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Malai Kofta – Meatless Meatballs in Creamy Indian Sauce

Malai Kofta is a traditional recipe gets a makeover by using frozen meatless meatballs. Same rich and flavorful Indian spiced sauce but half the work.

A semi homemade take on traditional Malai Kofta using froze meatless meatballs. Weekday fancy dinner solved. #recipes #easyrecipes#indianfood #curry

Malai kofta, literally translates into meatballs in a creamy sauce. I have grown up eating meatless malai kofta which had koftas actually made of a mixture of potatoes, paneer, carrots and peas. My mom makes a killer meatless malai kofta and I have myself perfected the recipe as well. The key to this recipe is the tomato based sauce that is slightly sweet due to addition of honey or sugar but at the same time maintains the depth and flavor of rich, aromatic spices.

Jump to Recipe

You know that we are not a very big meat eating family. Our meals are mostly vegetarian with a balanced nutritious value. So when I heard about an opportunity to celebrate Earth Day with Gardein to highlight their meatless options, I wad excited to be a part of it. Being a part of the Meatless Monday team, I feel honored to share this recipe of malai kofta using Gardein Meatless Meatballs.

Earth Day

Though there is no doubt in my mind that as responsible citizens of this planet, we should consider everyday Earth Day, but a day specially recognized and set aside to celebrate everything about out beautiful planet deserves attention and respect. Study after study has shown how commercial production of meat is harming our environment. I have friends who are cattle ranchers and farmers and they have an exactly opposing thought process. I am still trying to figure out and research more this topic before reaching my conclusions.

A semi homemade take on traditional Malai Kofta using froze meatless meatballs. Weekday fancy dinner solved. #recipes #easyrecipes#indianfood #curry

Giving up meat one day a week should not be life changing for anybody though it can significantly help our environment. There are many other ways we can help our environment and earth along with giving up meat for just one day a week. It does not have to be a Monday if you think it is asking too much out of the first day of the week..ha ha.

Recycling and reusing is the most obvious and easiest way of helping our environment. Other things that we do as a family include using A semi homemade take on traditional Malai Kofta using froze meatless meatballs. Weekday fancy dinner solved. #recipes #easyrecipes#indianfood #curry

There are many other ways to support your environment and planet. It does not have to be complicated and anything major. Small, thoughtful steps make an impact. So do not wait, just spring into action! Make this meatless meatball malai kofta as a teeny tiny step towards celebrating Earth Day.

Recipe Run Down

This is my version of malai kofta and some purists might not agree with it. But this is how I roll…lol. I have adapted a traditional malai kofta recipe to the spices and ingredients easily available in the United States. It is important to choose the right cooking pot or pan. The gravy/sauce will cook for a long time until all the moisture is absorbed. So choose a heavy bottomed pan that distributes the heat evenly – non-stick or traditional is your preference.

The sauce begins with whole spices like cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and aromatics like ginger garlic and onion. I always use fresh tomatoes and puree them in the blender to add to the onion masala, but if canned tomatoes are your thing, feel free to use them. After the onion tomato masala is bhoonoed (in other words all the moisture has cooked off), add heavy cream while stirring continuously. Make a silky sauce/gravy by adding milk and some water. Add the frozen meatless meatballs and cook for 10-15 minutes. Finish with garam masala and kasoori methi. You have a keeper on your hands!

Here is a handy dandy printable:

Malai Kofta – Meatless Meatballs in Creamy Indian Spiced Sauce

Malai Kofta is a traditional recipe gets a makeover by using frozen meatless meatballs. Same rich and flavorful Indian spiced sauce but half the work.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword malai kofta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Author Vaishali


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced see notes
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped about a cup
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced see notes
  • 1 1/2 cups pureed/crushed tomatoes see notes
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk to adjust consistency
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup optional
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi
  • 12 Gardein Meatless Meatballs frozen
  • 8-10 sprigs cilantro, leaves chopped optional


  1. Set a heavy bottomed/non-stick pan on medium high and add the oil.

  2. Once the oil is hot and shiny, add the whole spices (green cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

  3. Add minced garlic and chopped onion. Add a pinch of salt. The salt helps to pull out the moisture from the onions and they cook faster. Mix.

  4. Cook until the moisture evaporates and add ginger. Cook the masala till it all comes together and the onions turn golden brown. If at some point, the masala starts sticking to the pan, sprinkle some water to loosen the bits and continue cooking.

  5. Add in turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and cayenne. Mix well. Add the pureed tomatoes and cook (stirring in between) until oil separates from the mixture, about 10 minutes.

  6. Slowly add the cream, stirring or whisking continuously. The idea is to gently bring the cream to high temperature so that it does not curdle or separate out.

  7. Once the cream is completely mixed in, add the milk, again stirring continuously. Add water to adjust the consistency. The sauce will thicken as it sits so factor that in.

