Restaurant-Style Vegan Malai Kofta

Jump to Recipe
This Restaurant-Style Vegan Malai Kofta is the ultimate Indian comfort food! Crispy dumplings in a creamy, spiced curry that will excite your tastebuds! Includes detailed instructions for frying and baking, metric and imperial measurements, a soy-free option, and an in-depth cooking video with lots of tips!
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 15 mins
5 from 26 votes

Today I have the most special Indian recipe for you: Restaurant-Style Vegan Malai Kofta! It’s rich, luxurious, brimming with spices, and perfect for special occasions.

What is Malai Kofta?

Malai Kofta, in short, is a dish that consists of fried dumplings made with potatoes and paneer (a fresh Indian cheese) that are swimming in a spiced, creamy golden gravy. Malai means “clotted cream” and kofta refers to meatballs, though most versions of Malai Kofta don’t contain meat.

Restaurant-Style Vegan Malai Kofta

Malai Kofta is a rich dish with roots in the Mughal Empire, which reigned India from the 1500s until its decline in the 1800s. Even after the Mughal decline, Mughlai cuisine left its impact on Indian cuisine. It’s a fusion of North Indian and Central Asian cuisines and is known for being rich, indulgent, and quite spicy.

Since Malai Kofta has its origins in northern India, it’s not a dish we ate at home. My family is Gujarati, which tends to be the most vegetarian and vegan-friendly cuisine throughout India and is quite different from the popular Northern Indian cuisine you’ll find at most Westernized Indian restaurants.

Watch: How to make Vegan Malai Kofta

Why you’ll love this vegan malai kofta

Malai Kofta is a special occasion dish. This is not something you’ll likely be making on an ordinary Wednesday evening. For one, there are a few steps involved so it’s not a quick weeknight curry. And two, it’s a very rich, decadent dish so people don’t eat it on a regular basis.

While my veganized version of Malai Kofta is certainly healthier than the traditional versions made with heavy cream and cheese, it’s still deep-fried! Speaking of deep-fried, I know many of you may not be interested in deep frying for health reasons…BUT, if you are going to consume deep-fried food, *this* is the recipe to to do it with.

I promise you, it is soo freakin delicious that it will 1000% be worth it. That said, the recipe does include instructions on how to bake the kofta instead of frying them, but IMO, the deep fried version is significantly better.

In the photos below, the deep-fried kofta are on the left; the baked kofta are on the right.

Restaurant-Style Vegan Malai Kofta

Ingredients needed for vegan malai kofta

Kofta are traditionally made with paneer and potatoes and then deep-fried. Below are some of the key ingredients.

High-Protein/Super-Firm Tofu

Traditionally, malai kofta is made with paneer, an Indian cheese with a spongy, chewy texture. Paneer is firmer than extra-firm tofu, so to most accurately replicate its texture, I use super-firm tofu (aka high-protein tofu), which has almost all of the water pressed out of it so it’s quite firm like a block.

If you can’t find super-firm or high-protein tofu, you can use extra-firm tofu. If you do use extra-firm tofu, be sure to really press the water out of it. A quick 15-minute press will not do. I’m talking a full-hour press with changing the paper towels at least once in between. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of other prep work you can do while the tofu is being pressed.

And, if you have the time (e.g., it’s only Thursday and you’re planning to make this on Saturday). freeze the extra-firm tofu first. Freezing tofu changes its texture, making it chewier and spongier, which will help us mimic the texture of paneer.

To freeze tofu, just open the package, drain the water, and cut into a few slabs or chunks. Transfer to a sealable bag, and freeze for at least 3-4 hours, or overnight. Then, defrost the tofu in the fridge. Or, for a quicker thaw, you can simmer the tofu in a pot of water for 15 minutes. Once the tofu is thawed, squeeze out any remaining water.

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Malai kofta is traditionally a paneer and potato dumpling, so of course we’re using potatoes! I use Yukon Gold potatoes, and I boil them just until they’re done. You don’t want them to be as soft as you’d make them for mashed potatoes because you’ll need to grate them. Plus, really soft potatoes will make the dough sticky and too soft.

Also, be sure to dry out your potatoes. After they’re done, drain them in a colander and let them sit there fore at least 10-15 minutes. If you grate your potatoes as soon as they’re done boiling, the potatoes will retain some water and make the dough watery.

