This Malai Chicken Kofta is a delicious fusion of the creamy white handi and badami korma with the traditional Pakistani Kofta aka meatballs. Its my kitchen experiment gone wayyyy right which turned out just too good to not share with y’all!
Creamy handis and white handis have been all the rage since the early 2000s in Pakistan. White chicken handi and similar recipe have swooped the internet and the restaurants obliged with the demand and produced more white curry recipes. Of Course it also got my creative juices flowing too. And thus came into being this malai chicken kofta recipe. I am also pleased to report that I’ve tested this recipe on a big batch of people before I introduced it to the world! (yes my dinner guests are lab rats to me and they all know it by now)
How to make Malai Chicken Kofta
I assure you, the recipe is super straightforward and perfect for dinners, dawats and lunches. I’ve even had this with fettuccine and it didn’t disappoint. My ideal combo was naan and chicken malai koftey. But go ahead and pair it with any flat bread of your choice!
Here’s a little eagle eye view of all the ingredients you need to make this recipe.
Making the Meatballs
You can make the meatball mix IN a food processor itself! Just dump all the ingredients in and press on! IT’s that easy! Just throw in the onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies first to get them fine. Then add your chicken breast or mince with all the spices. And press on again! As easy as ABC.
NOTE: The green chilies I am using are of moderate heat and large. So I went for 4. The smaller serrano green chilies are spicier and if you can’t handle spicy food, reduce the quantity to 2.
Now oil your hands and start making meatballs. I took roughly a heaped tsp of mix to make the meatballs for a medium size. Got around 22 cute ones. You can pop them in the freezer for a few minutes before they are needed again.
Making the curry for Malai Chicken Kofta
Start off by soaking your peeled almonds in hot water for 10 mins. If they aren’t peeled, soaking them will loosen up the skin and will become easier to remove. Then boil these almonds in water for another 10 mins.
TIP: Get started with the almonds in the background when you are preparing your meatballs.
After your almonds are boiled, drain the water and blend them with milk to make a paste. Set aside to use later.
NOTE: You can also use almond butter if you have some at hand, and skip this step.
I saute the meatballs in 2 tbsp of ghee in the same saucepan that I will use to make the curry. Just saute them for about a minute or 2 to get a golden color. I like the golden color of the meatballs peaking through the curry. Remove the meatballs from the saucepan and set aside.
TIP: Using ghee or butter instead of oil for this recipe will bring out the flavors of the dish beautifully.
Now we prepare the curry in the leftover ghee. Add whole spices and garlic ginger paste and allow it to turn golden brown.
Reduce the flame to medium low, and add all the spices mentioned in the recipe along with a little all purpose flour. Saute the spices in the ghee for a minute to get rid of that raw spice flavor and flour taste. Now reduce the flame to low and add the almond paste. I love the way my kitchen smells at this stage. Its just awesome cooking!
Stir the almond paste (or bhoonofy) till you see it reduces and becomes clumpy. Now we add a cup of water and bring back the flame up to medium. The simmering water allows the clumps to break up and from a smooth gravy. Then add milk and the meatballs. Cover it up for 15 mins and let it cook at medium low flame. Since its chicken, it’ll be done in 15 easily.
Add beaten cream and mix and just give it a minute or 2 to simmer. And your dish is 50% ready! If your sauce seems thin, don’t worry about it! It’ll thicken up as it cools down.
The other 50% of flavor of this dish is in the garnish. So pleaseeeee DO NOT SKIP! I beg you! A dollop of ghee/ butter on the top, with julienne cut ginger, green chilies slit in half. And then finally, squeeze of lemon on top when you are going to dig in with that naaan, OMG its heaven! sorry I’m salivating, gotta go make some! Have fun with it!
p.s. Don’t forget to read the remixes below, they are KILLER!
What does Malai Chicken Kofta tastes great with?
- Of Course there is your standard naan, chapati, roti, paratha and flat bread.
- Meatball sub! With the gravy and only adding cheese. You’ll thank me later.
- Pasta! Omg! If you have leftovers, this is what you do. Just boil some fettuccine, add some cheese, oregano and pasta water in malai kofta and stir in your fettuccine! OMG best fusion pasta ever!
- Puff pastries! If I have leftovers, I smash the meatballs in the sauce and fill my puff pastries with it. ohh man! revelation!
- If you need a dairy free option for milk, go for nut milk or almond milk. They work fine with the recipe. Just use 3 cup of nut milk and don’t add any water.
- Cream – A good dairy free option is to use coconut cream.
- Almonds – Use 1/3 cup of almond butter
- Reduce the green chili quantity of you aren’t a spicy food person, although the overall taste of this dish is not spicy