08 October, 2007

Paneer Koftas in Creamy Saffron Gravy

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Paneer Koftas in Creamy Saffron Gravy

"When the trees their summer splendour
Change to raiment red and gold,
When the summer moon turns mellow,
And the nights are getting cold;
When the squirrels hide their acorns,
And the woodchucks disappear;
Then we know that it is autumn,
Loveliest season of the year."
- Charlotte L. Riser

It’s fall now as I write this. While walking back to home I noticed the change around me. There is nip in the air, colourful leaves are floating around, the dusk is rapidly approaching on the once bright and blue sky, birds are chirping the last of summer’s song… Summer has come to an end… A wave of nostalgia hit me as I carefully folded my summer dresses and strappy sandals and removed my tall boots and long coat from cupboard. I am going to miss bright sunny spells on my face, lazy weekend afternoon’s BBQ with friends, wearing flowing summer dresses, biting greedily the big crescent of watermelon, licking the ice cream melting down my arm… But the changing colours of leaves thrills me thinking of celebrating Diwali and Christmas with friends and family, smell of apple and pumpkin pie baking in oven, sipping a hot bowl of soup, curling with loved one sitting close to fireplace… Autumn is the season of transition, a season where change is brought before all our senses. How beautifully the leaves grow old!!! Its pleasure to watch fruit trees lavishing their hues on fruits when other trees lavish upon their trees makes me merry. I feel like a Queen when I tread upon carpets of gold and crimson, of brown and bronze leaves, woven by the winds and rains while we slept… I welcome autumn the way I feel, with Paneer Kofta in Creamy Saffron Sauce. Royal and bursting with autumn colour… A dish fit for royalties…

The word kofta is derived from Persian kūfta. In Persian, کوفتن (Kuftan) means "to beat" or "to grind" or meatball. (Source: Wiki) In vegetarian versions of koftas different vegetables like Potato, Cabbage, Beetroots, Spinach, Paneer etc are minced and mixed with different spices. These spicy vegetable balls are then deep fried or grilled or baked and then served with rich creamy, spicy and aromatic gravy.

Unlike vegetables koftas, panner koftas have creamy texture. Grated paneer is added with vegetables of our choice and spices and then deep fried. When deep fried or baked, they are golden and crisp and have rich melt-in-mouth taste. These Koftas are then served with creamy gravy of onion and tomatoes and a pinch of saffron to give it a rich look and flavor. I used fresh homemade Paneer to make this koftes and don’t hesitate to use store bought Paneer if you don’t have homemade ones in hand. This is my contribution to lovely Sunita's Think Spice: Think Saffron event. I am also sending these koftas to Margot of Coffee & Vanilla who is hosting Vegetarian Awareness Month.

Paneer Koftas in Creamy Saffron Gravy
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 20-30 mins
Serves: 4-5 People

For Koftas:
2 cups Paneer, crumbled or grated
2 medium Potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
½ cup Green Peas
1 small Carrot, grated or very finely chopped
5-6 French Beans, finely chopped
1 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Kitchen King Masala
3-4 tbsp Corn Flour
2 tbsp Cashew, chopped (Optional)
Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste

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Koftas before deep frying

For Gravy:
2 medium Onions, finely chopped
4 large Tomatoes/1 can Tomatoes
8-10 Cashews
2 flakes Garlic, finely chopped
1 inch Ginger, crushed and finely chopped
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Kitchen King Masala
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Powder, roasted and powdered
½ tsp Coriander Powder, roasted and powdered
½ tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
¼ cup Fresh Cream
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
2 Green Cardamon
2 Cloves
1 Bay Leaf
A big pinch of Saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
1 tbsp Oil/Ghee
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste

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Koftas after deep frying

For Gravy:
Make a plus mark on tomatoes and blanch them in boiling water for about 3 minutes and peel their skin.
Grind these tomatoes with cashews, jeera powder, coriander powder, garam masala, kitchen king masala, chilli powder and turmeric powder to smooth paste without adding any water.
Heat oil in a pan and add cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf and sauté it for a minutes on medium flame till you get nice aroma.
Add jeera and when it starts to sizzle add finely chopped onion, kasuri methi, garlic and ginger. Sauté them till onion turns golden brown.
To this add tomato paste, ½ cup of water and salt to taste and cook for 5-7 minutes.
Now mix saffron soaked in warm milk and fresh cream and cook for further 10-15 minutes over a low flame.
Switch off the flame and mix in finely chopped coriander leaves and keep it aside.