Ground Cashews

The dough also contains raw or roasted cashews that have been finely ground up (I use a food processor). This helps the dough stick together a bit, and adds another element of richness.

Cornstarch

The cornstarch (known as “corn flour” outside the U.S) is what binds the mixture. If you omit it, the dough will be too soft to hold together the balls and they will turn mushy if you try to fry them.

I haven’t tried this recipe using arrowroot powder or tapioca flour/starch, but am pretty sure those substitutes would work.

How to make a vegan malai kofta gravy

The kofta are traditionally served in a rich, creamy golden-orange gravy that resembles curry. This gravy recipe illustrates one of the hallmarks of good Indian cooking: layering spices (whole and ground) and aromatics to create depth of flavor.

Whole Spices

In many Indian recipes, as in this one or in my Chana Masala or my Jackfruit Sweet Potato Curry, you start off by toasting whole spices, either dry or in oil. When you add whole spices, you add little hints of each whole spice to a dish that perfume it throughout. And toasting them brings that complex depth of flavor and aroma that you associate with delicious Indian food.

The spices I use in this dish are green cardamom pods, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and cumin seeds. You can find the latter three spices at most grocery stores. For green cardamom pods, you can find them in Indian grocery stores, online, or at specialty markets like Whole Foods.

I use a mortar and pestle to break up the cinnamon sticks a bit, then add the remaining whole spices and crush them just a little (I don’t attempt to finely grind them). This starts the process of releasing their essential oils, which is where all the flavor is found.

Aromatics

After you toast some whole spices, it’s time to sauté aromatics. Most Indian dishes rely on onions, garlic, and ginger. I also like to add green chili peppers (such as serrano peppers) to this mix. This is something I learned from my mom, but if you are sensitive to spicy food, you can omit them. Or, use a milder pepper like jalapeños and remove all the seeds.

Ground Spices

Once you’ve sautéed the aromatics, it’s time to add ground spices. These need just about 30 seconds to toast and stir into the aromatics, and they’ll become very fragrant quickly.

To extend the shelf life of spices (ground or whole), store them in glass or opaque containers in a cool, dark, dry place (not above your oven!). And for more tips on spice storage, check out this guide.

To recap, the basic formula for many Indian recipes is: (1) toast whole spices, dry or in oil; (2) sauté aromatics such as onions, garlic, ginger (and green chilies); (3) toast ground spices and stir into the aromatics.

Tomatoes

Once you’ve completed your “formula,” you can add the rest of your ingredients. For this gravy, that includes tomatoes, cashews, and salt. I use three extra-large tomatoes and be sure to keep the juices, as they’ll help create the gravy.

Cashews

This is the source of the gravy’s incredible creamy richness. While this gravy looks incredibly rich, it’s actually very wholesome!

I soak the raw cashews in boiling water for 15 minutes before adding them to the gravy to ensure they adequately soften (they’ll also simmer on the stove for 15 minutes). While they’re soaking, you can prep other ingredients.

Plant Milk and Lemon Juice

Once the gravy is done simmering, it gets pureed in a blender with some plant-based milk and lemon juice. You can use water instead of the milk and it will still be quite creamy. The acidity in the lemon juice helps to balance the heat of the spices.

I like my gravy quite thick, but if you want a thinner texture, add more milk or water to the blender.

Fenugreek Leaves (Kasoori Methi)

I try not to include specialty ingredients in my recipes unless I think they make a notable difference. But kasoori methi (the Indian name for dried fenugreek leaves) is one of those ingredients that does make a difference. It sort of tastes like a hybrid between fennel and celery and it adds a really unique flavor to Indian dishes and enhances the overall flavor of the Malai Kofta.

Usually the leaves are crushed or crumbled over Indian curries before serving, which is what I do in this recipe. You can find fenugreek leaves in Indian grocery stores or online. Unfortunately, it’s one of those ingredients that doesn’t have a real substitute (fenugreek seeds are not the same thing), so if you can’t find it or don’t want to buy it, just omit it.

I promise the Malai Kofta will still be delicious!

