Malai Kofta Curry
Winter is here and so is the last month of 2019 - a decade gone by in a whiff!!
Im loving the Christmas Bakes season, that has officially started in my kitchen, with cakes and cookies. Fruits were soaked months ago and smell absolutely boozy and delicious. If you don't know what I'm talking about - go ahead and check my Instagram page and Christmas Bakes highlights to see some fabulous holiday goodies that Ive been dishing out and their whooping happy feedback I've been receiving all through.
The blankets are out and so are the mufflers and sweat shirts, I wouldn't say its that cold as yet to start wearing sweaters, although I miss my winter wear that's happily lying all packed up in my loft. That said and done, piping hot, comfort food is getting dished out at home. One such dish that takes me down the memory lane is - Malai Kofta.
In the early 2000s, back with friends from my degree college - frequenting Dhabas on a long drive, was a monthly routine after finishing off those tiring management assignments. Well, there was no bad traffic in that day and age, plus we could ride/ drive away safely without any major safety issues. Malai Koftas with butter kulchas was one of those repeat dishes that we ordered from one such Dhaba expedition. We had two vegetarians in our gang, so we got the best of both worlds too. But hey we all love sipping on our beer and playing billiards!, still do!
Creamy, rich, made with crispy koftas dunked in a cashew gravy with mellow spices - this gravy is all you need to beat the winter blues away and warm your tummies with deliciousness.
This gravy tends to be on the sweeter side. Nope ! do not even think of adding that chilli powder or excess black pepper corn. The creamy, silky smooth gravy pairs exceptionally well with rotis, parathas, ghee rice and a simple veg pulav. Ensure that you do not burn or over cook the kofta balls, be generous with the cornflour while your rolling it over them - this is what mainly gives it a nice crispy on the outside and soft on the inside texture. Paneer needs to be fresh and potatoes mashed out completely with no lumps. Follow these simple instructions and you have a restaurant style Malai Kofta Curry at home :)
For the koftas :
250g - Paneer/ Cottage Cheese, grated
3 - medium sized, boiled potatoes - grated
1 tsp - Black pepper powder
1/2 tsp - Coriander powder
1/2 tsp - Garam Masala
1/2 inch - Ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp - Corn flour, plus extra for dusting
Cashews and rasins for stuffing
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
For the gravy :
3 - Onions
1/2 cup - Cashew nuts
4 - Green chilies
1 tsp -Cumin seeds
1 - Bay leaf
3 - Green Cardamom
4 - Cloves
1 inch - Cinnamon stick
1/2 cup - Fresh cream
1/4 tsp - Black pepper powder
1/2 cup - Whisked curd
1 tsp - Kasuri Methi / dried fenugreek leaves
Salt to taste
Oil - 3 tbsp
1. In a deep vessel - add 1cup of water and boil chopped onions, cashew nuts, green chillies (mentioned under gravy). Let this boil for 5 mins, once cool - blend to a fine paste. Do not add any additional water.
2. For the koftas - Grate the paneer and potato, add it to a large mixing bowl. To this add black pepper powder, coriander powder, garam masala, ginger, salt to taste and mix well. Next add cornstarch and ensure all the ingredients are blended well enough to form round, smooth paste like texture. Take sufficient portion and fill the potato paneer mixture with dry fruits in the centre and form a roundel. Roll these balls in additional cornflour to form an even coating, dust off the excess flour.
3. Heat sufficient oil in a frying pan - fry the koftas until golden brown , set aside.
4. For the gravy : Heat oil in a flat pan - add cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf and cloves and let them crackle.
5. Next add the finely ground cashew onion paste and cook on a low flame, until the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
6. Add fresh cream, 1 tsp Sugar, coriander and black pepper powder. Stir well and cook for a few minutes ensuring that the paste does not stick to the pan.
7. Whisk curd and add this to the above mixture, along with salt to taste- cook for 5 minutes. You may add additional water basis the desired consistency. I normally prefer a thick ketchup like texture for my kofta gravy and not too runny.
8. Finally add in garam masala, kasuri methi and give the sauce one final stir. Add fried koftas in to the creamy sauce, cover the pan with a lid, turn off the flame and let it soak in the sauce for a min of 10mins before serving.