  8. Now add salt, honey, ketchup, raisins and frozen meatless meatballs. Bring the sauce to a boil at high heat. Once it boils, lower the heat to medium low, cover the pan and cook for 15 -20 minutes or until the meatballs are heated through and softened.

  9. Finish the sauce with garam masala and kasoori methi. Let sit a few minutes before serving warm with naan, roti, or rice.

Recipe Notes

If you want to use ginger garlic paste, use 1 tbsp of it and add with the onions.

If you are using canned diced tomatoes, I would suggest pureeing/blending them in a blender.

You will need about 3-4 juicy tomatoes to get 1.5 cups pureed tomatoes.

A semi homemade take on traditional Malai Kofta using froze meatless meatballs. Weekday fancy dinner solved. #recipes #easyrecipes#indianfood #curry

I hope you will give this recipe a try on this Earth day to cut out some meat without compromising on texture and taste of the meatballs. If you have other ways of celebrating Earth day or helping the environment, please feel free to leave it in comments below.

Other similar recipes:

Mutter Paneer

Love – Vaishali.


  1. Luna S

    April 16, 2019 at 11:28 am

    Looking at them you wouldn’t even be able to tell those meatballs are meatless. This looks pretty good!

    1. Vaishali

      April 16, 2019 at 11:44 am

      Thanks Luna, yes exactly. And the texture is spot on as well.

  2. Ashli Ferguson

    April 16, 2019 at 11:59 am

    MMMM this looks so good. I just ate and it made me hungry again haha

  3. Cendu

    April 16, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Oh wow!! I can almost smelll it! This looks so so good. The color is so rich and inviting. I would love to take a go at it.

    1. Vaishali

      April 16, 2019 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks a lot Cendu. This is one of go to sauce recipe when I entertain. So rich and flavorful!

  4. Ran | Travel & Lifestyle

    April 16, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Looks yummy! I’m not a big fan of non-meat food but I’d definitely try this out!

    1. Vaishali

      April 16, 2019 at 4:04 pm

      Hi Ran, you can definitely use regular meatballs in this recipe..:) Thanks!

  5. Lorita | Ting and Things

    April 16, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    If I didn’t read the title i wouldn’t be able to tell that these are in fact meatless meatballs! Pinning this for later!

  6. Hackytips

    April 17, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Meatless meatballs that sound funny 😀 These pictures are looking so yum making me hungry.

  7. Monidipa Dutta

    April 17, 2019 at 11:34 am

    5 stars
    The recipe sounds really great and truly it is worth a try. And I will give it a try.

    1. Vaishali

      April 17, 2019 at 6:17 pm

      Thank You Moni. Please let me know when you try it..:)

  8. Nursery Rhymes Girl

    April 17, 2019 at 11:48 am

    I’m sure you can cook well. Plus, not every person can smile from bottom of their hearts like you.. I just saw your pic and just wanted to tell. Good luck with blogging 🙂

    1. Vaishali

      April 17, 2019 at 6:17 pm

      Aww…your comment made my day. Thank You so much..:)

  9. Maysz

    April 17, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    5 stars
    This recipe looks so delicious and makes me feel hungry 🙁 I would love to try to make this recipe.

  10. blair villanueva

    April 17, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    5 stars
    Ohh dear this recipe is delicious I want more rice along with this! Yummylicious!

  11. Neil Alvin Nicerio

    April 18, 2019 at 4:54 am

    5 stars
    It’s the first time that I have heard of this dish. I would surely love to taste it for myself. 🙂

  12. Yonnah M at

    April 18, 2019 at 8:00 am

    I have to pass this recipe on to one of my coworkers. Often times when she’s cooking for us there are some type of variations of meatballs added to the recipe.

  13. Devyani

    April 18, 2019 at 10:54 am

    This looks soooo yummy. Now I just have to find someone who makes this for me haha

  14. Glorious Heights

    April 18, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    5 stars
    Oh very nice.. love how you have added the sweet touch to it 🤗 will try them 👍🏻

  15. Elizabeth O

    July 23, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    That looks yummy..Indian foods always sparks my interest.

  16. Rahul Sangle

    December 23, 2019 at 2:05 am

    I like the meatless meatballs usage you have made. I am a great fan of Malai Kofta and my mom used to prepare yummy dishes like that when I was a child. I never got a chance to learn those recipes. Thank you for sharing it here. I am going to give it a try. Hope it turns out as tasty as it seems.

  17. Jamie Swifka

    October 15, 2022 at 11:15 am

    Quick question for 1 tsp kasoori methi… this fresh fenugreek leaves or dried?

    1. Vaishali

      October 15, 2022 at 1:47 pm

      Hi Jamie, thanks for your questions. It’s dried fenugreek leaves.

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