Restaurant-Style Vegan Malai Kofta

Tips for making vegan malai kofta

1. One of the ground spices is Indian red chili powder. Please note that this is NOT the same as regular chili powder that you can buy at any grocery store. It is made exclusively from dried red chilies, so it is significantly spicier and different in flavor than chili powder (which is mixed with other spices).

If you don’t have Indian red chili powder, you can (a) omit it – this is a good option for those who want a mild heat; (b) substitute with cayenne pepper, but a smaller amount (I usually do about half), as I think cayenne pepper is a bit spicier; or (c) omit and add more green chili peppers if want it to be spicy.

2. If you don’t have a mortar & pestle, a spice grinder or coffee grinder, it might be hard to break whole cinnamon sticks into small pieces. If that’s the case, omit the cinnamon sticks and add ½-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon along with the other ground spices. Or you can try one of these hacks for grinding spices!

3. Try to roll the kofta into circular rounds of even size, as much as possible. For reference, all of mine weighed between 40 and 50 grams. I don’t expect you to weigh them, but just in case you want to know how large to make them. You can make them smaller or larger, depending on how you like to serve them. The larger they are, the longer they’ll take to cook.

Restaurant-Style Vegan Malai Kofta

4. As I mentioned earlier, I highly recommend the deep-fried method. No, it’s not “healthy” but eating a deep-fried vegan dinner from time to time doesn’t make you unhealthy. Deep frying the kofta tastes significantly better and it’s the authentic way to do it! In the photo above, the deep-fried kofta are on top; the baked kofta are on the bottom.

Speaking of frying these balls, the exact cook time will depend on the type of pan you use, the oil you use, and the size of your kofta. Start checking at 5 minutes. They should definitely be done within 10 minutes. Mine usually take 5-8 minutes.

5. You can make the gravy ahead of time, up to 3-4 days in advance. Just store it an airtight container in the fridge and reheat before serving.

You can also prepare the kofta ahead of time and fry when ready. Arrange the rolled kofta balls on a parchment paper-lined tray, cover, and store in the fridge for a day or two. Or, you can freeze them for longer. Bring to room temperature before frying/baking.

How to make this recipe allergen-friendly

To make this recipe soy-free, replace the tofu with an equal weight of chickpeas (i.e., use 454 grams or 16 ounces of cooked chickpeas). Use a potato masher or fork to finely mash the chickpeas (or blitz them in a food processor to make it easier). If you are not allergic to soy, I recommend sticking with the tofu because while the chickpea version is delicious, it tastes more like a falafel than traditional malai kofta.

If you are using canned chickpeas, weigh the chickpeas after draining them because the weight listed on the can (usually 440 grams or so) is much higher than the actual weight of the chickpeas once drained (closer to 250-300 grams). For reference, 1 cup of cooked chickpeas weighs about 160 grams or 5.6 ounces, so you’ll want to use between 2 3/4 – 3 cups of cooked chickpeas.

To make this recipe nut-free, you can replace the cashews in the gravy with an equal amount of coconut cream or full-fat canned coconut milk. And instead of ground cashews in the kofta, you can use all-purpose flour. If you’re allergic to just cashews and can have other nuts, I recommend substituting the ground cashews with almond flour.

I hope you give this extra-special Restaurant-Style Vegan Malai Kofta recipe a try! If you do, please rate and review the recipe below and tag me with your recreations on Instagram!

Restaurant-Style Vegan Malai Kofta

5 from 26 votes
This Restaurant-Style Vegan Malai Kofta is the ultimate Indian comfort food! Crispy dumplings in a creamy, spiced curry that will excite your tastebuds! Includes detailed instructions for frying and baking, metric and imperial measurements, a soy-free option, and an in-depth cooking video with lots of tips!
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Diet Vegan
Keyword: curry, dumplings, gluten-free, Indian
Serving size: 6

Ingredients

Kofta

  • 16 ounces (454g) high-protein or super-firm tofu (can use extra-firm tofu if you can’t find it*)
  • 12 ounces (340-345g) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and washed
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch (40g), arrowroot powder (40g), or tapioca flour (37-38g)
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup (4g) fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon Indian red chili powder**
  • Kosher salt or sea salt to taste***
  • 1/4 cup raw or roasted cashews (35g), finely ground up in a food processor****
  • Vegetable oil for rolling and for deep frying

Gravy

  • 1-2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (or a neutral oil of choice)
  • Whole spices
  • 4-6 whole green cardamom pods (I used 6)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Aromatics
  • 1 extra large yellow onion, or 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 1-2 green chilies*****, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 ½ tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Ground Spices
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1-2 teaspoon Indian red chili powder (use less for a milder heat)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 extra large tomatoes (16-18 ounces or 480-540g) total, chopped with the juices
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes and drained
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) unsweetened plant-based milk (I used this), or water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Garnishes/for Serving

  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek leaves (also known as kasoori methi; if you don’t have it, just omit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped (keep the stems)
  • Indian bread (naan or paratha) or white rice

Instructions

  • Cover the 1 cup cashews with boiling water for 15 minutes, or while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Make the Gravy. Add the cinnamon sticks to a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or coffee grinder and break up into small pieces. Then add the green cardamom pods, cloves, and cumin seeds and break up a bit more. You don’t need to fully grind them, just a little to start releasing their oils.
  • Heat the coconut oil or oil of choice in a large pan over medium high heat. Once melted and hot, add the Whole Spices. Sauté for 45-60 seconds or until very fragrant, tossing frequently to prevent burning.
  • Add the onions and sauté until they start to turn brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, green chilies (if using), and cook for 1 minute, tossing frequently. Add the Ground Spices and stir frequently for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook until broken down and softened, 2-3 minutes. Then add the soaked cashews and salt. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium or medium-low heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, opening the pot to stir occasionally, until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
  • Transfer the mixture to a high-powered blender, and add the lemon juice and plant-based milk. Remove the center cap from the blender lid (to vent steam), but cover the hole with a kitchen towel. Blend until the gravy is completely smooth and very creamy. If it’s too thick for your liking, add more plant-based milk or water.
  • Transfer the gravy back to the pan and heat over low. Using your fingers, crush the kasoori methi (fenugreek leaves) into the gravy, and add add 1/2 teaspoon garam masala. Stir to combine. Then, stir in the chopped cilantro.
  • Prep the kofta ingredients
    1. Add the potatoes to a saucepan and cover with cold water. Season generously with salt. Bring to a boil and boil until the potatoes are just barely fork-tender, not too soft and falling apart. You want them to be firmer than you’d use for mashed potatoes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them sit there while you prep other ingredients. This helps hem dry out and remove excess water.
    2. Add the 1/4 cup cashews to a food processor and blitz until they turn into a finely ground powder. Wipe out the food processor bowl.
    3. Add the tofu to the food processor and pulse many times until it’s in tiny pieces and almost resembles ricotta.
    4. Once the potato is dried out, grate it using a box grater (the side with large holes), or crumble the potato finely using your hands.
  • Make the kofta. Add the grated tofu and potatoes to a large bowl. Add the ground cashew powder, cornstarch (or tapioca or arrowroot), minced ginger, cilantro, red chili powder, garam masala, and salt. Knead with your hands until the dough holds together.
  • Roll the dough into 18 uniform-sized balls, about 40-50 grams per ball. Oil your hands as needed while rolling to prevent sticking.
  • To Deep-Fry the kofta (recommended method). Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil or high-heat oil (I used sunflower oil) in a heavy-bottomed wok or pan over medium heat. To check if the oil is hot enough, add a tiny bit of the kofta dough to the oil. If the oil around the kofta immediately sizzles and it rises to the surface in a few seconds, it’s the right temperature. If you have a thermometer, wait until it reads 350°F/176°C.
  • Using a spider, slide in one kofta into the hot oil. Wait to see that the kofta holds together, and then gently slide the other kofta in, one by one. Do not overcrowd and fry them in several batches. Toss the kofta around occasionally to prevent them from sticking to one another, and until they are crisp and deeply golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined surface and continue frying the remaining kofta.
  • To bake the kofta. Preheat the oven to 425ºF/218ºC. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Space out the rolled kofta so that there’s a bit of space between them. Lightly brush them with a neutral oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden and lightly browned on the tops and bottoms.
  • To serve the malai kofta: Heat the Gravy in its pan to warm up (if not already warm). Add the Kofta and spoon the Gravy over the Kofta. Garnish with additional cilantro and serve with indian bread or white rice. Be sure to add only as many kofta to the gravy as you plan to eat, as leftover kofta will become soggy in the gravy. For leftovers, store the kofta and gravy separately.

