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Malai Kofta (no fry, no butter, no cream, GF)

No Fry, No Butter, No Cream, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian
Creamy and delicious Malai Kofta are vegetarian dumplings prepared in a cashew gravy. This kofta is NOT fried but rather pan-fried.  
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 480 kcal


for the gravy

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1- inch stick cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large white onion roughly chopped
  • 2 green chilies roughly chopped
  • 1- inch ginger chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder paprika
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder cayenne
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • salt to taste
  • 3 plum tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts
  • 2 cups water add a little more while straining if needed
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp dry fenugreek leaves Kasoori Methi
  • 1 tbsp butter optional

for the kofta

  • 1 1/2 tbsp avocado oil divided
  • 1 cup paneer store-bought, soaked in hot water, grated
  • 1 cup potato boiled & grated
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cilantro chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger grated
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp cashews chopped
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt

for garnish

  • fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • sprinkle of Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 2 tsp heavy cream optional



  • Boil 2 russet potatoes (I only used 1, but just in case). For Paneer - add hot water to store-bought paneer and let it sit for 20 minutes. This will help ensure the paneer is soft.
  • For the gravy - chop the green chilies, garlic, and ginger, Also rough chop the tomatoes and onions - doesn't have to be finely chopped.

Prepare the Gravy

  • Heat up a dutch oven on medium heat, once hot, add oil followed by a bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, cloves, and green cardamom. Saute for a minute.
  • Add the onions. Saute for 2 minutes until translucent. DO NOT BROWN THE ONIONS!
  • Add the ginger, garlic, and green chilies. Saute for 2 minutes.
  • Now add the tomatoes followed by salt, coriander powder, red chili powder, Kashmiri chili powder (like paprika), and turmeric powder. Saute for 3 minutes until the tomatoes soften slightly.
  • Add the unsalted cashews. Saute for a minute.
  • Add 2 cups of water. Stir well.
  • Cover and cook for 5 minutes on low-medium heat.

Prepare the Kofta

  • In the meantime - prepare the kofta. In a bowl, grate the softened paneer, boiled potatoes, and ginger. Also add chopped green chilies, cornstarch, salt, fresh cilantro, chopped cashews, raisins, and ground cardamom.
  • Mix well. You'll need to use your hands to mash the mixture.
  • Evenly divide kofta mixture and form kofta balls. Set aside.
  • In the meantime, check on the gravy - turn off the stove. Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Let the gravy mixture cool down for 10 minutes before blending.
  • Back to the Kofta - heat up a castiron skillet on low-medium heat. Let the castiron heat up for 4-5 minutes until nice and hot. Add 1 tbsp avocado oil. Swirl the oil around.
  • Place all the koftas on the skillet. Let the koftas brown slightly for 2 minutes.
  • Using a spatula, gently move the koftas around. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes.
  • Notice the koftas are starting to brown. Cook on all sides little by little. Start moving the koftas to an area where the oil settles - my oil tends to flow towards the right, so I moved my koftas to the right. Cook for about 5 minutes - turning occasionally.
  • At this time I added another 1/2 tbsp of oil, cook the koftas on the sides where it's still white. This will take about 5 more minutes.
  • Now the koftas are done. Don't over brown them, but make sure it has a nice golden brown color. Turn off the stove and set aside.

Blend the Gravy

  • Transfer the cooled gravy to a NutriBullet or blender.
  • Blend until nice and smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Pour the gravy through a sieve and back into the same dutch oven pot.
  • Add milk (we are not adding cream). Stir.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.
  • Once done, this is what you should have. Taste the gravy, adjust salt as needed.
  • Add dry Kasoori methi leaves. Optional: if you want, add a tbsp of butter for extra indulgence.


  • Add gravy to a serving bowl followed by koftas. Garnish with fresh cilantro, a sprinkle of Kashmiri red chili, and I used 2 teaspoons of heavy cream for photography and presentation.


Calories: 480kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 15gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 620mgPotassium: 657mgFiber: 6gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 887IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 365mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Malai Kofta, Paneer, Potatoes
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