Indian/ Mains

Beetroot and Paneer Kofta in Malai Sauce

beetroot and paneer kofta

These beetroot and paneer kofta in malai sauce are spicy, sweet and creamy. Serve these up with naan or rice for a perfect combination.

I shared my Malai Kofta recipe not too long ago, and I thought I’d now share one of the variations I make. The malai sauce is exactly the same but the kofta have roasted beetroot blitzed into them.

This adds a vibrant colour and amazing flavour!

Beetroot and Paneer Kofta

Traditionally the kofta are made with paneer and potatoes and sometimes stuffed with nuts and raisins. I’m not particularly keen on the nuts and raisins and have hence omitted them from my recipe.

The kofta are also normally deep fried – and admittedly this does lend the best results. However I’ve air fried these and they are still crisp and delicious.

For these you will need:

  • Paneer – which will be soaked in boiling water. This will allow it to soften up and almost replicate the texture of fresh paneer. By doing so this will soften up your kofta and add a little bit of essential moisture.
  • Boiled potatoes – these will need to be peeled and boiled/steamed. Pass them through a potato ricer or grate them. This will also help to bind and lighten the kofta further
  • Fresh beetroot – not a usual ingredient but it will be peeled and roasted till sweet and caramelised
  • Garam masala – this is already a mix of ground roasted whole spices and will add depth to your kofta
  • Gram flour – this will help to bind and crisp up the kofta. This can be substituted for corn flour too
beetroot and paneer kofta

Malai Sauce

This creamy and rich sauce should be a mix of flavours. It should be spicy and sweet, and it has to be creamy. It needs to be packed with flavour and have a vibrant orange colour. This sauce has to be smooth, and for that you’ll need a powerful blender and a sieve. I can’t stress enough the importance of sieving your sauce at the end if you want that elegant restaurant finish.
Some of the essential ingredients:

  • Browned onions – white onion cooked low and slow till browned and caramelised. Thus producing a sweet and rich flavour
  • Cashews – this will provide the creaminess and richness as I don’t use any additional cream. Soaked cashews blitzed with water at the end can form a ‘cashew cream’ for garnishing if desired
  • Whole spices- for tempering and depth
  • Ground spices – provides further flavouring
  • Jaggery or sugar – to provide sweetness – because we all need a little balance, right? This is only a small amount but essential to balance the spice and acidity


The kofta are easy to adapt and hugely versatile. However you can omit the beetroot if you wish, and add in some courgette, chopped spinach, sweetcorn or grated carrots. All of these work incredibly well so feel free to get creative. I’ll link my original recipe at the bottom of the page

You can add regular dairy cream to the malai kofta if you wish to make it even more rich. Personally I don’t think it needs it but feel free.

If you want to veganise the kofta – substitute the paneer for tofu, no need to soak the tofu in boiling water. Use a medium/firm tofu and press between paper towels and a weight to drain some excess moisture. You may need extra gram flour to bind this.

beetroot and paneer kofta

Beetroot and Paneer Kofta in Malai Sauce

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 5 people


Malai sauce:

  • 3 tbsp oil/ghee
  • 1 white onion
  • 10 cashews
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 6 green cardamom crushed open
  • 2 cm stick of cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp grated garlic(1 large clove)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger 1cm piece
  • 1 red chilli
  • 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 0.5 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder/paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Pinch of kasuri methi
  • 2 cm piece jaggery/2tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste


  • 250 g paneer soaked in boiling water for 10 mins
  • 1.5 large potatoes peeled, boiled, then grated
  • 1 large fresh beetroot peeled and sliced into 1cm thick pieces
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp gram flour


  • Slice onion and sautee in 1tbsp of oil until slightly browned on a medium low heat, will take ~20-25mins, then transfer to a bowl
  • Add remaining 2tbsp of oil and temper the cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves and cashews for 30s until fragrant
  • Add in your browned onions, garlic, ginger, chilli and sauté
  • Add the tin of tomatoes followed by the ground spices, jaggery, and the kasuri methi and allow to simmer on low heat for 10 mins partially covered
  • Let this cool, remove whole spices (I only bother with black cardamom and cinnamon) and blend till smooth. Add water if blender requires
  • Sieve your sauce for a smooth finish, and simmer until desired consistency
  • Drizzle your beetroot slices in 1tbsp of oil, along with 1tsp salt and place in an 180’C fan oven for 30-40mins or until tender
  • Blitz your beetroot, paneer, garam masala and 1tsp salt together in a food processor, then mix with your grated potato by hand. Add in your gram flour and continue to mix
  • Form even sized balls, brush lightly with the remaining oil and air fry at 190 celcius for 15-20 mins or deep fry. Baking these dries them out so I’d advise against
  • Garnish with coriander and cream.
Keyword beetroot, kofta, malai kofta, paneer

For my original malai kofta recipe, tap the image below!

Malai kofta

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