Notes

* See notes above in the “Ingredient Rundown: Kofta” section on how to use extra-firm tofu. To make this recipe soy-free, see the “Tips for making this recipe” section.
** See notes above in the “Tips for making this recipe” section on Indian red chili powder substitutes.
*** I used about 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Keep in mind kosher salt is considerably less salty by volume than table or sea salt, so if you use the latter, use less.
**** The ground cashews helps the kofta stick together. If you don’t want to grind up cashews, you can use breadcrumbs instead, but it won’t be gluten-free.
***** Omit the green chilies for a mild version. If you like it very spicy, keep the seeds intact. You can use serrano peppers, which are spicier, or jalapeño peppers, which are milder.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @rainbowplantlife and hashtag it #rainbowplantlife

Leave a Comment & Rating

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider giving it a star rating along with your comment! It helps others discover my blog and recipes, and your comments always make my day :) Thank you for your support!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe




54 comments on Restaurant-Style Vegan Malai Kofta

  1. Ava

    I made this last week and omg was it good! My guests were really impressed and both had seconds. I made no substitutions at all, just air-fried the kofta. The recipe is pretty straightforward, very doable, and I am not an amazing cook. One thing I’ll say I was grateful for my blender and processor. Thank you, I’ll be making this recipe again!

  2. Marie weinert

    Made this for a special occasion. Did not fry to keep calories down and more healthy family loved it and will definitely make again. Was very labor intensive but worth it in the end.

  3. Jens

    This is really good!
    I did it yesterday and it was fantastic!
    We had it with rice and naan and btw I was wondering you don’t have a recipe for naan on your blog! Why not? 😉
    Thanks a lot and keep it up!
    Best, Jens

  4. Kate S.

    This recipe is AMAZING. Worth the 2h30min. It takes a long time but do it on a night you have time and need a creative recipe to inspire you. This is the best a vegan malai kofta will get, in my opinion. Definitely add all the ingredients, including the chili’s and the Fenugreek leaves. They are necessary. I had to add extra cayenne. It wasn’t spicy at first.

  5. Lorraine

    What can I use instead of the tofu? Any suggestions??

    1. Marjorie Bouscayrol

      Tempeh? 😊

    2. Nisha

      the blog post mentions you can try chickpeas for a soy-free option.

  6. Madelyn

    This was delicious. It took the whole afternoon to make but it was so worth it. I ended up baking in the oven because I didn’t have enough veg oil and was very pleased with the texture. My husband says 2 times a week would be great, you know what I told him…yum! I could do that!
    I cook plenty of your meals and tell all my friends your website.

  7. Jen

    Amazing recipe!! I cannot say enough how USER FRIENDLY your recipes are bc of how thoughtful and thorough you they are. I can’t imagine the time it takes to prepare and then share for free! My hat is off to you Nisha!🥳

  8. Isabelle Lefevre

    i have made this delicious recipe (to fry small balls, the oil must be very hot as it say in the recipe) ,can’t wait to do it again….

  9. Doug Powers

    We made this tonight. Yes, it’s a bit involved, but it is RIDICULOUSLY good. The gravy alone is enough to make you weep for joy.

  10. Anu

    Made it today for lunch! Loved it! I had most of the ingredients.
    I had to add in some peanuts into the gravy instead of just cashews (ate the rest of the cashews earlier on so didn’t have enough today :( )
    Also had to use almond flour in the kofta instead of cashews for the same reason above. Did not have any cilantro for my kofta.
    Overall I loved it! I broke my 14hrs fast with this dish – probably not the smartest idea but OMG so worth it!
    Ate mine with rice that I boiled with bayleaf, cloves, whole cardamom, peppercorn, and in the end tossed in some saffron! It was so fragrant and tasted amazing with the kofta!
    Thanks Nisha!

    1. Anu

      Oh and I decided to be a bit “crazy” and added in some coconut palm sugar to accentuate the lime/salt and it was perfect!

