So, as I mentioned in few of my earlier posts, the month of May is really special to me. While you will be reading more about it as you scroll below and check the post, let me tell you that this month has been a breeze with classes starting on a full swing and few other things, my hands are pretty much full, in fact, over flowing.
Last year, husband and me couldn’t celebrate our Anniversary together as he was out of India for couple of months finishing a project but thanks to technology, Skype helped us atleast exchange wishes and gave us an opportunity of a virtual date. This year, while I was dreading that the story might repeat, luck was his travel got postponed! So, when I asked him, what would be his choice of food – He simply said, “Make some Malai Kofta please”.
What’s not to like about Malai Kofta anyways? A perfect North Indian Main Course, a stunner at a lunch table, ideal to please guests at a party and extremely kid friendly too as the gravy is slightly sweet. It is a dish meant to please both, people and the palate.
Although the traditional version involves deep frying the koftas made of paneer or cottage cheese mixed with boiled potatoes, basic spices and some dry fruits too (which I have skipped). I prefer the appe pan version for the koftas that uses less oil yet gives excellent results and most importantly, doesn’t compromise on the taste. My husband is now used to my aversion of deep frying and also agrees that somethings can and should be controlled.
When it comes to ordering in restaurant, Malai Kofta is his first choice, so much so, that on our first date, he ordered the same. I, on the other hand, am more of the spice loving kind and prefer slightly less richer gravies. Since It was our first date, I simply controlled my otherwise honest nature and thought it would be best for him to take charge but after a few dates, I confessed that I am not a major fan but can make this really well. Now Malai Koftas are not your everyday lunch ideas. Firstly, the sabzi is very rich with a lethal combination of cashew, butter & cream but they have to made on special occasions. After all, what is life without some celebration and rich food?
For Malai Koftas, I personally find Naan a perfect choice of flatbread while Narayan prefers the Lachha Paratha. Now, Lachha Paratha, a close cousin of Malabari Paratha (which cannot be made with whole wheat flour) also uses a good amount of oil for the perfect flakes.
The Lachha Parathas that I made were made from Whole Wheat flour, the ones that TWF sent me earlier this month for review. This is the Indie variety of Flour that ensure soft flatbreads and were extremely tasty too. Since the meal was going to be heavy, I made the Ajwain Lacchha Paratha instead of regular ones as carom seeds aids in digestion. Hot piping parathas with ghee smeared on top along with the rich Malai Kofta is the best way to induce coma in a person. I meant, food coma!
Anniversaries are usually my day off from the kitchen and we either head to a café or a drive and have some simple food and enjoy our company. But since I also love pampering him with home cooked food, I made this during the weekend when he was returning back from an exhausting trip. When I told him that lunch was going to be his favourite Malai Kofta, he added that I make Lachha Parathas and some Dal Chawal Achar / Pickle and turn it into a complete meal.
The Dal was a simple yellow moong dal cooked with ginger garlic paste with a tempering of ghee and Jeera that made a perfect accompaniment to steamed rice and some pickle on the side.
I am so glad I married a foodie just like me or God knows what I would have done! Here’s to 7 years of our Marriage and being my best friend today!
Check out the recipe below with the step by step clicks to make a delicious bowl of Malai Kofta for your special occasions at home.
Recipe for Malai Kofta
Preparation time – 20 mins
Cook Time – 45 mins to an hour
Serves 3 people
Ingredients For the Gravy
- 5 medium sized White Onions
- 4 medium sized tomatoes
- 20 nos. Cashews soaked in ¼ cup milk
- 100 ml Cream
- 1 tsp of Kasuri Methi
- 1 tsp of Garam Masala Powder
- ½ tsp of Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp of Kashmiri Red chilli powder
- 1 tsp of cumin seeds
- 1 tblsp of ginger and garlic paste
- 2 tblsp of Butter or Ghee
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt as per taste
- 1 cup of water to adjust the thickness of the gravy + grinding etc
Ingredients for the Koftas (Makes 12 small appe size koftas)
- 150 gms Paneer
- 2 large potatoes (boiled)
- ½ tsp garam masala powder
- ¼ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- Finely chopped coriander leaves
- Oil as required for cooking the Koftas in appe pan
- Salt as per taste
Method to make the gravy –
- Roughly chop the onions and grind them in a mixer grinder to form a smooth paste and keep aside
- Roughly chop the tomatoes and make a puree in the mixer grinder, keep aside.
- Soak the cashews in milk for atleast 30 mins and grind to a smooth paste.
- Heat a kadhai, add the butter followed by Jeera or cumin seeds, saute until roasted.
- Add the minced garlic ginger paste and saute well until the raw smell disappears.
- Add the onion paste and cook well for atleast 15 to 20 mins on low heat to ensure there is no raw smell and taste.
- Add the tomato puree, mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Now add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and some salt. Mix well and let the mixture cook well for another 10 minutes until a good gravy consistency is formed.
- Add the cashew paste, stir well and check the salt.
- Now add the sugar followed by cream.
- Mix well and check for the salt again. Adjust if not up to taste.
- Also, If the mixture is too thick, add some water and adjust the consistency.
- By now the mixture will thicken and turn into a smooth silky gravy.
- Add the kasuri methi and the garam masala powder and mix it well until one boil and then switch off the flame.
Now over to preparing the koftas.
Method to cook the Koftas
- In a big bowl, crumble the paneer or cottage cheese and add the boiled mashed potatoes.
- Add salt as per taste along with red chilli powder and the garam masala powder along with finely chopped coriander leaves.
- Mix it well and shape them into balls and rest them in a refrigerator for atleast 30 minutes before cooking them in an appe pan.
- Heat a non-stick appe pan, pour few drops of oil and slowly place these balls in the appe moulds and allow them to cook on low flame before turning them over and cooking on the other side.
- Once they develop a crunchy texture on the outside, remove and keep aside.
- Just before serving, add the koftas to the gravy else it makes the dish very soggy.
Recipe Notes –
- I have used white onions to make this dish, they are less overpowering than their red counterpart and perfect for such gravies where the onions should not over power the gravy taste. Also, the white onions lend a slightly sweet taste when caramalised which is perfect for this gravy.
- You can, however use, any variety of onion as available and ensure they cook well on low heat. Any hint of raw taste of the onions or tomatoes spoils the entire taste of this gravy.
- Kashmiri Red Chilli powder gives a good colour to the gravy. No added colour is used in the gravy or the koftas.
- Before serving the malai koftas, spread a tblsp of cream and some crushed kasuri methi.
- Kasuri Methi lends a lovely aroma to the dish both during garnish and cooking, don’t skip this.
- I have used Amul Fresh Cream.
- The cook time for this dish is atleast an hour considering the slow cooking of the koftas in the appe pan, in case you wish to deep fry, the time will drastically reduce and it will be over in say, 10 to 15 minutes.