soaked cashews and as it now transforms into a delicious milky paste 🙂 add this to the gravy cooking in the pan and stir it in to combine well.
- Check the salt and sugar seasoning – the taste of it is pretty balanced with no individual flavor overpowering the other.
- You may now add the garam masala powder and add some vegan butter instead of the ghee.
- Traditionally, milk cream is used to garnish the dish with tempting white strokes but the easier alternative here is coconut cream that does equally well. I din’t have one handy so I chose my garden green chilies for the garnish. 😉
- Tip: Avoid soaking the cutlets in the gravy while it is still piping hot or else they tend to break. Transfer the gravy in your serving bowl and add the cutlets once the gravy is comparatively cooler or while you heat it up before serving it to family and friends.
Tadaa…The outcome is definitely a more healthier, “veganised” version of the traditional paneer malai kofta and a show stopper for those who are yet to believe in the power of tofu. 😀
Served best as an accompaniment with hot rice or chapati/flat breads.
Pic Source : From my Kitchen with Love♥