Malai Kofta for a Potluck Party of 25

“You remember the potluck party on Saturday evening? I am making a list of the dish each of us will bring to the party. What should I put your name on?” …My friend on the phone.

“Let me think for a minute. mmm… Malai kofta. How does that sound?”

“Perfect for the holiday mood. Love it.”

I don’t know what prompted me to say malai kofta. Even though, malai kofta is my all time favorite dish, I rarely make it at home. To prepare it from scratch, some serious work is involved and if I do all the work, I feel like the romance is gone from experiencing this delicious dish. I prefer to keep it as a standard order for an indulgent mood at an Indian restaurant. Well, whatever prompted me to say malai kofta, I was glad I offered it. I had a chance to make it after longtime. The good thing is it came out well and we had some fun time at the party.

This is how I made the malai kofta on Saturday morning.

Malai Kofta for a Potluck Party of 25

Ingredient List:

For koftas (25×2=50 koftas):
1 gallon, whole milk and 2 limes- to make fresh paneer
5 russet or red potatoes, medium-sized
2 big carrots, grated
1/2 cup, cashews
1/4 cup, golden raisins
1 teaspoon, salt
1/2 teaspoon, chilli powder
To deep-fry the koftas:
1 cup, chapati flour
3 cups, peanut oil

For Malai Sauce:
2 red onions, jumbo sized
10 roma or vine ripe tomatoes, big size
2-inch ginger piece, skin peeled
2 plump garlic cloves, skins removed
1/4 cup, finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup each, cashews and golden raisins
1/4 cup each, fresh paneer and grated fresh coconut
1×1-inch, cinnamon stick
6 cloves
1 tablespoon, coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon each, cumin and fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon each, black pepper and turmeric
2 teaspoons, salt
1 teaspoon, chilli powder
1 cup, whole milk or 1/2 cup, cream


To prepare malai kofta from scratch, for a party of 25, it would take at least two hours, four burners of heat and decent amount of concentration. We need to make a minimum of 50 koftas and enough malai sauce to accommodate them.

Step 1 – Preparation for Paneer and Sauce: Prepare the ingredients for koftas and for malai sauce by placing four pots on four burners. Cook simultaneously for energy and time efficiency. Here is how I did it.

Burner 1 for Paneer: Pour one gallon of milk in a big, wide pot. Bring the milk to boil. Cut and add limejuice from 2 limes to the boiling milk. Milk starts to cuddle immediately. Stir continuously. When the white, fluffy clouds of paneer get big and separated from watery whey, pour the entire contents into a muslin cloth lined pot. Twist and squeeze the cloth several times to strain the paneer completely whey-free. Hang to drip-dry if possible. Divide the paneer into two parts – 3/4 (for koftas) and 1/4 part (for malai sauce).

Burner 2 for Potatoes: Wash and cut each potato into two. Take potatoes in a pressure-cooker. Add just enough water to cover them. Cook to fork tender. Drain the water. Peel the skins and mash the potatoes coarsely.

Burner 3 for Tomatoes: Place a pot on the stovetop and add a cup of water. Bring water to boil. Add tomatoes and cover the pot. When tomato skin starts to break, turn off the heat. Remove the cover to cool.

Burner 4 for Onions: Peel the skin and cut onions to chunk pieces. Heat a tablespoon of oil in an iron skillet. Add onion, and sauté to brown on high heat, stirring in-between.

Step 2 – Preparation for Koftas and Malai Sauce: Grind the prepared ingredients for koftas and for malai sauce. Connect a food processor and a Sumeet style mixer into power outlets and follow the procedure.

In food processor, add paneer, mashed potatoes, grated carrot, salt, chilli powder, cashews and golden raisins. Pulse few times first and then run the processor to combine the ingredients well. Remove the mix to a bowl. This will be shaped into koftas.

Clean the food processor. Put the tomatoes and blend. Add the water tomatoes simmered in for smooth run. Remove the tomato puree to a bowl.

To the food processor, add roasted onions. Blend into fine paste. Remove the onion paste to a bowl.