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Paneer Koftas in Creamy Saffron Gravy

For Koftas:
Take finely chopped carrot, beans and green peas in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 3 minutes or steam cook them for 5 minutes.
Add them with finely mashed potatoes and grated paneer.
Add chopped cashews, garam masala, kitchen king masala, salt to taste and corn flour and mix them well using your hands. The consistency should be as that of chapatti dough to prevent it from breaking while deep frying.
Make small lemon sized balls and deep fry them in batches in hot oil at slow-medium flame till they turn golden brown and crisp from outside. Alternatively you can also bake them in oven at 175 degrees for about 20-30 minutes till they turn golden brown.Transfer the fried koftas on paper towel.
Just before serving arrange the koftas in gravy garnished with finely chopped coriander leaves.

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Paneer Koftas in Creamy Saffron Gravy

When you deep fry the koftas, first make sure that the oil is hot enough before you place them for deep frying.
Place one kofta at a time in a pan when deep frying. If the Kofta starts to break or crumble add about 1-2 tbsp of cornflour and mix well as corn flour helps the paneer and vegetables to bind well and they will not break when you deep fry them.
Always fry the koftas in low-medium flame so that they are cooked well and get lovely golden brown colour.
Other Kofta Recipes from Monsoon Spice:


  1. The koftas look spectacular Sia. You outdo yourself each time with pictures and description. Great entry as well.

  2. Awesome entry. U have very fast hands. The pix look beautiful.

  3. you really know how to make someone who just had their lunch hungry, dontcha?

  4. Someone in a poetic mood :) Koftas look so nice and pretty...your dishes always have that richness.I have never attempted to make Koftas coz of all that work...but I would love to have it when made by someone..so wehn are you inviting me? :)


  5. hey, koftas look so inviting! am coming over for lunch :)
    btw, ur post appears with a wednesday time stamp.

  6. hi sia,
    i liked the new look of the monsoon spice.
    paneer koftas looks rich and delicious.thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe:)

  7. Koftas look very good. I like the before and after pic.
    Tell me honestly, how do you write like this??? You are an amazing storyteller.

  8. I have never seen a kofta looking so glamorous!! very beautifully presented and an enjoyable writeup:)
    the pics rock!

  9. Ahhhhhhhh rich koftas in their glory. Beautiful autumn color in your gravy

    It is still hot here and I am loving it, dread the cold

  10. Wow awesome recipe. Great pics!

  11. love the pics Sia .....time taking dish ..but definitely worth the effort .....I usually end up eating the koftas like that only;-)..will now make the gravy using ur recipe one of these days :-)

  12. This is not fair Sia.. the pics are so tempting and my mouth is already watering.. :D nice recipe dear..:)

  13. Great look Sia... :) The Paneer Koftas look so pretty and perfect.

  14. Sia, drool drool drool, so beautiful just like your writing.

  15. Looks delicious Sup... I love the deep yellow color of the gravy, I've seen it in your other dishes too... I don't think I have ever achieved such beautiful color...

    BTW, the horizontal menubar is not centered, it is kind of left aligned.. IE7 on Vista... Did I tell you how much I love the new look?

  16. I am drooling over the pics....its early morning here, havent had my breakfast yet, and I am thinking of lunch already...:)

  17. such a lovely recipe.. and the pics are really pretty! i love ur new template too. way to go :)

  18. Malai Kofta is my favourite...and that too with saffron...must have tasted yummy......

  19. Sia, dear - this is just not fair at all... when will you be here to cook my b'fast?? Paneer koftas indeed... :):)

  20. These koftas look fabulous! Wonder if they could be baked instead of fried.

    Awesome pictures!

  21. I like paneer dishes and your pictures are great and tempting me much...!!Thanx for the recipe...!!

  22. What can I say... it is simply superb.... mouth watering... :)

  23. Sia, the gravy is so rich and the balls are neatly arranged. Very tempting recipe and will try soon. Tks for sharing. Viji

  24. what a tempting curry.......
    you are spoiling all my dieting plans..........
    and a beautifull description of the fall......in uk
    i am enjoying the change of climate
    where do u live in uk....
    we live in yorkshire

  25. sia...as usual this looks yummy!!!..great job..

