Malai Kofta Or Creamy Vegetable Balls

India has a vast array of vegetarian dishes in its repertoire and the Creamy Vegetable Ball or Malai Kofta is one of the many vegetarian fares that's really popular in North India. There are many variations to what goes into the vegetable balls, in this dish, but we will stick to the traditional recipe that is also its tastiest version. This is, indeed, one of those dishes that you reserve for a special occasion so if you are planning to give yourself a treat, the Malai Kofta is the way to go.

Ingredients required for Malai Kofta or Creamy Vegetable Balls

Here is a list of the ingredients you need to get started:

For the Koftas or Creamy Vegetable Balls

- Potatoes - 2
- Carrots - 1/4 Cup
- Beans - 1/4 Cup
- Peas - 1/4 Cup
- Boiled Sweet Corn Kernels - 1/4 Cup
- Cottage Cheese - 1 Cup
- Double Cream - 2 Tablespoons
- Cumin Powder - 1 Teaspoon
- Coriander Powder - 1 Teaspoon
- Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 Teaspoon
- Chopped Almonds, Walnuts and Cashew nuts - 1/2 Cup
- Chopped Raisins - 1/4 Cup
- Salt
- Oil

For the Gravy

- Onions - 2
- Tomatoes - 2
- Garlic Paste - 2 Tablespoons
- Ginger Paste - 1 Tablespoon
- Coriander Powder - 2 Teaspoons
- Cumin Powder - 1 Teaspoon
- Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 Teaspoon
- Poppy seeds - 1 Teaspoon
- Cashew nuts and Almonds
- Garam Masala - 2 Teaspoons
- Salt
- Oil

Preparing the Ingredients for Cooking

This is a dish where there are a lot of ingredients and preparation might require a bit of time so make sure you start ahead of time and get everything ready, especially because the dish is all about refined-cooking. There are very few lumps of chunks in this dish so everything, especially the gravy, has to be smooth and creamy.

For the Creamy Vegetable Balls or Koftas

- Peal, boil and dice the potatoes
- Boil the carrots, beans, peas and sweet corn
- Chop the cashew nuts, almonds & walnuts until you have about 1/2 cup for the dish
- Finely chop the raisins

For the Cream Sauce

- Quarter the onions and tomatoes
- Lightly roast the poppy seeds before grinding them to a powder
- Grind the cashew nuts and almonds until you have about 3 tablespoons of paste

In a dish like Creamy Vegetable Balls, it is vital that you keep all the ingredients prepared beforehand. This is the longest and most tedious part of cooking for most but if you keep everything ready, the entire cooking process becomes a lot more enjoyable!

Let's start cooking our Vegetable Balls in Cream Sauce

Like any dish that has vegetable balls (or meat for that matter), it is vital that they are cooked through completely.

Cooking the Vegetable Balls

- In a pan, heat some oil, enough to deep fry the vegetable balls
- Mash the potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, sweet corn and cottage cheese
- Add the cream as the binding agent to create a moist dough of sorts
- Take a few of the chopped nuts and raisins and make them the centre of the balls, wrapping them in the dough and forming perfect balls with it
- Deep fry the balls until they turn golden-brown - remember that all the ingredients in the ball are already cooked so the purpose of deep-frying them is solely to form a nice crust around them
- Once the vegetable balls are done, set them aside on a paper towel to dry

Cooking the Cream Sauce

- Heat some oil in a separate pan or simply put aside most of the oil used in the deep-frying pan and start again with a bit of oil
- Add the onions to the pan and cook until golden brown
- Once the onions are cooked, take them out and add them to a food processor along with the tomatoes, ginger paste, garlic paste, coriander powder, cumin powder and red chilli powder and blitz
- Add the resulting paste back to the pan and fry until the oil begins to separate
- Add the powdered poppy seeds and cashew nut & almond paste to the pan, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes
- Add a bit of hot water to the pan, but not too much as the gravy needs to be quite thick. If you add too much water, then simply reduce until you get a thick consistency
- Mix well and season with salt, before bringing it up to a boil

Finishing up and plating the Dish

Once the gravy is bubbling, bring it down to a simmer and gently add the vegetable balls - be careful not to break them
Incorporate the vegetable balls, gently in the gravy and cook for 2 to 3 minutes
Sprinkle the Garam Masala powder on top and immediately turn off the gas, cover the pan and allow it to rest for 5-minutes
Serve with traditional Indian breads or Cumin-rice

In general, making Creamy Vegetable Balls isn't very different to other meat-ball or vegetable-ball dishes in terms of the cooking process. The difference is that the cream isn't added to the gravy directly, but is added to the vegetable balls. The other important aspect about this dish is that the balls need to be perfectly round and equal in size. This enables you to cook them evenly.

A rich and exciting dish, Creamy Vegetable Balls is the perfect dish for a luxurious dining experience!

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