vegan malai kofta recipe

April 1, 2015

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Indian cuisine, and am absolutely spoiled living in Leicester with the amount of amazing curry houses we have to choose from. When craving a hot vegan curry, we generally just hoof it to our favorite local balti house where they know us by name and our order by heart (that was a little embarrassing at first, but now I’m cool with it). But lately I’ve been inspired to cook my own Indian dishes at home. They can be a bit time consuming, but there’s something really special about a home cooked curry (not to mention much healthier as you can control the amount of oil used).

One recent recipe I came across recently was for vegan, gluten-free malai kofta from Renee Press of Fire and Earth Kitchen. I had never had a dish like this before, but the ingredients (potato/vegetable dumplings in a tomato/coconut gravy) just sounded so divine that I had to give it a go.

This dish is truly delicious. The combination of cashews, coconut, tomatoes and indian spices with the potato dumplings makes for a complex, rich and incredibly satisfying dish. I like to serve it with a side of saag masala, raita and rice, but you could quite easily eat it on its own with just a piece of naan or chapati.

Here is my adapted recipe for vegan malai kofta:

Kofta (crispy potato veggie dumplings):

  • 365g potato (about one large potato), peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 80g carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 65g frozen peas
  • 45g chickpea flour
  • 2 tablespoons cashews, ground*
  • 1 large handful of coriander, finely chopped (makes about 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Spiced coconut tomato gravy:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped (makes around 1-2 teaspoons)
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped (or pinch of cayenne)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons cashews, ground*
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 cup water, or as needed
  • 1 large handful of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon tikka masala (or garam masala)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

*I like to take a couple handfuls of plain cashews and blitz them up with a little salt in a blender until it becomes almost powdery. You can then use the cashews as a topper for Italian food (it looks/tastes a bit like parmesan), or when cooking a dish like this one.  


  1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees. Bring a medium pot of water to boil and add potatoes and carrots with a pinch of salt, and cook for 10-15 minutes until easily mashable with a fork. Add peas and cook 1-2 minutes more, then drain water and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool.
  2. Meanwhile start the sauce in a deep skillet, sauté pan or wok. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until they begin to sizzle and become fragrant (around 1-2 minutes). Add the onion, ginger and jalapeno pepper, cooking for 3-4 minutes and stirring occasionally until onion begins to turn golden. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes more.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a blender (or food processor) and carefully blend until smooth. Return to the pan and add remaining ingredients, saving water for the end and adding as much as you need to make a nice gravy consistency (the sauce will continue to thicken as it cooks). Combine ingredients and stir well, let it bubble gently over low heat while you prepare the koftas.
  4. Mash the vegetable mixture (don’t worry if the carrots and peas don’t mash down completely) and add remaining ingredients to the koftas, stirring until a thick dough forms. Form the koftas into golf ball sized balls, and place on an oiled baking tray, allowing space in between each ball. Bake at 230 degrees for 10-12 minutes until crispy on the bottom and flip over, baking for an additional 10-15 minutes until crispy on all sides.
  5. When koftas are done, drop them in the heated gravy and cover gently with the sauce. Serve immediately with rice or chapati (or naan, or roti, or… you get the idea).
  6. Enjoy!
  • Recipe index | Leicester Veggie April 1, 2015 at 10:57 am

    […] Vegan, gluten-free malai kofta […]

  • aspoonfulofnature April 1, 2015 at 11:11 am

    that looks delicious 🙂

  • Veronica Sheppard April 1, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    The Indian place I order from has an addictive kofta sauce, maybe I’ll give yours a try! It looks so good.

    • Leicester Veggie April 1, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      the sauce is definitely the best part 🙂 let me know how you like it!

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