Vegan Malai Kofta (Potato Dumplings in Spiced Tomato Sauce)

  • Servings : 2-4
  • Prep Time : 30m
  • Cook Time : 30m
  • Ready In : 60m

Today I share with you one of our all time favorite Indian dishes, Malai Kofta. Traditionally, this dish is a rich combination of fried potato, veggie, and cheese meatball/dumplings floating in a creamy spiced tomato sauce. Served with rice or flat bread, it really is a treat. Of course we modified this recipe and made it both vegan and gluten-free, but kept all of the tastiness and fragrant flavors. It does take a bit of prep work, so save it for a weekend or a day when you have a bit of extra time. If you want to make ahead, you can make the sauce ahead of time (actually tastes better when made a day ahead), and simply reheat and drop in the freshly made dumplings. These crispy potato delights can be baked as I show you here, or fried until golden brown on all sides. This was probably the dish that got us hooked on Indian cuisine back in the day, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


  • Kofta (Crispy Potato Veggie Meatball/Dumplings)
  • 2 cups russet potato, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peas, frozen
  • 2 Tbsp toasted cashews, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • Spiced Tomato Sauce/Gravy
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced finely
  • 1 tsp serrano chili, finely chopped (or pinch of cayenne)
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped or pureed
  • 2 Tbsp cashews, toasted and ground (coffee grinder works well)
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup water, or as needed
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala (leave out if you don't have it, or put pinch cinnamon)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


Step 1

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a medium pot of water to boil and add potatoes and carrots, 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.

Step 2

Meanwhile start sauce in a deep skillet, sauté pan or wok. Heat 1 Tbsp of medium-high heat oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until they begin to sizzle. Add onion, ginger, and serrano pepper if using. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until onion begins to brown. Add tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Transfer mixture to a blender (or food processor) and carefully blend until smooth. Return to pan and add remaining ingredients, saving water for the end and adding as much as you need to make a nice gravy consistency (it will continue to thicken as it cooks). Combine ingredients and stir well, let it bubble gently over low heat while you prepare koftas. If too watery, you can add additional cashew powder to thicken it.

Step 3

Add remaining ingredients to koftas, stir and a thick dough will form. Oil a metal baking sheet and form koftas into golf ball sized balls, placing a few inches apart on sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes until crispy on the bottom and flip over. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes until crispy on all sides.

Step 4

When koftas are done, drop them in the heated gravy and serve immediately with rice or bread of your choice

Renee Press is the founder of Fire and Earth Kitchen in Seattle WA. which offers cooking classes, food coaching, and chef services. She's on a mission to make vegan, gluten-free cooking easy, accessible, and delicious for everyone.

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Comments (13)

  1. posted by Madge on December 17, 2014

    Oh my goodness. Malai Kofta was always me and my partner’s favourite indian dish before he went vegan. I’m so excited to try this recipe! Thankyou for posting it!

    • posted by Renee Press on December 18, 2014

      You’re welcome Madge! Our favorite too 🙂 Enjoy!

      • posted by Madge on August 7, 2015

        Just want to let you know – rather late – that we tried it and we loved it so much, thanks for posting it!!

        Personally, we didn’t think there was enough sauce – so we doubled the dumplings recipe and tripled the sauce recipe! It was also great to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

        • posted by Renee Press on August 7, 2015

          So glad you enjoyed it!!! Thank you for the feedback, too.-Renee

  2. posted by Jackie Ashton on March 21, 2015

    I made this for my family, one who isn’t vegan, and we all loved it. It was so tasty and is now one of our favourites. Thank you 🙂

    • posted by Renee Press on March 21, 2015

      So happy to hear it Jackie! You’re most welcome 🙂

  3. posted by Heather on October 25, 2016

    Renee – I would like to try this, but we have nut allergies. Can we leave out the cashews or are they critical? (or could be sub seeds of some kind maybe?) Thanks.

  4. posted by Anonymous on January 1, 2017

    Can’t wait to try! The kofta balls don’t get soggy sitting in the gravy as leftovers? Or do you reccommend leaving them separate?

  5. posted by jennifer on January 6, 2017

    I made this last night for dinner. AMAZING! And we just had them for lunch too. Delish- thank you!

  6. posted by jennifer on January 6, 2017

    I forgot to mention I used a lot more spices than were called for, just due to personal preference, and I used light coconut milk.

  7. posted by Vanessa on June 7, 2017

    How much cashews does it take to grind into 2 tbsp? I would just make this sauce in my blender cuz I don’t have a coffee grinder

  8. posted by Yue Wang on August 22, 2017

    I just don’t understand which ingredients make the sauce and which make the koftas… i read so many times -.-


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