Saturday, March 24, 2012

recipe in review: malai kofta from healthful pursuit

More often than not, you will  find me seeking inspiration and meal ideas from food blogs on a daily basis. Creating original recipes is a passion of mine, but I also get a certain thrill and sense of accomplishment from replicating recipes and preparing the ingredients and presentation just like the original.

I'd like you to meet Leanne Vogel, the sassy spirit behind Healthful Pursuit, a health and wellness blog dedicated to balanced living, health, and wellness. Leanne is a Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for creating healthy, allergen-free recipes (and strikingly beautiful food photography, I might add).

Recently, she embarked on a fulfilling personal and spiritual journey to India where she had the opportunity to experience the many shades of their flavourful, traditional cuisine. I came across her latest post for a vegan version of Malai Kofta and wondered if I was up to the challenge of recreating this detailed, yet delicious looking dish? Suffice to say, I quickly set out on a mission (with recipe in hand) and turned my kitchen into a veritable spice rack within minutes.  

A traditional Indian dish, Malai Kofta is usually reserved for special occasions. The malai is a rich creamy sauce, and kofta means meatball. The majority of Malai Kofta served in India is vegetarian and is usually served with naan or rice.

This recipe may seem involved, but apart from chopping some of the vegetables, most of my energy was spent measuring the different spices. My changes to the original recipe were minimal: I used a food processor instead of potato masher for the vegetables, I reduced the overall amount of grapeseed oil, used coconut oil instead of ghee, and did not use the chaat masala in either the kofta or the malai (instead, I increased the garam masala to 1 1/2 tbsp for the kofta). Also, I incorporated the cashews into the blended part of the malai, as I couldn't locate the directions for them in the original recipe.

Malai Kofta 
Yields 6 servings


2 cups diced organic potatoes (do not peel), boiled for 10-12 minutes
1 cup cooked green peas
1 cup diced cauliflower, boiled for 5 minutes
1 cup diced carrots, boiled for 5 minutes
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp fresh garlic, diced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, diced
1 1/2 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp Himalayan rock salt
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp grapeseed oil + 1 tbsp for rolling
1 tbsp chickpea flour


1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 cup diced red onion
1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp turmeric
1/2 cup diced fresh Roma tomato
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
4 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp fresh ginger, diced
4 tsp fresh garlic, diced
4 tsp ground coriander
4 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp garam masala
1.5 to 2 cup water
4 tbsp cashews
4 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped roughly

To make the kofta:

Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking mat. Place 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil on a small plate and set aside.

Add all ingredients to a food processor, and mix until ingredients are well-combined. There can be large pieces of vegetables left intact, just make sure the mixture squeezes together nicely.

Work dough into golf ball-size balls, rolling each in the plate with oil, just until coated (I reduced the oil, and didn't really coat the mixture all too much). This will help the balls stay moist on the inside and crisp on the outside without having to deep fry them. Place each ball on the prepared baking sheet.

Cook for 30 minutes or until golden.

To make the malai:

In a preheated frying pan, add 1 tbsp oil, onion, salt, fennel seeds and turmeric. Sauté for 2 minutes on medium-high, stirring constantly. Add to a blender with tomatoes, cashews, and water and process until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat the same frying pan on medium-high. Add coconut oil, cumin seeds, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add coriander, cumin, masala, water, paste, cilantro, reserved sauce and kofta. The longer you allow this to cook, the spicier it will become; cook until the balls are heated.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most impressive and delicious recipes I have ever made; the spice levels add the perfect amount of flavours and subtle notes to the dish, and the kofta's made potatoes much more palatable for me. I usually stray away from traditional Indian curry recipes that are too rich from lots of oil or the use of dairy ingredients, but this was de - 'light' - ful (emphasis on the light, rather than heavy feeling).

The components of this version can be used in other recipes; try the kofta's on their own, in a raw collard wrap, or as a side to salads. The malai is a decadent sauce that would also work well with kelp or zucchini noodles (and can also be regarded as a semi-raw sauce before reheating).

Many thank you's to Leanne for veganizing this traditional dish into an easy to replicate and delicious taste experience. Impress the guests at your next dinner party with a new found prowess of Indian cuisine. This is a dish to remember.

For more inspiring recipes, check out Leanne's blog, Facebook and Twitter pages.


Nicole said...

I pinned this recipe to try out when I saw it on Leanne's blog. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, too!

janet @ the taste space said...

Wow - this came at the perfect time. I was looking for an impressive Indian dish for guests and this might be the winner. :)

amy said...

Just saw your Raw Valentine's day post!! I love this blog, I have to catch up on all your posts!!


barefoot_and_frolicking said...

Hey ladies - thanks for the great comments!

Nicole - I pinned this recipe as soon as I saw it too! So glad I did; enjoy :)

Janet - enjoy; this recipe is very impressive! A definite winner!

amy - thanks for the kind comments. Glad you enjoy the blog!

Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit said...

Glad you liked the recipe, Marlie! You did a fabulous job of it. "turned my kitchen into a veritable spice rack within minutes" tell me about it... my kitchen has felt that way since I got home! Thanks for your very kind review of my blog. Glad you enjoyed the kofta!

barefoot_and_frolicking said...

Leanne - lovely to hear from you! It was my first time cooking with fennel seeds and some of the other spices, and turned out to be a very rewarding experience. Thank you for the recipe and your inspiring blog. We all appreciate your amazing efforts :)

andrea devon said...

this looks really divine. Malai Kofta is my favorite dish at our local indian restaurant, and now I have a mission to make this too!

janet @ the taste space said...

This was a definite hit for our Indian feast. Thanks for sharing! :)

I wrote about mine here:

barefoot_and_frolicking said...

thanks andrea!

thansk janet, and great post! :)

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