Continuing with my Sunday Recipe series, this week I’m sharing a Paneer Kofta curry recipe! I have always liked food though interest in cooking went up when I was living by myself in Mumbai after college. Having a fully functional kitchen at my disposal gave me a lot of room to experiment. Though it was only after marriage and after coming to Tokyo that I took a deeper interest in Indian cooking. The reason is simple – we’ve been unable to find amazing restaurant quality dishes in Indian restaurants in Japan. Every now and then, I (and my husband) crave a good malai kofta or a paneer butter masala but the dishes we tried in the restaurant were lacking in flavor. I decided to try making a cream based kofta curry at home and I was surprised at how well the dish turned out!
Here’s my recipe for a mildly sweet Paneer Kofta Curry – made from scratch at home! I have added in some pictures taken while cooking this dish to make the recipe easier to follow –
What you need for this recipe :
For the Koftas (for 5-6 large koftas) –
- Milk : 1.5 l (for making paneer)
- Lemon/Apple cider vinegar (for making paneer)
- 2 Medium potatoes (boiled)
- Half a cup breadcrumbs
- Maida (all purpose flour) : 1 tablespoon
- Salt, pepper, red chilli powder – to taste
- Cashew nuts + Raisins (handful) – for filling
- Oil – for frying
For the Gravy (serves 4 people) –
- 1 Large Tomato
- 1 medium Onion
- Cashew Nuts + Almonds : handful of each (soaked in water)
- Cashew nuts + raisins : 10-12 pieces – for directly adding to gravy/garnish
- A small cinnamon stick
- Dry Bay Leaf : 2 leaves
- Cardamom pods (7-8)
- Spices : Turmeric, Red chilli powder, Black pepper, salt, sugar
- Cream (optional) : 2 tablespoons
Step-by-Step Recipe for Paneer Kofta Curry
Preparation Work :
– To make the Paneer, boil the milk in a large pan. Just when it comes to a boil, turn down the heat (don’t turn off though) and add some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. The paneer will separate from the whey (see pic below).
– When the entire milk has converted, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes. Then strain it to remove the watery whey and you are left with the paneer. Squeeze out the water from the paneer by pressing on the sieve or by hanging the paneer in a cloth.
– The paneer you get this way isn’t as firm as compact as store bought paneer. You can make it compact by keeping in wrapped in a cloth under a heavy utensil (to squeeze out all the water) and then refrigerated for a few hours. But since we are going to crumble the paneer anyway for the koftas, I haven’t done that.
– While the milk is boiling, you can utilize that time to chop the onions and tomatoes and boil the potatoes. And before you start any of the prep work, soak the cashews and almonds meant for the gravy in water to soften them up.
How to make the koftas –
– Mash the boiled potatoes and add the paneer to the mix. The ratio of potatoes : paneer should be 1 : 2.
– Add the breadcrumbs and the salt, pepper and red chilli powder. Don’t forget to taste to check the salt. You can also add a little chat masala like I did. Add a little maida to help bind the mixture together. Mash everything together to get a smooth uniform mixture. You can also use corn flour (corn starch in the US) to help bind the mixture but I didn’t have it and didn’t feel the need for it. My koftas did not crack/split during frying.
– Make a flat disc out of the mixture, press your fingers in the center to make a well and add a few raisins and crumbed cashew nuts in the depression. Take more mixture and add over this to seal the filling in. Reshape the kofta to a sphere or disc shape – whatever you prefer. I made flat disc shaped koftas.
– Fry the koftas till they turn a nice golden brown.
How to make the Gravy –
– There are 3 components to the gravy : the cashew-almond part, the tomato-onion-spice part and a little bit of cream.
– The cashews and almonds have already been soaking in the water while you’ve been doing the prep work and kofta making. So they should be softened up by the time you will grind them. You can grind them separately or along with the tomato-onion-spice part, I did the latter to save time.
– Tomato-Onion-Spice Mixture : Heat a small amount of oil in a pan, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods to the heated oil and stir for half a minute till you get a nice aroma of the spices.
– Add the chopped onions to the pan (and a little ginger garlic paste before that if you want – make sure to fry the paste till the raw garlic smell is gone). Saute the onions till they start browning a little and then add in the tomatoes. Let the mixture cook till the tomatoes have released the juice and become soft. Add salt to taste and 1 large spoonful of sugar to this mixture.
– Turn off the heat and the let mixture cool for a bit. Grind the soaked nuts along with the tomato-onion-spice mixture till you get a smooth paste. Add a little water to ease the grinding process.
– To achieve the final gravy, heat a large pan and add a tiny bit of oil to it. Add in a little red chilli powder and turmeric to the oil and then add in the gravy paste. Add in the raisins and whole (or crumbled) dry cashew nuts to this mixture along with a little cream. I used a very thin cream (store bought) – about 2 large spoonfuls of it. If using a heavier cream, use lesser. Using lesser cream helps in keeping the gravy lighter yet it has the richness because of the cashew-almond paste.
Let the mixture cook on low heat for about 4-5 minutes. Your gravy is ready!
Plating the Kofta : Depending on the size of your kofta, put 1-2 koftas in a bowl, add in the gravy and use a few cashews and raisins to garnish along with a little bit of cream. Serve hot with chapatis, parantha, naan or rice!
[note color=”#FFE4C4″]Hope you enjoyed this post! If you try out this recipe, do let me know how it turns out! And if you have any suggestions on how to make this recipe better, please let me know. Hope you’re having a good Sunday!
Do you like kofta curry? Share your comments below! [/note]