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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!

Vegan Malai Kofta (Potato Dumplings in Spiced Tomato Sauce)

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 1 hr
Servings: 2 servings
This takes a bit of prep work, but it is so worth it. We kept the flavors of the original Indian dish but made it vegan and gluten-free.


Kofta (Crispy Potato Veggie Meatball/Dumplings)

  • 2 cups of russet potato, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of peas, frozen
  • 2 Tablespoons of toasted cashews, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup of chickpea flour

Spiced Tomato Sauce/Gravy

  • 1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup of yellow onion, diced finely
  • 1 teaspoon of serrano chili, finely chopped (or pinch of cayenne)
  • 1 cup of tomatoes, chopped or pureed
  • 2 Tablespoons of cashews, toasted and ground (coffee grinder works well)
  • 1 cup of canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water, or as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala (leave out if you don't have it, or put pinch cinnamon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coriander, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped


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


  • 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. 


Calories: 667kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 20gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 23gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 957mgPotassium: 1817mgFiber: 12gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 6557IUVitamin C: 44mgCalcium: 130mgIron: 10mg

Disclaimer: Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Renee Press
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Method: Oven
Diet: Vegan
Keywords: best, cooking, dairy free, dinner, dishes, diy, easy, fire and earth kitchen, food, gluten free, healthy, indian, lunch, malai kofta, meat free, plant-based, recipes, restaurant style, rich, tasty, vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂

Renee Press

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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