Baked Malai Kofta Curry – Indian cottage cheese and potatoes baked delicate dumpling soaked in a delicious silky smooth creamy and rich sauce.
Baked Indian cottage cheese in silky smooth curry is the absolute substitute for meat balls in tomato sauce. I mean no-one is going to miss the meat in this curry. The royal Mughlai cuisine is famous for is rich and extravagant food. Fried minced meat version is the original one of this vegetarian counter part that came into being over the years.
Secrets of getting a perfect curry :
- Malai Kofta curry is not a very spicy curry and but famous for its lusciousness. While the procedure for making this pretty straight forward the nuances make all the difference. Fried is best no doubt but baked is second best option.
- The tomato needs to be completely pureed or better use paste.. peel bits and seed etc are no no. The color of the sauce is mostly reddish in the restaurants as it has artificial color added. Moreover adding ingredients such as cream and more turmeric powder alters the red color definitely.
- The taste and color of tomato is at peak in summer months.
- Nut based mixture is prone to sticking to the bottom of the pan hence stirring is often needed.
- The step of cooking the onion nut mix first then reducing it is absolutely a must as the reduction enhances the flavor and texture.
- Finally remember unlike meatballs the cheese dumplings are very fragile and it will break if put in boiling curry hence the dumpling will go in after switching off the heat. allow the dumplings to soak in the flavors and moisture from the curry before serving.
Malai kofta mistakes (Cheese dumpling)
REASON : too much moisture
1. Instead of steaming the potatoes if you boil the potato and leave it in water for too long after cooking it will absorb moisture and turn the kofta balls soggy while baking or frying.
2. Homemade paneer(Indian cottage cheese) is not stained enough and like potatoes will turn the kofta soggy.
3. When no binders are used. To hold the shape some kind of flour is needed here.
Try adding binders (dry powders) like breadcrumbs, roasted chick peas flour or roasted Ali purpose flour or nut powders should work.
Mughlai Cuisine is very famous in India. Predominantly meat based dishes and their vegetarian versions are widely available. Here are some tried and tested recipes on this blog :
- Chicken korma
- Ground beef with peas Qeema matar
- Pan grilled kabab
- Tandoori chicken
- Creamy –White chicken curry
Vegetarian options :
Baked Malai Kofta Curry
FOR THE MALAI KOFTA -dumplings part
- 2 Potatoes Steam cooked,peeled and mashed
- 2 cups paneer (Indian cottage cheese) Grated
- 1 tsp Chili powder (use according to tolerance only)
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Garam masala powder (Any brand is fine)
- 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
- Salt to taste
- Small bunch coriander leaves
FOR THE CURRY part –
- 3-4 tsp Olive oil
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 tsp Chili powder ( Use paprika or Kashmiri chili pd) use for color not heat
- 1/3 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Garam masala powder
- Salt to taste
- 3-4 tsp Tomato paste
To cook and grind to paste :
- 1-2 Red onion (medium size)
- 8-10 Raw cashew nuts
- 1 inch Ginger
- 5-6 Garlic cloves
- 1 Green chili (any mild variety)
To garnish :
- 1/2 cup Heavy cream
- Few sprigs Coriander leaves
FOR MAKING THE MALAI KOFTA part –
- Peel the steam cooked potatoes. Grate or mash it.Grate or mash the paneer too.Mix all the ingredients given under Malai kofta part until well combined, make small balls and arrange on a greased tray. Gently brush the paneer balls with olive oil.
- Preheat the oven to 390° F and bake the paneer balls for 30-35 minutes. Turn in between to make sure it is evnly brown on all sides.Gently nudge the paneer balls if it is stuck with the oiled brush itself.Note : Malai kofta can be enjoyed as such as a healthy snack.
FOR MAKING THE CURRY part –
- Roughly cut the red onion, garlic and ginger and the green chili. Cook all this and the cashew nut together adding half a cup of water. When cool grind this to a smooth paste without adding the cooked water. Keep the water aside to use later.
- Heat a pan and add olive oil add a bay leaf when it warms up reduce heat to low add the ground cashew and onion paste. When the paste slightly dries up add all the spice powders add wait till the spice aroma comes.
- When the paste is cooked and dried up add the tomato paste give it a few minutes then onion cooked water. Stir well.
- Add 1 cup water and from this point make sure the lid is on the pan to ensure it does not splatter even while stirring. Allow this thicken a bit. Now check if there is sufficient sauce else pour 1/2 to 1 cup water bring this to come to a rolling boil when the sauce thickens switch off heat.
- Add the chopped coriander leaves and heavy cream and give it a good stir. Add the baked paneer balls(dumplings) and gently coat it with the sauce.Do not stir too much the dumplings will break.
- Serving suggestions : Fragrant plain pilaf or naan or any unflavored flat bread.Some cucumber slices too.
IDEA :- If you would like to turn your excess (mild) tomato soup into a curry. Then bake these dumplings, spice up and give your soup some make over and cook some plain white rice or buy some small plain naan and ta- daaa.. you have a new dish for the night… Good idea right!
Hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know .