  11. Jenn

    10/10 winner recipe! So flavorful and the air-fryer kofta was perfectly crunchy ~

  12. Namratha Sastry

    This was delicious- can’t believe vegan malai kofta can be so good! Thank you so much for sharing!!! I realized right when I started that I was out of cashews- so I sub’d peanuts and silken tofu with some sesame seeds. Amazing! Thanks!

  13. Marty

    Made this over the weekend. It takes a bit of time but it is so good. I’m sure I will make it again soon.

  14. Sophie

    This was really delicious, but my kofta fell apart. I followed all your instructions to dry the tofu; I even froze it to make it more spongy. Any ideas? I baked the second batch of kofta and they turned out perfect, so it wasn’t a total bust.

    1. Mary S.

      My first idea would be to ask if you were rough with the kofta, or didn’t roll them properly. My second question would be, did you add enough corn starch? That holds it together when moisture hits it… corn starch swells and is a thickener. And also: freezing tofu creates ice crystals in little “pockets” in the tofu, then thawing and pressing it removes much of that water. The freezing process makes tofu firmer but “spongier,” making it more “meaty,” and more porous/permeable for sauces and flavorings. That last part doesn’t matter as much in this recipe, because you’re crumbling it. You really should try to use superfirm tofu if you can: even extra firm has more water.

      My personal suggestion is go to Trader Joe’s for their superfirm tofu: it’s delicious, organic, more protein per gram for your money, and it’s more consistent in its firmness than any other brand. It’s delicious. Makes great baked barbecue “ribs,” “bacon,” and doesn’t need as much delicate handling as softer tofus when the cubes are stirred in my one-pot dishes.

      So when you troubleshoot, it was either too much moisture, not enough corn starch “glue,” you cooked the potatoes too long or didn’t dry them out, or you didn’t form them effectively. You’ll have to troubleshoot it, she’s not there to see what happened. :)

      And even if it fell apart, you could just stir it into the sauce and serve with rice or some kind of Indian bread, don’t throw good food out… as Julia Child would say, you’re alone in your own kitchen, who’s gonna know? 😉

      I make kofta in the oven, in flattened balls on baking parchment, and they’re a breeze. I hate frying, the smell lingers in my house days and cleanup is a mess, and it’s more fattening. Nisha is young, healthy and genetically skinny, but many of us prefer to avoid fried foods with oil’s dense empty calories if there’s an acceptable healthier alternative. Oil isn’t a whole food, it’s a refined fat, the densest calories no matter what oil you use. There’s already plenty of fat in the nuts. And I’m cooking for me, not for a wedding! I bake my falafel in flattened balls on baking parchment, too. You’ll get the same flavor profile even if you aren’t “authentically traditional.” 😉

      If it would be good enough for Julia, it’s good enough for you. 😁

      1. Sophie

        Thank you for all the helpful details. I will definitely give it another go. I didn’t through anything out and they were delicious baked. :)

      2. LISA

        I haven’t prepared this dish yet, but I’m thinking if you don’t want to fry, the air fryer might produce great results.

  15. Donna Schaffer

    Another great tasting recipe!! THANK YOU!! love the bollywood dance while blending sauce!!

  16. May

    Hi there! Just wondering if I could use sweet potato or pumpkin instead of the Yukon potatoes?
    Thanks!

  17. Callie Vail

    My husband and I made this as a date night recipe. I loved everything! We indulged and fried the kofta and it was so good. The only recommendation I would make is that if you don’t have a good blender either to use ground cinnamon or to remove the cinnamon stick before blending. We were picking out chunks of cinnamon from the gravy. Of course if you have a high end blender that won’t matter. The gravy would be good with lentils or tofu on its own too!

  18. Kruti

    Made this for lunch today and it was, like all of your recipes, a total hit! The gravy was so good I almost contemplating skipping the kofta and just eating that alone.

    This was the first time I made the effort to grind whole spices and won’t be the last. I did not expect the payoff from this extra step to be so large! For any recipe perusers reading this – if have these whole spices…trust. You want to follow this step as written.

    My mom and I are your biggest fans, Nisha! Thank you for this delicious recipe!

  19. Marijana

    Ok, there are so many directions and explanations here… like I’m trying to propel an airplane. Ummm… nope, to scary to even read till the end.

