Recipe: Mawa Paneer Kofta Curry

Chef Yogendra Pal‘s delicious Mawa Paneer Kofta Curry pairs mawa (khoya or milk solids) with paneer, mushrooms, palak (spinach), raisins/prunes, apricots, cashews in crispy fried koftas, which are then dunked in a creamy gravy.

Have this curry with butter naans, steamed rice or vegetable pulau.

Chef Pal, who hails from Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh, and converses in four languages, has, over 30 years, done stints with leading hotel chains, including Oberoi, Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt. He now showcases the best of his Indian cuisine for the Southeast Asian hotel group, Amari, leading a team of 30 chefs at a property in the Maldives. He is known to be a passionate creator of continental dishes as well.

Mawa Paneer Kofta Curry

Serves: 3-4


For the koftas

  • 500 gm paneer, grated
  • 200 gm khoya or mawa or milk solids
  • 100 gm mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 100 gm palak or spinach, finely chopped and blanched
  • 50 gm prunes or raisins, finely chopped 
  • 100 gm besan or chickpea or gram flour, roasted
  • 50 gm fresh or dried khubanee or apricots, finely chopped 
  • 25 gm cashews, finely chopped
  • 10 gm green chillies, finely chopped
  • 25 gm pistas, skinned and finely chopped
  • 25 gm jeera or cumin seeds, powdered and roasted
  • 15 gm red chilly powder
  • 5 gm green elaichi or cardamom powder
  • Salt to taste, around 1½ tsp
  • Oil for deep frying

For the gravy

  • 250 gm onions, chopped
  • 50 gm ginger-garlic paste
  • 10 gm green chilly, chopped
  • 10 gm whole green elaichi or cardamom
  • 5 gm whole dalcheeni or cinnamon
  • 5 gm lavang or cloves
  • 3-4 tej pattas or bay leaves
  • 25 gm dhania or coriander powder, roasted
  • 25 gm jeera or cumin powder
  • 5 gm haldi or turmeric powder
  • 20 ml fresh cream
  • 20 gm fresh green dhania or coriander or cilantro, chopped
  • 10 gm green chillies, julienned
  • 5 gm green elaichi or cardamom powder
  • 200 gm ghee


For the koftas

  • Combine all the ingredients (except the oil) together in a bowl.
    Knead into a coarse dough using your hands.
    Divide into small portions and roll into 2-cm diameter balls. 
  • Heat the oil in a kadhai and fry the koftas, in batches, until golden brown over medium heat.
    Keep flipping so they cook evenly. 
    Drain from the oil and transfer onto a paper towel or tissue-lined plate. 
    Keep aside.

For the gravy

  • Heat the ghee in a kadhai.
    Add the whole green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves. 
    Add the chopped green chillies, onions, ginger-garlic paste.
    Cook until the onion turns light brown in colour.
    Add the turmeric powder.
    Stir and cook it for a few minutes.
    Add the roasted cumin powder and the coriander powder.
    Keep cooking until the oil begins to separate from the spices.
    Take off heat and keep aside. 
    Once cool, transfer into a blender and grind to a fine paste.
    Add some water and mix.
    Strain the ground mixture through a channi or sieve back into the same kadhai.
    Place it over low heat and then add the cream.
    Let it simmer over a low heat for a few minutes.
    Drop the koftas into the gravy and simmer for 5 minutes.
    Take off heat and garnish with the chopped green coriander, julienned green chillies, cardamom powder.
    Serve hot with steamed rice or butter naans.

Yogender Pal is the executive chef at Amari Raaya Maldives, Kudakurathu Island, Maldives.


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