Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Malai Kofta (Cottage Cheese Dumplings in a rich tomato gravy)

What’s in a name?” quoted Shakespeare. “Lot’s”, I’d say, if the name is “Malai Kofta”. And so, as promised on my facebook page, here is the recipe for this culinary equivalent of the hydrogen bomb.

I must not hesitate to admit that this was one of the more difficult dishes I’ve made. What sets this dish apart this that it is that although it is extremely popular (almost a “cannot-do-without) at wedding functions and large festivals. This mildly spiced, almost sweetish gravy is a combination of finely blended spices and enriched with cream, onion and tomatoes. Can I see you salivating already?

Let me tell you, making this dish is a long drawn and elaborate process; however, it will be worth the effort when you have a soft, perfectly fried koftas covered with creamy gravy, that you will want to share with your family and friends.
The taste queens loved it, and I’m sure you will as well.

Go ahead, indulge!!

Malai Kofta

For the Koftas:- (will yield about 18 medium sized koftas)
  •          220 grams Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
  •          80 grams dried fruits; roughly chopped (I used almonds and raisins)
  •          1 tablespoon corn flour (and some more for dusting)
  •          Oil for frying
  •          Salt to taste

For the Gravy:-
  •          1 cup boiled onion paste
  •          1½ cup tomato paste
  •          2 tablespoons tomato puree
  •          3 tablespoons cashew paste
  •          2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  •          2 green chillies, roughly chopped
  •          1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  •          1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  •          1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  •          1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  •          3 tablespoons ghee (Clarified butter)
  •          1 cup fresh cream (I skipped this)
  •          Whole Spices (2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 1 small bay leaf)
  •          Salt to taste
  •          Coriander leaves for garnishing.


To make the kofta’s:-
  •  Heat a pan on a low flame, dry roast the almonds and raisins till they change colour. Once done allow them to cool and then chop them roughly.
  •   In a bowl, roughly grate the cottage cheese, add 1 tablespoon corn flour, salt and mash it together such that it forms a single lump
  •  Now take a lemon sized piece and roll it well between your palms. Then make a small well in the center and fill in some of the chopped dry fruits. Cover the well and roll it once again between the palms of your hand. Repeat the process with the other Koftas. Dust each kofta with corn flour and keep aside.
  • Fry the koftas in oil on a low flame till they are bright orange in colour. Frying on a slow flame will ensure that the Koftas are cooked right to the center and pass the ultimate test of being crisp on the outside and soft inside.
  •  Once done remove and drain on an absorbent paper.

     For the gravy:-
  •     In a heavy bottomed pan heat ghee, and add in the whole spices. Sauté spices till you have a fragrant aroma from them.
  •      Once the spices are done, add the onion paste and allow it to cook till the oil leaves the sides. Now, add the ginger garlic paste and stir well, allowing to cook.
  •     Add the cashew paste and mix well till the onion and cashew paste have integrated well. This will take time. You will know it’s done when the mixture moves around the pan in a single lump.
  •     Now, add the spice powders, green chillies.
  •     Once the spice powders have integrated well, add in the tomato paste and puree & salt. Allow this to cook well. If required, add in a cup of water at this point.
  •      If you are using cream, add it in at this point.
  •      Add the koftas in the gravy and give it a stir.
  •     Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves and  accompanied with parathas

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