In a mixer, take cashews and grind to smooth paste. To this paste, add coconut, paneer, ginger, garlic, fresh cilantro leaves, golden raisins, black peppercorn, cumin, fennel, coriander seeds, cinnamon, and cloves. Grind the ingredients to fine consistency. The masala paste has to be extremely smooth. So run the blender for at least 5 minutes, adding few tablespoons of water when required.

Step 3: Simmer the Malai Sauce and Fry the Koftas

Simmer the Sauce: Place a wide, deep pan on the stove-top. Add and heat a tablespoon of oil. When oil is hot, add the roasted onion paste, masala paste. Saute for five minutes on medium heat, constantly stirring. Add the tomato puree, turmeric, milk or cream and 2 cups of water. Combine well. Have a taste and add salt and chilli powder if required. Cover and simmer the sauce on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring in-between. Avoid high heat and take care not to blacken the sauce at the bottom of the pan. When the sauce starts to thicken, turn off the heat.

Make Koftas: In another burner, place a skillet suitable to deep-fry. Add and heat peanut oil. While oil is getting hot, shape the koftas from the paneer mixture into small rounds of 1-inch diameter. Roll the paneer rounds into chapati flour, lightly coating the surface. This will keep the koftas intact during deep-frying process and prevents any breaks or spillages into hot oil. Prepare them all this way and line them in a tray.

When oil is hot, add the paneer rounds in batches and deep-fry to gold color. Remove and place them on a paper covered tray.

Step 4 – Serving Suggestions:

Keep the sauce and koftas separate in two containers until the party time. Because koftas are so delicately made, they tend to disintegrate when soaked in sauce for long period of time. When the food is arranged on the table and just before mealtime, gently place the koftas in rows in malai sauce. Warm the tray in oven for ten minutes on lowest heat setting, if required. Serve with chapati, paratha, naan or rice.

Malai koftas are without a doubt one of the best tasting Bharath recipes out there for parties, and I was glad to have a chance to enjoy them with friends during this holiday season.

I did manage to take few photos of the process. Here they are:

Grated Carrot, Mashed Potato, Freshly Made Paneer, Cashews and Golden Raisins ~ Ingredients for Koftas

Tomato Puree, Masala Paste and Roasted Onion Paste ~ For Malai Sauce

Blending the Ingredients for Koftas in a Food Processor

The Blended Mixture is Shaped into Round Koftas and Covered with Chapati Flour

Deep-fried Koftas

Malai Kofta, Mingling with Others at a Potluck Party

Malai Kofta, One Among Many, Finding its Place in Someone’s Plate

© Recipe and Photos Copyright 2009 Indira Singari.


46 Responses to “Malai Kofta for a Potluck Party of 25”

  1. Seema says:

    hey looks yummy..bravo u..making it for 25 people.

  2. Divya Vikram says:

    Looks creamy and delicious..

  3. Champa says:

    wow, for 25 people malai kofta. Definitely inspired b y this and will make for my next party.

  4. vani says:


    it looks realy nice and koftas are really nice to see and yummy to eat.. i will defenetly try this out recepi.. i was waiting for this recepi from you from a very long time…. thanks for ther ecepi.. will try it out and let you know….


  5. Cilantro says:

    Malai kofta is an elaborate procedure to make from scratch. I usually end up buying the store bought paneer or make them in advance. Looks very delicious.

  6. Kamala says:

    I am so excited to find this recipe in your blog. Its my husband’s all time favorite and I never dared to give it a try knowing how involved this preparation is.
    Since I have the detailed instructions now, I can’t wait to try it during this holiday season. Will let you know how it turns out.

    Thank you so much for posting it.

  7. passionateaboutcooking says:

    Bravo Indira. Making malai kofta for 25 people is an intense process. Have been waiting for this recipe to be posted by you for quite sometime. Will try it during the holidays.

  8. sailaja says:

    That’s a wow!

  9. Sowjanya says:

    Malai Kofta for 25 people..gosh..And all the koftas look the same size too..Quality speaks for itself 🙂 Looks Yummy..

