This rich and creamy Malai Kofta or baked Indian meatballs in cashew gravy is absolutely comforting and delectable. Its aromatic flavor and decadent taste is perfect for all ages.
I made it a vegan and gluten free version of the traditional Indian recipe to suit to most types of diet.
Indian cooking is quite regular at my home because my husband is totally into it.
He has been craving for malai kofta for a while and even though I let him enjoy the vegetarian version I have been wanting to make a vegan version so that I could also enjoy it.
It’s my childhood favorite and simply wanted the same old taste. At the same time I was being conscious of the calories and fat that I would consume. Therefore, I finally came up with this vegan version of Malai Kofta. It took me a while to bring those childhood comforting flavors but at last I nailed it.
My family insisted that I should share this recipe with you all so here you go with the details……
Ingredients for Malai Kofta
Extra firm tofu
For the gravy
Unsweetened coconut milk
Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek)
How to make kofta
- Firstly, I combined all its ingredients in a mixing bowl and smashed it well with my hands. (cashews and raisins won’t get mashed).
- Secondly, I formed small round balls between my palms and placed them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Next, I placed the baking sheet in the pre-heated oven and baked them for about 50 minutes or until they were golden brown in color.
- Once done, I took it out of the oven and kept it aside.
How to make Gravy
- Firstly, I blended onion, tomato, tomato paste, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic and water in blender into a smooth paste.
- Secondly, I heated oil in a nonstick pan and added cinnamon powder and cardamom powder.
- Next, I added the onion tomato masala into it and sautéed until it started to dry up (about 15 minutes).
- Thereafter, I added spices to it and sautéed again for another 5 minutes.
- Afterwards, I stirred in coconut milk, salt, sugar, garam masala and kasoori methi. Then, I let it cook covered for about 15 minutes at a low flame.
How to assemble Malai kofta
- Once the gravy was ready, I gently placed the koftas in it.
- Then, I turned it off and garnished with cilantro.
- Lastly, we all enjoyed this delicious cuisine with naan and jeera rice/steamed rice and a side salad.
- Make sure to spray the koftas with cooking spray so as to avoid too much drying.
- Do not overcook the koftas.
- Its ok if the gravy does not come to boiling point after adding coconut milk to it because we do not want curdled milk at all.
- Most importantly, do not add too much salt in the koftas. It should be on a lighter side. For the gravy as well, it should be on a sweeter side so do not overdo the salt.
Frequently asked questions:
How long do they last?
The koftas and the gravy can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for about 2-3 weeks. Simply warm them and assemble. However, the leftovers for the final recipe can also be refrigerated for about a week. The gravy might become thicker and saucy but the taste would still be as delicious.
What is Malai Kofta?
It is basically a vegan meatball with Indian flavors. It can be deep fried or baked or air fried. I chose to bake it in the oven primarily. However, I have also tried air frying the koftas and they came out excellent. Then theses meatballs are simmered in a rich cashew gravy.
What can I pair it with?
You may pair this entree with naan, steamed rice, jeera rice and a side cucumber salad.
You may also like:
Cauliflower Tikka Masala
Turmeric Tofu Cashew Curry
Instant Pot Coconut Rice
Instant Pot Herbed Masala Lentil Curry
Zucchini Pinto Beans Kofta in Spicy Cashew Curry
Vegan Jackfruit Turmeric Masala
Vegan Seitan Cilantro Masala
Black Beans Curry
Did you make it?
If you get a chance to make this recipe then please leave your feedback in the comments below along with the ratings. In addition, you may tag @kiipfit on Instagram because we would love to see what you cooked.
For the koftas
For the Gravy
- 1/2 of whole red onion (roughly chopped)
- 1 whole roma tomato (roughly chopped)
- 1/4 cup cashew nuts
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 inch ginger root
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk (tetra pack/carton)
- 1 tsp salt or as per taste
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek) [optional]
- Preheat oven at 400-degree Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet by greasing it nicely.
- In a mixing bowl combine all the kofta ingredients and mash with hands very well.
- Then, form about 14 round balls between palms.Place each of them on the prepared baking sheet with 1/8-inch gap. Spray them with cooking spray so that they don’t dry up. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake it for about 50 minutes or until golden brown in color.
- Once done, take it out and let it cool.
For the gravy
- In a blender, combine onion, tomato, tomato paste, cashews nuts, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic and water. Blend it into a thick smooth paste.
- Heat oil in a kadhai or nonstick pan and add cinnamon powder and cardamom powder. Immediately spoon out the onion tomato masala into it and saute for about 15 minutes sauteing it at interval of every 2 minutes at medium – high flame or until the masala starts to dry up.
- Add chili powder, turmeric and coriander powder. Saute for another 5 minutes at medium flame.
- Now, lower the flame and add coconut milk, salt,sugar, garam masala and kasoori methi. Mix until the masala dissolves well into the milk and there are no lumps. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes at low-medium flame. Make sure the milk does not curdle so keep the flame low and stir at interval of 5 minutes.
- Once done, remove the lid and place the koftas into the gravy. Turn it off and garish with cilantro and serve with naan and jeera rice/steamed rice.
- The gravy should not be runny. It should be slightly on a thicker side.
- To keep the nutritional value in check I have used coconut milk from a carton/tetra pack instead of canned.
- For Air Fry option – Follow the step 2 and step 3 for kofta and place then in the air fryer basket. Spray it with cooking spray so they don’t dry up and Air fry then t 350 degree for 30 minutes or util golden brown in color.
- Feel free to deep fry the koftas if desired. The nutritional value will vary in this case.
- This recipe tastes best when consumed on the same day. However, the leftover can be refrigerated for about a week in an air tight container.