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When Hanger Strikes

  • Writer's pictureMari

Healthy Baked Malai Kofta

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Malai kofta is one of my top Indian dishes, and for some reason, it’s not really a staple item found at most restaurants. It’s fried paneer and potato fritters in a creamy tomato cashew gravy. Since the koftas are deep fried, it’s not a practical dish to make at home for a lot of people. I’ve been trying to eat healthier and wanted to try to lighten this dish up a bit - I think I hit the nail on the head here. Instead of paneer, I used dry curd cottage cheese (which I think is literally just paneer) to help save calories. Normally you would grate the paneer into the kofta, but there’s no need with the dry cottage cheese since it’s already in small curds. If you can’t find dry curd cottage cheese, use paneer - DON’T sub regular cottage cheese or you’ll end up with a big sticky mess. The koftas are brushed with olive oil and baked instead of fried and honestly, you could eat them without the sauce they’re so good..but you shouldn’t. Make the sauce. This dish has less than 400 calories per serving with 16 g of protein.


Healthy Baked Malai Kofta

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Yield: 4 servings


For the Kofta

  • 2 cups dry curd cottage cheese** (do not sub regular cottage cheese)

  • 1 & 1/3 cups russet potato, boiled, peeled and mashed or grated

  • 1 green chili, minced (optional)

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder

  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves, finely minced

  • 3 tbs raisins, roughly chopped

  • 2 end slices of white bread turned into breadcrumbs (you will have about 1 cup)

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tbs olive oil, for brushing

For the Gravy

  • 2 tbs olive oil, divided

  • 1 large onion, cut into large chunks

  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1 tbs fresh ginger

  • 1-2 green chilies (adjust according to your spice level)

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes (3-4 tomatoes)

  • 1/3 cup cashews

  • 1 & 3/4 cup water, divided

  • 1 tsp tomato paste

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 tsp red chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

  • 2-3 tbs half and half or heavy cream

  • A handful fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking tray with parchment or foil. To a mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients for the kofta except for the olive oil. With your hands, mix the mixture together well. You need to be able to form small koftas with the mixture.

  2. Make 20 meatball shaped balls out of the mixture, and place them on the baking tray. Brush each kofta with olive oil and bake for 35 minutes, gently flipping halfway through.

  3. While the kofta are baking, prepare the gravy. To a large pan, add half of the olive oil. Heat over medium high heat, then add the onion and green chili. Sauté for 5-7 mins until the onions just begin to brown, then add the garlic and ginger. Stir again for another minute or two, then add the tomato, cashew, and half of the salt. Sauté for another 3-5 mins, until the juices in the tomato start to release, then add 3/4 cup water. Simmer for 3-5 minutes then transfer the contents to a blender. Blend on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes until very smooth and creamy.

  4. While the onion mixture is in the blender, add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Add the tomato paste along with the garam masala, red chili powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. Stir well for 30 seconds, being very careful not to burn the spices. If needed, add a tablespoon or so of water to keep the spices from burning.

  5. Add the blended gravy back to the pan and stir to combine with the spices. Add the remaining 1 cup water and salt, and simmer on low for 5 minutes until the gravy thickens slightly and changes to a darker color. Stir in the dried fenugreek leaves and cream, then remove from heat.

  6. Right before serving, while the gravy is still hot, add the koftas on top. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with rice or naan.


  • **If you cannot find dry curd cottage cheese, use grated paneer. Do not use regular cottage cheese, or the kofta will not form. The kofta mixture will be way too wet and won't crisp when baked.


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