January 3, 2010

Melt in the Mouth Paneer Kofta

malai kofta

How long did you think it would be? I mean, how long did you really think it would before I came back with another paneer recipe? You must have known it wouldn’t be long because you all know how I can’t resist that rich, creamy, irresistible goodness!

Kofta (as they are usually referred to in the South Asian Subcontinent) have a heavy presence over various cuisines; from the Arabian Peninsula to what was once Persia to North Africa and also Eastern Europe. The concept of the kofta (or kufteh, köfte, keftes, kufta, ćufta… I could go on for a really long time so I really think I should stop here) is that a ground form of particular ingredients are spiced (according to what herbs and spices are predominantly available in that country) and rolled into a certain shape. Now, they are usually rolled into spherical shapes but in some Arab counties they are shaped rather like long kebabs, therefore the concept obviously varies according to where it is being made. Kofta can be fried, steamed, grilled or baked according to what ingredients you added to the mix. I liken this particular recipe to a softer version of the Italian potato dumpling, gnocchi but non-vegetarian kofta would most likely equate to meatballs in Italy. Ground meat is usually the key ingredient but here at KO Rasoi I like to do things a little differently so, being the paneer monster I am, I gave in to my yearnings…

paneer kofta 1

I just had to share this recipe I created with you guys because it makes the softest, melt in the mouth kofta coated with the silkiest, delicate spicy-sweet sauce you have ever tasted. If this hasn’t sold you then the combination of honey, fennel and cardamom in the tomato, almond and cashew nut sauce will certainly get your tastebuds dancing to a Bollywood beat. That’s how certain I am that you will like this.

I’m not even going to say anything else except ‘good luck’ (… In putting your spoon down once you pick it up and start eating).

paneer kofta 3


(Serves 4-6)

For the kofta

450g paneer (fresh or grated on the fine side of a cheese grater if you are using a block of paneer)
1 tbsp ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green chilli, chopped
2 tbsp coriander, chopped finely
1 tbsp cornflour, plus more for coating
1 1/2 tsp salt

Oil to deep fry

For the sauce

¾ cup blanched almonds
¾ cup blanched cashews
¾ onion, minced
6 tbsp concentrated tomato puree
1 ½ tbsp ghee
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida
2 tbsp ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 red chillies, minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp fennel powder
2 tsp clear honey
1 tsp ground cardamom powder
2-3 cups water
Salt to taste
¼ cup coriander, chopped


1. Mix together all of the ingredients for the kofta and knead for 3-4 minutes until you have a dough-like consistency. Set aside.

2. Grind together the almonds, cashews, 1 cup of water, and the onion. Set aside.

3. Heat the ghee in a large non-stick pan and add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, ginger, garlic and chillies. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato puree and ground almond and cashew paste. Cook this until oil emerges at the surface.

4. Add the cumin and coriander powder, fennel powder, honey, cardamom powder and salt. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes and adjust the thickness of the sauce boiling with some water. Season with salt and garnish the sauce with a little chopped coriander if you wish.

5. Roll the kofta into oval shapes making sure there aren’t any cracks in them. Use a little oil to stop the mixture from sticking to your hands.

6. Heat enough oil in a pan to deep fry the kofta.

7. Roll the kofta in a little cornflour and dust any excess away.

8. Fry the kofta on a medium heat until they are a very light golden colour and drain on kitchen paper.

9. Assemble the dish just before serving by gently mixing the kofta with the sauce. You can make this ahead of time by keeping the kofta and sauce separate until you are ready to serve.

Serve with some steaming hot basmati rice and naan. Enjoy this… I really did!

paneer kofta 2

The results of the Create for a Chilli Chopper will be on their way to you soon!

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66 responses to “Melt in the Mouth Paneer Kofta”

  1. Pari says:

    Hi Sanjana. The pic looks so tempting that the description only leaves mouth watering. I am also a paneer freak and keep experimenting with it.

  2. Cool Lassi(e) says:

    It certainly looks like an edible velvet.

  3. lindsaymeyer says:

    Interesting recipe! Just had gnocchi last night and the recipe you described seems to have similar ingredients.