    Thanks for your wishes for the new domain Indira.

  10. Madhu says:

    Looks very tasty,bet it was all gone in no time.

  11. Lakshmi says:

    Malai Kofta looks yummy!

  12. Ranjan says:

    Kofta’s look yummy! must try this receipe soon, though might cheat a little and use ready made paneer.

  13. Priti says:

    Dear Indira

    Thanks for yet another wonderful recipe.Indira,I have been wanting to buy a good food processor for a very long time but kept putting away the idea since I wanted to do some homework and buy soemthing that does a great deal of work especially chopping ,grating and also kneading.Can you suggest the model you use please to get an idea.

    Thank You

  14. Usha says:

    Wow. Delicious. As you said, I love Malai Kofta but never make it at home. And for a party of 25 – it’s too intimidating. I have also been thinking of buying a food processors for sometime – any suggestions ? I want to use it to make dough for breadsticks and such.

  15. Maya says:

    Looks wonderful! I have always wanted to try making this dish, but didn’t know the proportions. I am going to bookmark this recipe for making it this weekend!

  16. Bong Mom says:

    Those Koftas look so perfect, each the same size.

    Happy Holidays Indira and Vijay. Have a great New Year ahead

  17. rashmi says:

    u really rock…. wow…it must have been a real treat for ur friends at the party…..

    thanks for sharing the lovely reciepe….

  18. Bhargavi says:

    Indira Garu:

    You are such an inspiration!!!I love your blog. Keep up the good work. Happy holidays to you and your family.

  19. jennyccy says:

    Beautiful presentation!

  20. Savithri says:

    It looks so delicious! The party guests are very lucky:)

  21. Lakhsmi says:

    Wow …You have such patience and organisation… Hats off to you..The passion is soo lively that it is contagious 🙂

  22. Redchillies says:

    Looks so good and this is inspirational, Indira. Awed by the effort, patience you put in and the way you did it from scratch. Happy Holidays to you all.

  23. Madhuri says:

    Looks yummy…Thanks for giving detailed recipe.

  24. Indira says:

    Thanks friends for your koftalicious comments. I hope you get a chance to try and enjoy this recipe with your family and friends.

    Priti and Usha: Thanks.
    Mine is a basic food processor from Cuisinart brand. It has been with me for the past 8 years and still works great.

    Bong mom and RC: Thanks and wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!

  25. Kanchana says:


    These look fantastic! I want to try it out! Wishing you all the best for 2010.


  26. NR says:

    Good to know you live in Houston so do I. I am impressed with the garden of yours, all the raised beds. I love gardening mostly roses/flowers. What other plants do you have in your garden?
    The Kofta dish looks great. Will have to give it a try.
    take care

  27. Avanti says:

    Hi Indira
    Looks and sounds yummy! The kotfas look like they would melt in my mouth! I was never a fan of malai kofta.. until now! I have a “kotfa question” – and being a regular visitor to your blog, I feel sure you would know the answer — I plan to try out soy koftas. The kofta mixture contains– soaked soy granules+ mashed potato + chopped onions- chillies- coriander + some lemon juice + dhania powder + salt. I want to bake the koftas. How do I make sure that the balls wont fall apart? 1. roll in bread crumbs? 2. roll in chapati flour like you did above? or any other better way ? btw, I plan to add they to a gravy before serving. Is it necessary to grease the baking sheet ? Thanks!

    Hi Avanti, both your ideas would work. I would go with flour (wheat/besan or rice flour) than rolling the koftas in bread crumbs because bread crumbs tend to get brown easily before the actual ingredients inside. Add little bit of flour to the ingredients and then shape them into koftas. Another suggestion is add a little eggwhite to the kofta mixture. I think they will both help to keep the koftas intact during baking.
    – Indira

  28. Sharmila says:

    OMG, you made malai kofta for a potluck! That is so cool. I tried to make it for four once a few years ago. Sat down on the floor sniffling because it is so much work. Plus it can go hopelessly wrong. (my koftas all fell apart!) Hats off to you! The dish looks so amazing. Bet it tasted awesome!

