Today I bring you a particularly delicious piece of fusion. These Malai Kofta Baked Potatoes are the love child of the popular Indian dish Malai Kofta and the much-beloved twice-baked potato. The result of this potentially unholy alliance is a Thanksgiving side dish no one saw coming. You could also make a meal out of these. I certainly did. They are satisfying enough on their own that they don’t need to play second fiddle to stuffing. So what the heck are you looking at? Well, basically these are a couple of baked potatoes filled with the makings of potato and paneer kofta covered in a tomato cashew gravy. Sound good? Good. Let’s get into it.
I think we should start things off by discussing what malai kofta is. Malai Kofta is a popular Indian dish that is usually vegetarian. There are many types of kofta – which translates to “spiced balls” – in the world, but malai kofta is almost always made with potato and paneer kofta. Once the kofta are fried, they are served in a lake of tomato cashew gravy. This is where the malai comes in. Malai means “creamy” or “buttery”. So as you can see, this dish has a very descriptive title.
So, how does one turn Malai Kofta into a Malai Kofta Baked Potato? Well, would you believe me if I told you they fell into each other very naturally? Initially, when I had this idea, I thought I would turn the kofta into Duchess Potatoes. But I abandoned that notion because I didn’t want to pipe anything. My laziness turned out to be a blessing because I think the twice-baked potato format was better for the overall dish and is way less fussy.
When I say the two dishes fit together naturally, I mean it. Twice-baked potatoes require you to bake two potatoes, split them in half, and scoop out the flesh. Then you toss that flesh with a myriad of spices and herbs and pile it back into the skins from whence it came before baking the spuds once again. Again, twice-baked potatoes – very descriptive title. Well, that “myriad” of spices might as well be the ingredients for potato paneer kofta. And that second baking allows you to side-step the mess of frying. And while we’re at it, why not employ that lake of tomato cashew gravy as a stand-in for queso. The yogurt and mint can act as our sour cream and chives.
See? Although these Malai Kofta Baked Potatoes are admittedly a little odd, they sort of make sense. They certainly exploit what little parallels exist between Malai Kofta and twice-baked potatoes. Peep the video below to watch how they came together and for even more info on the dish. And if you like the video, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. I post a new recipe every week, and tons of bonus treats along the way.
Malai Kofta Baked Potatoes
- Large baking sheet
- Large, deep skillet
Twice Baked Kofta Potatoes
- 2 large Russet potatoes scrubbed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tsp kosher salt divided
- 1 (1-inch) knob ginger minced
- 2-3 green chilies thinly sliced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- ½ cup paneer crumbled or grated
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup golden raisins finely chopped
- ¼ cup unsalted roasted cashews finely chopped
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
Tomato Cashew Gravy
- 1 yellow onion cut into quarters
- 3-4 green chilies trimmed
- 1 (1-inch) knob ginger peeled and halved
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- ¼ cup neutral oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 can whole tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup whole unsalted roasted cashews
- 1 tsp demerara sugar**
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup full-fat yogurt
- Fresh mint leaves for sprinkling
For the Twice-Baked Kofta Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle the potatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Pop them in the oven and bake for 55 minutes to an hour. The potatoes are done when they can be easily pierced with a fork.2 large Russet potatoes, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1½ tsp kosher salt
- At this point, your potatoes should be done roasting. Carefully split the potatoes in half, taking care not to rip the skin. The potato skins will be our serving vessels, later on, so we want them to be as pristine as possible. *** Set them aside to cool on the counter until they reach room temperature, then transfer them to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- Once your potatoes are good and cold preheat your oven once again to 400F. