Cheese Koftas

Deep Fried Koftas (Photo by happydacks/flickr)
Deep Fried Koftas (Photo by happydacks/flickr)

Only home-made cheese is suitable for this recipe (cottage cheese, farm cheese and ricotta cheese don't work).

Serves 4-6.


For the koftas
1 quantity panir
30 g/1 oz/1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
2 tablespoons chopped sultanas
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
2 teaspoons seeded and chopped fresh chillies
salt and pepper to taste
oil and ghee for deep frying
For the sauce
1 tablespoon ghee or butter
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 thin slices ginger, cut into shreds
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup light cream or evaporated milk
1 teaspoon garam masala 3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander or mint


Prepare the panir (reserving whey) and leave it to drain for 30 minutes. Press between two plates to remove any excess moisture, then untie the muslin. Break curds into pieces and knead vigorously until smooth and palm of the hand feels greasy. Divide into 8 equal portions and roll each into a smooth ball.

Combine coriander, sultanas, almonds and chillies, adding salt and pepper to taste. Make a depression in each ball and fill with some of the coriander mixture, then mould ball around filling again, making a smooth surface without cracks.

Heat about 2 cups oil with 2 tablespoons ghee to flavour it and slip in the cheese koftas, frying them over medium heat until golden brown on all sides. Lift out on slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.


To make the sauce, melt ghee in a heavy pan with a tablespoon of the frying oil and cook garlic and onion until soft and translucent. Add tomato paste, salt, sugar and ginger and stir in 11/2 cups whey. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cream, add koftas and simmer in sauce for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with garam masala and coriander just before serving with Indian bread or rice.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)