Paneer malai kofta curry ( Indian curry with cottage cheese dumplings)

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I first had this heavenly treat as a kid at a restaurant in my neighborhood and it was probably the best vegetarian dish I have ever savored. I still remember biting into that cottage cheese dumpling, with the nuts and raisins and finally that smooth creamy gravy to finish that delicious bite. Layers of goodness, I say 🙂

Unfortunately whenever I ordered this at other restaurants, they came up with a brown malai kofta curry, much to my dismay. Not that it isn’t good, but when you expect something and receive something else, you sure do feel disappointed. I realized later that this dish has 2 variations, one nutty and cream based which gives it that awesome cream color, and the other one is tomato based.


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In this variation , no spice powders are used to distort the color of the gravy , standing true to its name ‘ malai ‘ which means cream in Hindi . Even the kofta balls are fried ever so gently to prevent them from browning , so as to maintain the cream color. The spice comes  from the chillies and the sweetness and nuttiness from the cashewnuts, cream , and cardamom . A little warning – if you are counting calories , forget it !! Please don’t ! This is definitely indulgent 🙂

I have been wanting to make this at home, but the ingredients that I found online didn’t strike a chord with the flavors I was looking for, until I came across this recipe by Chef Harpal. He very rightly describes this dish as ‘hot rasmalai’, which very much is a savory version to the popular bengali sweet rasmalai

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I hope you aren’t terrified by the long list of ingredients, yes it’s a lengthy procedure and time consuming , but hey it’s worth the effort once in a while 🙂

Recipe courtesy : Chef Harpal Singh

Ingredients:

For the kofta balls:-

500 grams paneer

khoya (optional)

2 tablespoons corn starch

1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

salt to taste

10-12 cashewnuts

10-12 almonds

25-30 raisins

oil as required for deep frying

For the Gravy :- 

4 white onions

3 tablespoons oil

3 bay leaves

6-8 cardamom

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1 cup cashew nut paste

6-8 green chillies, slit lengthwise

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

1/2 cup cream

salt to taste

Preparation:

Preparation of the koftas-

1.In a pan on medium low heat ,saute cashew nuts and almonds for a minute, add raisins , saute until they puff up. Remove from the pan and set aside. The stuffing is ready.

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2.Grated the block of paneer, add khoya if using, mash nicely , now add corn starch, salt to taste and cardamom powder. Knead this mixture well to form a dough.

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3. Make a lemon sized ball, make a well in the center and add the stuffing mixture, seal all over and roll until the surface is nice and smooth.

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4. Roll the prepared kofta balls in some cornstarch ( this prevents them from browning easily )and deep fry them, stirring slowly and carefully. Drain on a paper napkins and set aside. Let’s prepare the gravy.

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Preparation of the gravy –

1.In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil. When the oil is hot enough add bay leaves, cardamom , saute until fragrant.

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2.Add boiled onion paste ( see notes), saute for 3 minutes on medium heat.

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3. Add ginger garlic paste and saute for another 3 to 4 minutes until oil starts oozing out.

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4. Add cashew nut paste ( see notes) ,slit green chillies and saute for the next 6 to 8 minutes. Whnits cooked cashew nut paste will form a lump and ooze out oil. Keep stirring to prevent it from burning.

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5.Add 3 cups of water, stir and bring to a boil.

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6. Once the gravy has boiled, you may strain for a smoother gravy.( This is optional)

7. Add butter, sugar, salt and cardamom powder. Stir well.

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8. Finally add 1/2 cup fresh cream, Give it a final stir.

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Assembly-

1.To serve, put the prepared koftas in a serving platter and pour this luscious creamy gravy all over it. Serve immediately with some naan/paranthas.

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Notes:

  1. Onion paste- Quarter the onions, and boil in sufficient water until it softens. Remove the onions and grind it into a fine paste.
  2. Cashew nut paste – Take  whole/ broken  cashew nuts in a pan, add 3 to 4 cups of water , cook until the cashew nuts are done. They will float on top once they are done. Strain them , and grind to a smooth paste.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a beautiful week 🙂

Regards,

Freda

48 comments

  1. needeanshu says:

    Looks delicious.. Strangely though being an Indian whenever I have ordered this at restaurants I have always received the brown coloured version, so this comes as a refreshing change.. Way to go.. ???

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