Today we would like to focus on one of Jackson Diner’s favorite vegetarian dishes: the Malai Kofta. Deep fried potatoes in a thick, creamy sauce. Sounds too good to be healthy right? Malai Kofta is the perfect dish for wanting that “I’m eating junk food” feel and not feeling guilty because vegetables = healthy, right? Right.
Malai Kofta is the Indian version of meatballs, without the meat. The word “Kofta” derives from the Persian word “kūfta” ( کوفتن ) meaning meatball. The “malai” refers a South Asian term for “clotted cream”. This cream is created by indirectly heating up non-homogenized cow’s milk and letting it sit, which creates clots and layers of fat. These are removed upon a repeated process before using the cream. This dish was popularized during the Mughlai Empire, and considered part of the rich, flavorful Mughlai cuisine.
The kofta are made with potatoes, vegetables, and spices. The consistency of the potatoes and mixed ingredients are important, otherwise the ball won’t “stick together” for when it is deep fried. The sauce is usually a mixture of varying amounts of spices (coriander, cumin, paprika, tumeric), garlic, ginger, chili pepper(powder or crushed), paneer, cream, and crushed nuts. Some recipes add ghee as well. Covered in a rich, creamy sauce with varying levels of spice, we find these vege-balls are well worth the long preparation.