  29. simplyfood says:

    Your koftas look amazing.I loved the presentation.

  30. madhuri says:

    Wish I could have 1 plate thats been displayed Indira! As always Fabulous work! and Happy NeW Year 2010!

  31. mahek says:

    Your Koftas look soo yummy!!!!
    I could just pick up one and eat them..
    I would also like to know what were the other dishes on the menu….

  32. Fathima says:

    That Malai Kofta just looks perfect!

  33. wow, what a labor of love. i completely understand removing the romance from certain dishes by making them at home.

  34. S says:

    You’ve outdone yourself! Every single thing (even tomato puree) from scratch. You are really a food-karmayogi. Awesome!

  35. SuperChef says:

    Thats quite a feat successfully accomplished!! awesome looking koftas!

  36. Padmaja says:


    What are your thoughts on microwaving the potatoes. Do you think it would affect the consistency for frying? On one hand, microwaving dries out the aloo, hence less oil absorbtion during frying, but on the otherhand, the paneer mixture needs moisture to hold together. Does your 2 hour estimate include time for washing vessels? Just curious.

    My dream kitchen would include 2 dishwashing machines, so that I can fill up one with all the vessels from one recipe like this, and still have place to fill up another one with vessels from serving a meal! 🙂

  37. Mansi says:

    That looks divine Indira! Malai Kofta is such an all-time-hit in parties! love the color of your gravy:)

  38. Priya says:

    Hey the process definitely looks involved but the way you have posted it takes the brainwork out of it. Malai kofta for 25 is definitely hard but inspiring.

  39. Lavanya says:

    Yesterday evening i tired this reciepe. koftas turned really good. and then i went to my computer desk to see the ingredients for malai sauce and came back to kitchen with list. to my shock only 4 koftas remained on the plate. my husband ate all of them. they are so delicious. then i prepared malai sauce for those four koftas. i used milk instead of heavy cream and the sauce did not come as good as i thought.

  40. Kristina says:

    THANK YOU! I have been searching for a Malai Kofta recipe for years. I am soooo excited to try this!

  41. priya says:

    I made this yesterday and it turned out fantastic! The best part is when I got asked for the recipe, I didn’t even have to write it down, just send them a link!

    I halved all the ingredients and I made the paneer, cooked the potatoes and tomatoes the night before. Then the next morning I assembled and fried the balls and made the sauce for an afternoon party. It took some time the first time, but I know where I can multitask better next time. I used cream for the sauce and it was the perfect blend of savory, sweet and spicy. Thank you so much for the recipe, this is one of the few dishes my mom never made at home (and therefore never taught me!)

  42. sanu singh says:

    looks very nice in colour .i think it is very tasteful

  43. Sree says:

    Recipe looks yummy. We both want to make it for our potluck tommorrow. Can we replace paneer with extra firm tofu? Can I make the sauce the night before the party and keep it in fridge to save time?


    I guess you can do both, use extra firm tofu and make the sauce the night before.
    It would be a nice recipe for the potluck tomorrow. Happy cooking.

  44. sarah says:

    I came across this page while looking for recipes for 25 people and this fits the bill perfectly.Just from the presentation and details I can tell that this recipe will tun out great. However I am wondering if the whole thing (koftas and sauce ) be made a few days before the party and frozen in an aluminium tray. I can just defrost and pop the tray in the oven on the party day.Just not sure how the koftas will hold up. Please advise. Also, it will be great if you can point me towards indian recipes for 25 or more people.

    Thanks a lot.As I am exploring your site,I find you have really great stuff here, my only regreat is that I did not find this sooner!

  45. Rch says:

    Love your site and the way you describe in detail. Loved reading this recipe. Now its time I make some of my own. Thanks for the gyaan.

  46. shanti says:

    Hi Indira,

    I made your Malai Kofta (followed To a T) for a potluck party in my community.Thank You.I think I was almost there except that gravy is more on light brown color not rick color like yours.

    Thank you once again..missing you here in your space.

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