    1. Mary

      Surveys show the average American will only attempt a new recipe if it has five to eight ingredients, max, and takes less than an hour to prepare. So you’re not alone. This isn’t an everyday recipe, and also recognize that rural women have more time to cook in India, with simple tools. And the middle and upper class castes there have servants to do it (despite being outlawed, they still have de facto castes, and women and poor servants are still the ones stuck in the kitchen there). As an example, I make my samosas with filo sheets! Faster and delicious, and I never liked dough.

      You could make it in stages and refrigerate each part, to be continued another day. Don’t pre-grate and freeze potatoes, though. Smaller steps (“serial approximation”) aren’t as intimidating. You could use ground spices from the store instead of grinding your own, or grind spices yourself and store a bunch in airtight bottles. You could bake it, instead of hovering over a hot pan on an oil-spattered stove, on your achey feet after a hard day. Find the shortcuts you’re willing to accept. You’re not trying to honor Gujarati wedding guests, you just want to make something new with a delicious flavor profile. I’ve been vegetarian since 1972, and Indian foods are one of my three standard favorites, but I am not willing to take three hours to do this, I take acceptable shortcuts. And I also don’t have, or need, an heirloom-quality, fancy Vitamix. I’m not paid by sponsors, and my Breville Hemisphere blender is half the price, comes highly recommended by impartial America’s Test Kitchen, and lasts many years. And you can use a cheap dedicated Braun coffee grinder if you wish to grind your own spices. Just make sure you replace preground spices from the store in a timely manner.

      You might want to peruse a cookbook called “Lord Krishna’s Cuisine.” It’s vegetarian/vegan Indian recipes, and has profound respect for ingredients and the subtleties of authentic Indian cooking. It’s in your library, probably. Most of the recipes are simpler. Your family will still know you love them, even if you don’t spend hours kneading bread or hovering over a hot pot.

      1. Marijana

        I would like to thank you for taking your time to write this to me. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help.
        First of all, I’m not American.
        Second, I’m not afraid of cooking and ingredients, but I’m not familiar with this meal, so reading a ton of instructions and “wait” “don’t” “can” and “whatever” (I’m paraphrasing) is just so … Well, what’s the nice word for “not inviting”?

  20. Sivani

    This recipe is so easy and tasty!! I made my brother and dad eat it without telling them it’s vegan and they didn’t even notice/loved it! I’ve made this twice now and it does not disappoint. Highly recommend if you’re still on the verge of trying, you can’t go wrong with this one! Thanks Nisha!

  21. Ben

    Is there any way to substitute ground cardamom in place of the pods? It seems ground is easier to find near me.

    1. Joe

      I’m going to try this substitute using 2/3 – 1 tsp ground cardamom in place of the pods. I was thinking of turning the heat down a bit and roasting the spices a little longer. Just don’t want to burn it! I’m planning to use dried ground cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and cumin.

  22. Kat

    I’m still surprised, it is sooooo yummy! I will make all your recipes from now on :p
    Thanks Nisha, now it is one of my favourite recipes

  23. Andrea

    Made this last night and it went down an absolute storm! Loved the video and the step-by-step guide on here as it does cover everything. I followed the recipe as written and only used ground almonds instead of ground cashews in the koftas, but otherwise Nisha is right in saying all other ingredients are pantry stables or very easy to find. The sauce is VERY creamy and a true delight. An all-round winner as far as I am concerned :)

  24. Janani

    This was an absolute winner with my family & friends! For the kofta instead of 5 tbsp of tapioca starch, I added 3 tbsp tapioca starch, 1 tbsp chickpea flour & 1 tbsp of semolina flour (for extra crunch). I also chose to bake it. I’m glad to say after 8 years of being vegan I’ve found my go to celebratory dish! Thank you :)

  25. Terri

    Made it. Loved it. Served it to my carnivore friends and they loved it too. This is my first Rainbow Plant Life recipe but won’t be my last. Thanks so much for making this recipe and detailed information available. I appreciate it.