  4. Mother Rimmy says:

    I've never had this dish before. Looks delicious!

  5. Tasty Trix says:

    I know I say this about your dishes a lot – this is BEAUTIFUL! But I only say it because it's true. Oh my yum.

  6. experimentalculinarypursuits says:

    MmMM you sell it very well my dear! That sauce sounds heavenly and I can definitely dig up some Bollywood tunes to dance to! That dish is very drool-inducing!

  7. meeso says:

    Wow, lady, that is mouthwatering!

  8. Chow and Chatter says:

    man your an awesome cook lol

  9. MaryMoh says:

    Looks absolutely mouth-watering. Look too long at this dish, I think I will become a vegetarian 😛 Love all the ingredients used. By the way, I love Bollywood dance. I can imagine you dancing while making this dish 😀

  10. Kathy Gori says:

    wow!! been thinking of making some more paneer now I know what to do with it!

  11. Vrinda says:

    Looks rich and creamy…tempting click

  12. Dolly says:

    Wow Sanjana, Ur awesome mouth watering Click and perfect name for this creamy paneer delight has me sold already…I did not even read the recipe and I know I love it.. When I read the recipe..I'm craving for it rt now with all the nutty flavors. Looking fwd to a yummilicious 2010.

  13. Nandini says:

    Cool Lassi(e) is right, edible velvet! 😀

    Happy new year Dear!

  14. Ushnish Ghosh says:

    Dear Sanjana
    The reason for my delay in responding (in writing)is simple. I was virtually eating it.
    I dont eat Kofta in the market, simply because Kofta is a garbage dump..whatever is not sold, made a Kofta next day…:-)
    But now I will make it for sure at home. But can I make the paneer at home? Here baring the branded ones, all other paneer has non milk base like soya, tapioca starch, wheat flour et al.
    I must appreciate your great research, as usual, on Koftas.
    If the Kofta comes out well, I shall inform you, else look for it at Malar's Kitchen mishap 🙂
    Thanks for the recipe.. have an exciting week ahead

  15. Stacy says:

    Looks and sounds wonderful! Yum yum yum! 🙂

  16. Tina says:

    Never tried this…Looks creamy and yummyyy…

  17. Priya says:

    Wow such a creamy,rich and delicious dish..fantastic click!!

  18. Sushma Mallya says:

    Wonderful snap and a perfect dish to start a new year with,looks really good and love to have paneer any day….and wish you and your family a very happy & a prosperous new year…

  19. Shri says:

    Simply fabulous, Sanjana!

  20. Diana Bauman says:

    Paneer, sounds delicious! I've never had this but by your description, I need to try this soon. I love the ghee!

  21. Kathy Gori says:

    congratulations Ms. #1!!!!

  22. My Experiments with Food says:

    Hi Sanjana, Congrats for making it to the FB top 9. And this delicious kofta definitely deserves to there – right at the top.
    I make the paneer koftas almost in the same way, except that I skip the baking powder. The gravy is also similar, except the cashews and honey.
    Will attempt your version too.
    Wish you a very happy new year.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on reaching straignt at number one in foodbuzz top nine. Simply delighted for you – you deserve it because you strive for perfection in everything that you do. Well done.

  24. Siddhi Shirsat says:

    hey sanajana…ur koftas luks sooooooo yummy with the sauce…pic is so mouthwatering…awesome recipe…i vl try it very soon…yummm

  25. Sanjana says:

    Pari- Thank you for stopping by. I look forward to reading more paneer dishes on your blog and getting more paneer tips from you! 🙂

    Cool Lassi(e)- The sauce is really velvety. It's amazing how the pureed nuts act in the same way as cream.

    Lindsaymeyer- Yeah- the two are very similar but these are much softer 🙂 Enjoy!

    Mother Rimmy- I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

    Tasty Trix- Thank you so much. Coming from you (masterchef) that really means a lot to me! 🙂

    Experimentalculinarypursuits- Bring on the Bollywood! 🙂 Sounds like a plan to me!

    Meeso- Thank you 🙂 Glad you enjoyed reading!

