For those of you who are not familiar with Koftas, they could be described as meatless meatballs or vegetable balls. These koftas are then cooked in a creamy sauce and served with any Indian bread or rice. This might look like a laborious recipe, but once you have tasted this delicious and classic dish you will want to make them again and again.
This is my mom's recipe. She makes these koftas with bottle gourd (lauki/doodhi). I've made her recipe with Zucchini since I had them and I'm trying to find more and more recipes with this summer vegetable. I happen to get them for free- one of our family friends has her own vegetable garden and this has been a good season for Zucchinis.
For the koftas
- 3 cups of grated Zucchini
- 1/4 cup grated Paneer (Indian Cottage cheese)
- 2 green chillies chopped
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin - coriander powder
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour / besan
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- corn starch (optional)
- salt to taste
- Oil for frying
For the Gravy :
- 1 cup onion puree
- 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
- 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 black cardamom
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin- coriander powder
- 10-12 cashews soaked in milk(grind)
- 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt to taste
Making the Koftas - A very important tip to remember to make perfect koftas is to squeeze all the juices out of the vegetable(zucchini). This could be retained and used to knead the dough or use it in the gravy.
- Mix all the ingredients mentioned under koftas except oil. Make it like dough and gently make 16-18 lemon size balls. These are then deep fried on medium flame until golden brown. The oil should not be too hot or not hot enough. We are trying to cook the zucchini as well while frying the koftas. Now if the koftas fall apart feel free to add a little chickpea flour/bread crumbs. Sometimes when the Zucchini is not squeezed well it might retain a little water. DO NOT PANIC. Now the corn starch comes to the rescue. Just roll the koftas onto a plate sprinkled with corn starch and fry. Keep the koftas aside.
Making the Creamy and rich gravy
- Heat oil in a pan/ Kadai . Add the bay leaves and black cardamom. When the cardamom splutters, add the onion puree. Fry on medium high till its turns golden. Add the ginger garlic paste. Fry for about a minute and add tomato puree. Stir well. Now add all the dry spices- turmeric, red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder and salt. Let it cook on medium until the oil separates(this is a clue your gravy is cooked). Now add about 2 cups water. Let it boil and then add the koftas. Let the koftas cook in the gravy covered for about 5 minutes on medium - low flame. Now add the cream. Stir well. Add the ground cashews-milk paste. Give it a good stir. Let it simmer for about 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. Your Zucchini Malai Kofta is ready. Serve it with any Indian bread (Naan, Parathas, Phulkas, Roti ) or with cumin rice.