  26. Finding Lynnie

    Oh, so good. Even my tofu-hating boyfriend begrudgingly cleaned his plate!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Haha I love hearing that. My boyfriend allegedly doesn’t like tofu either but he loves this dish. Thanks for stopping by :)

  27. Lara Kaye

    This recipe sounds fabulous and I want to make it, any suggestions to replace the tomatoes? I have a reaction to tomatoes :(

  28. Bhavini

    Always wanted to make kofta without deep frying them.
    So glad I found this recipe and turned to be very tasty. My family and friends didn’t believe it’s made with tofu.
    Btw love looking at the posts. Will try some other recipes as well
    Thanks Nisha.

  29. Olivia

    Would it be possible to use coconut cream instead of cashews? I don’t have access to raw cashews, and in a round trip is about 1.5-hour drive. So super inconvenient to get them, especially in these days of social distancing.

    1. Johnna

      I am also wondering this

  30. anand

    Really a wonderful way to replicate malai kofta – thank you for sharing, Nisha.
    Wondering if you’ve explored recipes with young jackfruit, Indian dishes or others? Am thinking to try it with murgh masala or jackfruit tiki masala.

  31. Mike Barron

    I had most of the ingredients and extra time so I gave it a shot and it was great! My Picky eaters (10 and 12 Years old ) loved it and asked for it again…always a win.They liked the Kofta enough to ask for me to use them as meatballs for the next pasta night, and I have also been asked to smash the leftovers and fry them as hashbrowns.

  32. Elisa

    Just made… even still frying the Kafka. But I couldn’t resist trying. My daughter is raving . I am blown away!!, fantastic. I froze the pressed tofu…texture was great. Didn’t have garam Masala….made a quick mixture. Easy. Thank you so much for sharing this relatively easy delicious recipe.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Elisa, so happy to hear that you and your daughter were blown away with this recipe! Thank you for sharing your feedback. And glad the freezing tofu trick was helpful!

      1. Elisa

        Hi Nisha…I made it again tonight. It is fantastic. A lot of steps but well worth it. I am going to have pressed frozen tofu on hand so that I’ll always be prepared! BTW I used arrowroot, it held together beautifully. What I wanted to add onto my last entry was that I shared the finished dish with three other friends, they all went absolutely wild for it! A very impressive, comforting dish.I have also made the peanut stew, with great success! You have won another fan! Thank you so much .

  33. Rae Stanton

    I love this recipe – we just made it last night! I did the baked version of kofta, lightly sprayed with oil on both sides, and baked for a total of about 40 minutes. I did make some additions too! I added about a quarter cup of peas to my gravy, plus about a teaspoon or so worth of Better Than Bouillon to the gravy, and extra lemon, personally. for the peppers, I used Serrano peppers as my heat – overall, I loved this, and I’m happy to say that I finally successfully made one Indian dish 😂

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Rae, so lovely to hear that you love this recipe and yay for making a delicious Indian meal! Thanks for sharing what you did with baking the kofta and your modifications. Super helpful to see how readers actually cook in the kitchen.

  34. Maneesha

    I LOVE THIS RECIPE!! So so so delicious! Nobody can tell this is vegan! Better than restaurant style, Nisha! you totally nailed this! I used my air fryer for the koftas, 350F for 15mins – turned out beautifully!

  35. Aakriti

    Made delicious Malai Kofta using this recipe over the weekend. It tasted absolutely scrumptious. Definitely restaurant style, maybe even better. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Nisha!

  36. Shabrana

    I made this dish and absolutely delicious. I will make it again!

  37. Shari

    An indulgent recipe which the cashews helped to create. Non-vegans would never have guessed there’s no dairy or indian cheese. Highly recommend making this recipe, it’s a fabulous treat!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Shari, thank you so much for the feedback. I am so glad that everyone enjoyed this indulgent recipe :) It’s one of our favorite special treats!

  38. GK

    Absolutely incredible and well worth the effort to make! If I didn’t know it was vegan and gluten free, I never would have guessed :) Instead of deep frying, I used an air fryer, which gave a crisp bite with a soft interior. I will definitely make this again!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi there! I am so happy you enjoyed my malai kofta recipe! It does require a bit more effort than most of my recipes but glad you think it’s worth the effort (we think so too…my boyfriend keeps requesting this recipe over and over). So nice to hear that it worked well with an air-fryer too – I’ve been wondering that myself so I’m glad it worked out!

Development Alchemy + Aim