No-Fry Paneer Kofta| Cottage Cheese Dumplings In Tomato Gravy

At home, all of us are big fans of North Indian sabzis and gravies to go with our rotis. We love our Palak Paneer, Chana Masala, Punjabi Aloo Matar, Aloo Methi, Methi Matar Malai and Dal Makhani. If you have been reading my blog for some time now, you would know that I mostly keep my dishes flavourful but totally home-style, sans processed ingredients, artificial colours and additives. I use very limited oil in my food, avoiding deep-frying as much as I can. Today, I am going to share with you all the recipe for another such healthy gravy – delicious Paneer Kofta, made without frying.

No-Fry Paneer Kofta!

A closer look at No-Fry Paneer Kofta

Paneer Kofta refers to dumplings made using cottage cheese, served in a creamy tomato-onion gravy.

The mildly spiced dumplings are usually deep-fried in restaurants, before adding them to the gravy. However, I make them in an appe or paniyaram pan, doing away with the frying.

Also, unlike commercial versions, there is no cream used in the gravy I make for the Paneer Kofta. I use cashewnuts instead, to thicken the gravy, along with some milk to give it a rich flavour.

This No-Fry Paneer Kofta is definitely a wholesome treat, delectable and full of flavour. Try it out, and you will surely not miss the cream and the frying!

How to make No-Fry Paneer Kofta

My uncle, a great cook, makes wonderful Paneer Kofta, albeit the fried version. I have taken his recipe for the koftas, and adapted it to the paniyaram pan. The gravy I have made in the same style as thd one I use in my Paneer Butter Masala and Matar Paneer.

Here is how I go about making the dish.
Ingredients (serves 4):

For the kofta:

  1. 200 grams paneer aka cottage cheese
  2. 3 medium-sized potatoes
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Red chilli powder to taste
  5. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  8. 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  9. 1/2 teaspoon chana masala
  10. 2 tablespoons besan aka gram flour
  11. A few teaspoons of oil, as needed for cooking in paniyaram pan

For the gravy:

  1. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  2. 1 small onion
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 5-6 garlic cloves
  5. 10 cashewnuts
  6. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  7. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Red chilli powder to taste
  11. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  12. 1 cup milk, boiled and cooled
  13. 1 cup water or as needed
  14. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder
  15. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  16. 3/4 teaspoon chana masala
  17. 1 teaspoon kasoori methi
  18. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander


1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly, to remove any traces of dirt from them. Chop them into halves and place in a wide vessel. Pressure cook the potatoes with enough water for 4 whistles or till they are completely done. Let the pressure release naturally. Drain out the water from the potatoes and let them cool down completely.

2. Crumble the paneer thoroughly. Keep it ready.

3. Peel the onion, garlic cloves and ginger. Chop roughly. Chop up the tomatoes roughly too. Take the peeled onion, garlic cloves, ginger and tomatoes in a mixer jar, and add in the cashewnuts. Grind everything together to a smooth paste. Keep ready.

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Step 3

4. Now, we will prepare the gravy required for the koftas. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, and add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

5. Now, add the tomato-onion paste that we ground earlier, to the pan, along with a bit of salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Mix well. Turn the flame down to low-medium.

6. Cook the paste on low-medium flame for 4-5 minutes, or till the raw smell of the ingredients goes away completely. Stir intermittently to prevent burning. By this time, the paste will thicken up.

7. Add in the jaggery powder, still keeping the flame at low-medium. Mix well.

8. Add in the garam masala and chana masala too. Mix well.

Top left: Step 4, Top right and bottom right: Step 5 and 6, Bottom left: Step 7, Above bottom left: Step 8

9. At this stage, add in the milk. Keep the flame at low-medium. Mix well.

10. Now, add in the water. Mix well.

11. Cook on low-medium flame for 3-4 more minutes or until the gravy thickens up and achieves a smooth, creamy consistency. Switch off gas.

12. Rub the kasoori methi well between your palms, and add to the pan. Add in the finely chopped coriander too. Mix well. The gravy is ready. Keep it resting till you get the koftas ready.