    Chow and Chatter- Ahh thank you :$ I'm really not that awesome- I think I'm just obsessed with food lol.

    Mary- LOL! I hope the image of me dancing (terribly) to Bollywood soungs doesn't put you off making this!

    Kathy- It would be amazing with fresh paneer- I used store-bought because I had so much of it to use up but It would be so much better with the homemade kind! 🙂

    Vrinda- Thank you so much!

    Dolly- You're so sweet! Thank you! I hope you enjoy it- I wish I could send you all some so you can taste and judge for yourselves 🙂

    Nandini- Thank you 🙂 Happy New Year!

    Ushnish- Haha, I hope the virtual eating went well! I can understand how they get away with putting anything they want in kofta- Once everything is mashed and mixed it would be hard to tell ingredients apart! I hope you enjoy making this recipe- It's so simple, really. I'm sure you won't have any problems in the kitchen! Take Care!

    Stacy- Thank you 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading this!

    Tina- Thanks so much!

    Priya- Thank you for the lovely comment 🙂

    Sushma- Happy 2010 to you and your family! Thank you for your comment 🙂

    Shri- Thank you! 😀

    Diana- Thank you! I hope you enjoy this 😀 I love ghee too (I just can't eat too much otherwise I won't be able to fit through the door!) 🙂

    Kathy- THANK YOU SO MUCH! I seriosuly can't believe it! I'm so happy 🙂

    My Experiments with Food- I know that you won't have any problems with this then! 😀 Please do let me know how it goes!

    Anonymous- Thank you very much for your wonderful comment. Very touching :$

    Siddhi- Thank you so much! 😀 I hope you enjoy it!

  26. Ju (The Little Teochew) says:

    Dear girl, just look at that colour!!! It's in an unbelievably rich, gorgeous hue of vermilion. How can something like that not taste amazing? I googled "asafoetida" 😉 First time seeing this. I suppose I can omit that if I can't get it? I must really try cooking a dish from your wonderful blog!

  27. Sanjana says:

    Ju- Thank you so much :$ I did a little piece on asafoetida here: http://korasoi.blogspot.com/2009/12/unveiling-asafoetida.html
    It's nothing elaborate but just a little intro to it 🙂 Of course if you can't find any then just leave it out 🙂

  28. jayasri says:

    hi sanju,
    That looks great, beautiful picture, looks very yummy dear, will give this a try soon enough, a little late, but I love to wish you and your family a very happy new year

  29. Justin says:

    i absolutely love this dish, but i only get to eat it when i dine out. maybe i should be brave and try it at home

  30. Marina says:

    I understand your love of paneer 🙂 Palaak Paneer and Makhni Paneer are among my favorite thought this recipe looks amazing.

  31. Mae says:

    Wow, you removed the skins on your almonds? Industrious! I think I would've just make it with the skins, and then regretted my laziness very much ;).

    I am trying to cut my meat intake a bit and this will be a good dish to distract me from wanting lamb stew, I think. 😉

  32. Sanjana says:

    Jayasri- Thank you so much for your lovely comment 🙂

    Justin- Hey thanks for visiting and following! 🙂 It's so simple to make at home, really 🙂 I'm sure you could do it at home no problem!

    Marina- I'm so glad you love paneer as much as I do! palak paneer and paneer makhni are two of my favourites too!

  33. Sanjana says:

    Mae- I have a food OCD problem, I think! I hope it serves to be a good distraction for you!

  34. Lori says:

    Looks so yummy swimming in that sauce. Fantastic shot too!

  35. Oraphan says:

    Oh, this looks fantastic! It sounds amazingly delicious, you're selling this dish so well, it makes me feel so hungry in the middle of the night. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe:)

  36. Aparna Vijay says:

    Wow! Looks delicious..love paneer..wl def give it a try. thx for the recipe…If time permits do visit my blog – http://vegetarian-dishes.blogspot.com
    Aparna Vijay

  37. Ash says:

    I think the love of paneer runs in the family…..great recipe, will give this one a go too! Well done Sanjana.

  38. shahana says:

    delicious recipe witha wonderful click!!1

  39. s says:

    it does look irresistible!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Pls post how to make paneer

    saint bapu

  41. Fathima says:

    wow… that one leaves me drooling…

  42. 3 hungry tummies says:

    Now we are talking! This is my absolute favourite! The photo is great!

  43. Anonymous says:

    only 4 tbsp of tomato puree?? is that a typo?? how do u make the sauce with only 4 tbsp of liquid?

  44. Sanjana says:

    To clarify, by tomato puree I mean the concentrated paste that comes in a tube or jar, not the chopped/canned kind or passata. Some of the liquid is the water in the ground nuts and then just follow the directions in step 4 concerning the consistency of the sauce (i.e add water and tomato puree- this will become thick because of the ground nuts). Hope this helps.

  45. Devery says:

    I made this tonight and both my husband and I loved it! It really does melt in the mouth. I'll definitely be doing this one again soon. Thanks !!

  46. ghweiss says:

    This looks amazing, and your instructions are very generous. I'm bookmarking your blog as we speak 🙂

  47. kathdedon says:

    That looks delicious! I found your site via tastespotting. I look forward to exploring it more.

  48. Sanjana says:

    Thank you everyone- I really hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  49. Stella says:

    Yum, I've been trying to cook more stuff like this, so I'm making the Kofta and that fragrant sauce this week!

  50. Sara says:

    Yum! This looks amazing. 🙂

  51. Memória says:

    Wow. What an intense dish. I love making Indian because of the great variety of ingredients. This dish looks fantastic.

  52. Anonymous says:

    wow it looks too good!!

    from Me!

  53. Ami kapadia says:

    the recipe is awesome. I made it today for dinner, and me n my husband enjoyed it very much …adding honey was a great thing …the only thing I added was milk to reduce thickness of gravy.
    thanks again for such a nice recipe.

  54. AgnostiChica says:

    Thanks so much for this, Sanjana 🙂 It really is melt in the mouth! Made this for the weekend and DH who is not a fan of anything even remotely Kofta-ish wolfed it down 🙂

  55. T.K says:

    good lord, you're the paneer goddess! looks sinfully delicious…and a heart felt congrats to you on this recipe being chosen for the foodista tp 100 recipe. =)

  56. Bonnie Deahl says:

    I so enjoy reading your blog. It is in my RSS feed so I do not miss a post or wonderful recipe. The kofta are something I will try before this month is out and will report back.
    Thank you for your vegetarian inspiration!
    PS – I think Sanjay Thumma is a wonderful inspiring chef too…love his cooking videos.

  57. Aouda says:

    This looks so good I decided to make it for a friend who loves paneer and curry!
    It was a big hit(although I think I could've processed the nuts longer to get the sauce more velvety).
    I made extra koftas which I shamelessly enjoyed with ketchup the next day 🙂
    Thanks for posting this recipe

  58. Anonymous says:

    Hare Krishna
    This looks and probably tastes great . Can you suggest replacement for garlic & onion or i just leave then out

  59. Mona says:

    Stumbled across your blog through Pinterest – I love, love, love paneer (like eat-it-three-meals-a-day kind of love!) so I’m loving the site! We made this for a party this weekend and it was a HUGE hit – thank you for a wonderful recipe!

    • Sanjana says:

      Hi Mona, thanks for your comment. Really lovely to hear the kofta went down well! It’s one of my favourites. I’m exactly the same – I could eat paneer all day every day!

  60. NC says:

    Hi Sanjana.

    My son is alergic to all types of nuts. Should I just leave the nuts out or replace them with something else?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh no… where did I go wrong. The Kofta’s kind of exploded whilst I was frying them. 🙁

      • Sanjana says:

        Oh no! You need to make sure the kofta balls are formed very tightly. Next time, you can try placing them in the freezer for 30 minutes before frying.

    • Sanjana says:

      Hi, you can try leaving them out although I haven’t tested the recipe without. Let me know how you get on!

  61. It is so tempting. All your pics are awesome and so as your recipe.

  62. Kiran says:

    Hi Santana
    I made this recipe today and it was a hit.thanks a lot . I also added kesturi methi to the gravy and it worked out good.

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