  26. Wow they just look super delicious.
    I am going to try your recipe when i have paneer. Once a made vegie kofta and when i fried them, they just crumbles to small pieces.
    Your kofa look beautifull, so i will try your recipe.
    Thanks for sharing it.

  27. Hi!!!
    Gravy looks absolutely delicious!! mouth watering koftas! pictures are all very nice!

  28. Sia, love the new dress looks cool and the Koftas are fit for a prince. looks and I am sure tastes fantastic.

  29. ur koftas look amazing..would be hard for me to dunk them in the gravy..i may eat it straight-up...

  30. @red chillies,
    thank you RC:) and yeah, i am blushing here.

    thank you divya and a warm welcome to monsoon spice:)

    awww... thanks pushpa and welcome to my corner:)

  31. Excellent Sia........The recipe as well as its presentation got due credits bcoz of you......Bookmarked it dear :-)

  32. J & B,
    coming from u guys its a gr8 compliment i could ask for:) thanks.

    do u need an invitation??? just pack ur bag and come here and i will make sure that i have enough baking materials stored for u;)

    LOL...sorry sweety. blame my hubby to finish them all within 2 days;) will cook separate batch of koftas when u come down:)

  33. @prajusha,
    thank u prajusha. glad u liked the new look of monsoon spice:)

    thanks tbc:) i am not sure abt my writing skills, i just write what comes to my mind. and yeah, both my granny's are gr8 story tellers. may be just inherited small percentage of story teller genes from them;) he he...

    awww... thats very sweet of u to say that:) glad u liked them.

  34. Looks delicious....wonderful entry...my entry is similar to yours with paneer n saffron..:D

  35. @sandeepa,
    lucky u... every where its pouring here and upon that no sign of uncle sun also:(

    thank u and a warm welcome to monsoon spice:)

    @spice of life,
    thank u:) i have book marked ur instat dosa recipe. gonna try it pretty soon:)

  36. @siri,
    LOL...blame it on food blogging;) every day i am being seduced by food bloggers with the descriptions and pics.

    glad u liked it girl:)

    thats very sweet of u:) thank you...

  37. Slurp!! I just opened my Laptop to work on the round up for a while, and this delight hit me in the face!:))
    Gorgeous recipe Sia, thanks.
    Great entry too.

  38. @sig,
    that yello hue is due to counter top lights sig. i usually take pics at night and i dont get natural light:(
    i have not tested on vista as i just hate it;) i usually use firefox and i prefer it over IE. will check on weekend and see if i can fix the prob. thanks for letting me know sig. i appreciate it.

    LOL... that so sweet of u:) thanks bhags.

    thanks nags. i am still working on fixing few probs with the new template. glad u liked it:)

  39. Paneer Koftas with Naan is my favourite combination.

    I think I should switch my food blog browsing time - its an hour or so from dinner time here and all this browsing is making me feel soooooooooo hungry. :(

  40. I wish I was ur neighbour.. cause I could sneak into ur kitchen and gobble up the koftas!!! I really mean it..

  41. @easycrafts,
    thank u and welcome to my corner:)

    u want koftas for breakfast???? :) will come to ur place as soon as my boss approves my leave;)

    i have tried baking them once but was not satisfied with the results. u can always try and i have given the instructions for baking also under recipe.

  42. @raks,
    thank u and welcome to my corner:)

    thank u:) u can always add few more words if u wish;) kidding...

    thanks viji. gravy was very delicious. do let me know how u like it:)

  43. @indira,
    ah!!! u dont think of dieting when it comes to koftas;) eat them and then run few miles on treadmill;)
    autumn is lovely isn't it? i too live in yorkshire.

    thanks sri:) glad u liked it.

    @happy cook,
    mix more corn flour when deep frying if the koftas break or crumble. it works for me quite well. last time when i made aloo koftas i had same prob. hope this time it goes well:)

  44. I love the 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' too...the kofta curry looks so rich...I am pleased to receive it as an entry...thanks.

  45. @usha prashanth,
    thanks usha:) glad u liked them

    thanks indo. i am really gald u liked the new look. just wanted to switch to fresh look.

