Soft potato dumplings in a luscious nutty sauce

Koftas were brought to India by travellers from Persia according to anecdotes and sure enough, the Persian word ‘kofta’ describes mincemeat and spices rolled into balls. There are as many types of koftas made as there are regions – possibly even more. In contemporary cooking, they can be served as dry ?nger food, on skewers or swimming in gravy. In this recipe, koftas made of potatoes and paneer meet a delicate gravy of cream (malai).

Preparation: 20 min
Cooking Time: 45 min
Serve: 6
Taste: Mild


  • For the koftas
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 100g paneer
  • 2–3 green chillies, puréed into a paste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp raisins, for the ?lling
  • 1 Tbsp cashew nuts, chopped, Oil, for deep frying
  • 1/2 cup corn?our, for coating koftas

For the gravy

  • 1 Tbsp cashew nuts
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 Tbsp water, as required
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • Method:

For the koftas

  • Boil potatoes until tender, then peel and mash them.
  • In a large bowl, mash and crumble the paneer with your fingers until soft. Mix in the mashed potatoes. Add green chilli paste, coriander powder, cardamom powder, red chilli powder, chopped coriander leaves and salt. Mix well.
  • Divide the mixture into equal portions and roll gently with your hands into golf size balls (koftas). Make a hole in the centre of the kofta with your finger, press some raisins and cashews into the middle and seal the edges.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan on a medium heat. Spread the cornflour onto a plate. Roll the individual koftas in the cornflour to coat evenly. Deep-fry in batches until golden-brown in colour. Remove from oil and drain them on a paper towel. Keep aside.

For the gravy

  • Place the cashew nuts and poppy seeds in a food processor and grind them into a smooth paste adding little water at a time. Keep aside.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp of butter in a heavy-bottomed pan, add onions and fry until they turn golden-brown in colour. Add garlic paste, stir, add ginger paste and sauté for 2–3 minutes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, stir and sauté until soft. Add cashew nuts and poppy seeds paste to the onion masala, cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes or until oil surfaces. Take the pan off the heat. Once it cools, purée the sauce into a fine paste with a hand-blender. Keep aside.
  • Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in a heavy bottom pan. Add the puréed masala to the pan, stir, add red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well, sauté again until oil surfaces.
  • Add 1 cup of water to the masala, cover and bring it to a boil on a low heat, Add the cream while stirring gently. Add koftas to the gravy. Cook for 2–3 minutes on a high heat to heat through.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander.

Serve hot with Plain Naan or Jeera Rice.

Ruby's Tip: Add koftas to the gravy just before serving, otherwise they become soggy or they can break since they are very soft.