Top left and right: Steps 9 and 10, Bottom left and right: Steps 11 and 12

13. We will now begin preparing the koftas. Peel the cooked and cooled potatoes, mash them, and add to the mixing bowl. Add in the crumbled paneer, salt and red chilli powder to taste, asafoetida, turmeric powder, garam masala, chana masala, besan and finely chopped coriander. Mix everything well till you get a sort of dough.

The various stages involved in Step 13

14. Make 10-12 small balls out of the potato-paneer mixture. Keep ready.

15. Heat a paniyaram pan, then reduce the flame down to low-medium. Drizzle some oil in each of the pan’s cavities. Now, place a ball of the potato-paneer mixture in each of the cavities. Cook uncovered on low-medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the balls start browning at the bottom. Then, flip them over and cook for 2 minutes on the other side or until done. Prepare all the koftas in a similar manner and keep ready.

Bottom left: Step 14, Top left: Step 15, Right: The koftas, all ready

16. When you are ready to serve the curry, heat up the gravy lightly. Ladle it into serving plates, and place a couple of the koftas in each one. Serve immediately, alongside rotis or naan.

#PaniyaramPanMagic At Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I’m sharing this recipe with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this week is #PaniyaramPanMagic, with all of us using the appe pan in innovative ways.

Priya Vijayakrishnan of Sweet Spicy Tasty was the one who suggested this week’s theme. You should definitely check out her space for her traditional Tamilian recipes as well as her unique take on dishes from around the globe. Take a look at the Kunukku Paniyaram or Dal Appe she has made for the theme – so inviting I’m tempted to try them out right away!

Tips & Tricks

1. Ensure that the paneer and milk at at room temperature, for best results. I have used Akshayakalpa paneer and full-cream milk from Nandini here.

2. Make sure the koftas do not burn, while cooking them in the paniyaram pan. Cook them on low-medium flame only.

3. I have used cashewnuts to thicken the gravy here. You may use a mix of cashewnuts and almonds instead.

4. Adjust the quantity of water you use in the gravy, depending upon the consistency you require. The above quantities worked perfectly for us.

5. It is important to cook the tomato-onion paste well, while making the gravy. Cook on low-medium flame till the raw smell is completely gone, taking care to ensure that it does not burn.

6. Add the koftas to the gravy just before serving. Also make sure the gravy is only lightly heated. These koftas are quite delicate, and disintegrate the moment they are put in hot gravy.

7. I have used a mix of garam masala and chana masala in both the koftas and the gravy. You may use a mix or either of these masalas instead.

8. For best results, cook the kofta till they get brown and slightly crisp on the outside. Take care to ensure that they do not burn.

9. I have used home-made chana masala and garam masala here. If you are looking for store-bought spice blends, Badshah, MDH and Everest work well.

10. I would not recommend skipping the jaggery used here. The jaggery does not make the dish sweet, but it does round off the other flavours nicely.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!


18 thoughts on “No-Fry Paneer Kofta| Cottage Cheese Dumplings In Tomato Gravy

  1. Wow Priya no fry paneer kofta looks lipsmackingly delicious. Loved the rich creamy gravy and use of appe pan to make healthier alternative of deep fried kofta. Everyone will love this rich flavorful and healthy side dish.


  2. No fry Paneer Koftas look incredible. I always love the no fry version.Gravy looks so rich and creamy too. It can be enjoyed guilt free. Just need some Pulkas to polish it off. Loved the detailed recipe Priya.


  3. This is such a guilt-free delicious treat ! Making paneer kofta in a paniyaram pan is brilliant ! Love how creamy and rich your gravy looks .


  4. Wow guilt free kofta recipe Priya, very well explained with very inviting presentation. Loved the creamy texture of tomato gravy and no fry koftas in it.


  5. No fry koftas in delectable gravy look so inviting Priya.. I like how the gravy looks so rich and creamy without any cream in it.. will love pair it with butter naan and enjoy the curry.


  6. Paneer kofta in tomato gravy looks so creamy and no fry koftas make it a more healthy and guilt-free treat for the whole family. Need some hot phulkas to enjoy this gravy.


  7. This paneer kofta looks absolutely irresistible, particularly the creamy rich gravy priya ! what a beautiful way of using appe pan to make this no-deep fry version


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