    LOL... but they taste gr8 with gravy:) u can also serve them as snack with chutney or ketchup. i did pop few before dunking them in gravy;)

  46. @sirisha,
    thats really kind of u to say that:) thank u

    welcome to my corner:) i will surely pop into ur blog to check ur entry:)

    i cant wait for ur wednesday's post. its on main dishes rt??? thanks ashakka, glad u liked it:) try the gravy, it was wonderful... and also koftas. i am sure both ur kids will like to eat them with tomato sauce if not with gravy;)

  47. @lakshmi,
    ah!!! thats my fav combo as well. i didn't have time to make naan so had it with paratha:)
    LOL...i alwyas blog hop near my meal time and alwys curse myself for doing that.:)

    ah!!! so when r u moving to my neighbourhood? and u know there is one house for sale, just 2 door away from ours;)

    glad u liked it suni. i was spoiled for choice when u announced saffron for this month's event:) i felt this dish will do full justice to queen of spices:)

  48. Wow Sia, your recipes always have the touch of richness and luxury ingredients. I enjoyed watching those mouthwatering koftas and beautiful pictures as always!

  49. Sia,
    what can I say...simply superb. Paneer koftas look absolutely gorgeous. Awesome pics. I'm dumbfolded by your presentation.

  50. OMG Sia!!!! this recipe is out of this world, no kidding!! I am definitely going to make it for my next party:)

    btw, i'd appreciate if you could come up with something spectacular for the AFAM-Peach event I'm hosting this month! I'm sure your entry would be a great addition ot the roundup!:)

  51. kofta looks delicious n rich...lovely pics....havent tried any kofta dishes yet...but after seeing this colorful koftas,i wish make n have them soon....dish is very invitating...

  52. wow delicious Sia! noddire bayali neer battu.wonderfull entry:)

  53. Sia,
    wow It looks delicious, Got to do this weekend.
    By the way are you 2 days ahead of US time. that's what it shows in FBD.
    Any way nice recipe

  54. Sia
    gorgeous looking koftas :)
    i likey

    - mythili

  55. Beautiful pics of the dish.Yellow color of the gravy looks so attractive and tempting along with the koftas.

  56. The changing colours of autumn are beautiful, just experienced that in swiss....Koftas look lovely, compliments your ode to autumn! :)

  57. @padma,
    thank u:) a touch of saffron brings out the richness and colour to any dish. glad u liked it:)

    thank u kribha:) i am really glad to know u liked the pic and presentation. i feel food should not only taste good but should look good also. my grandma always used to say that first people should taste the food through their eyes.

    do let me know when u make this mansi. i am sure ur friends will enjoy it as much as we did:)
    i will surely try to come up with new recipe with peaches if i get fresh peaches from market:)

  58. @manasi,
    he he... thank u sweetie:)

    thank u remya and a warm welcome to monsoon spice. do try making them as they r really simple. i have listed 2 more koftas in my post. go through them and try any one of these:)

    thanks roopa. nodudara bittu madule akkalla?? ;) he he he...

  59. @anonymous,
    thank u. i am just half a day ahead of US time zone. not sure why my posts appear 1 or 2 days ahead as its been happening since last 1 month.

    thank u mythili:)

    thanks pravs. the actual gravy colour was kind of brass+bronze mixture. my counter top light gives that yellow hue as i usually take pics at night.

    thanks jyo:) r u gonna post more pics of ur swiss trip? autumn is indeed beautiful rt?

  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. This dish looks totally awesome. The sight of the fried koftas is making me hungry! The gravy has such a nice color. This is now placed first on my must-try dishes. In your blog for the first time today - I'm sure I will come back for more of your interesting recipes.

  62. Wow wonerful website..Paneer Kofta looks awesome!!

  63. wonderful reipe....looks so deliicous ! i am trying this when i buy paner next.

  64. yummy , koftas are my fav.. nice pic

  65. Oh my god!!! Such a wonderful and mouthwatering dish. Awesome presentation. PERFECT :)

  66. Lovely entry and lovely pictures.

  67. OMG, such good looking koftas. The gravy looks wonderful. bookmarked!

  68. WOW!!! Looks Awesome! I love paneer koftas and its been a really long time since i had these...i can't stop drooling so can't say anymore :)

  69. Looks Heavenly!!!!! I love the new look of the site! Monsoon Spices is awesome, but your header still says Passionate...


  70. @sudha,
    a warm welcome to monsoon spice sudha:) i am glad u liked the recipe and gonna try it soon. drop me a line when u make it. by the way, do u have any blog of urs?

    thank u and welcome to my corner rohini:) hope u visit me again.

    thats very exciting pooja. do let me know when u try it:)

  71. @shivapriya,
    koftas are my fav too:) i see we have similar taste;)

    OMG!!! u flatter me vini:) thank u. and welcome to monsoon spice.

    thank u hima:)

  72. @the cooker,
    thank u:)

    LOL...then its a time u made some kofas:)

    thanks kanch:) i know, i have giving the Passionate...title in my settings.

  73. Hi Sups,

    Hey buddy you did a amazing work...i loved the snaps of kofta before and after frying alot...delicious recipe you have shared with us...Thanks alot....

  74. wow those look too good...i love the way u presented

  75. Nice recipe sia!:)) I too make these paneer koftas for naan, but without saffron!:D

  76. @usha,
    Thank u usha. Try it when u get time as it tastes amazing:)

    Thanks shanti. I am glad u liked the presentation:)

    Thanks latha. Saffron gives that extra kick to the gravy and the colour was amazing…

  77. Oh yeah...the new template looks so elegant and so are the kofthas cradled in the creamy rich gravy!!!

  78. Wanted to let you know that I tried the recipe on Saturday and it was a big hit. Everybody loved it.

    A slight variation I might try next time is - grind the onions after frying them. The traditional Shahi Paneer/Malai kofta at restaurants has a smooth gravy.

    And your tip about frying koftas helped me immensely, else I'd have had a totally crumbled mess!

    Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!

  79. @bharathy,
    thank u girl:)

    thank u sudha for letting me know. i am thrilled to know u enjoyed it.
    i wanted some body in the gravy, so i chopped the onion very finely which ultimately when cooked almost dissolved in the gravy. u can always fry and grind the onion to smooth paste. if u r grinding the onions then i would recommend u to reduce the number of cashews used to 3/4 th coz u will get really thick gravy :)

  80. sia ...will yu accept my apologies for missing all these lovely posts...paneer is my fav and koftas are yummmmm

  81. Sia, we tried this recipe last weekend and enjoyed it very much. Thanks for sharing it with us all!

  82. Sia - what beautiful balls!

    um. that didn't come out right.


  83. @rachna,
    aww, common :)

    i am really gald to know u enjoyed these paneer koftas cindy. they r my fav too:) thanku for letting me know.

    ROFL... u made me think twice if i have something else in my blog other than food pics;)

  84. Hi Sia,
    It was a lovely presentation. I want to try this recipe, this weekend. I would like to know can i make koftas ahead (that is a day or two) and make the gravy on that day. Before adding to the gravy may be i can heat it or bake it.Will the koftas be good?

  85. Hi Sia,I was tryng to find a nice recipie for paneer kofta curry n ur recipie is gr8..Luks amazing n well explained..!The pics are awesome n obviously mouth-watering..! Iv got som paneer n m going to try this recipie soon..thnks alot.

    Best Regards.

  86. Hi Sia,I was tryng to find a nice recipie for paneer kofta curry n ur recipie is gr8..Luks amazing n well explained..!The pics are awesome n obviously mouth-watering..! Iv got som paneer n m going to try this recipie soon..thnks alot.

    Best Regards.

  87. Hello, this recipe looks gorgeous. I have a question, though - what is Kitchen King masala? I am not sure if I can find it in the Netherlands where I live; do you have a recommendation of what I could substitute it with (like some combination of the standard spices/masalas)? Thank you so much! You have a very nice blog. Cheers, Rachel

  88. @wild orchid,
    kitchen king masala is a special masala powder which enhances the flavour of any curry. there r different brands of kitchen king masalas available. it contains powdered coriander, tumeric, fenugreek, ginger, salt, bay leaves, cumin, black pepper, cardamom, garlic flakes, poppy seeds, onion flakes, cloves, mustard and asafoetida. one brand which is use is badshah kitchen king masala first time i had to get it parceled from india but now u should be able to get it in any indian stores. other popular brands of kitchen king masala are Mangal Kitchen King Masala
    Spicy World Kitchen King Masala
    Everest kitchen king masala.
    it is not a must for any curry base as you can always use the more common Garam Masala.

  89. Hi Sia, Thanks so much for the help about Kitchen King! The advice about brands is especially helpful; now I can look for it here. Thanks too for visiting my blog, by the way! -Rachel

  90. This is a brilliant recipe! Thanks to you, I have lost my mortal fear of deep-frying! :-D Cheers, Rachel

  91. Sia i must admit whenever i see ur blog i enjoy it reading and cooking...tried most of the recipes and came out delicious.....thnx for posting such wonderful recipes....


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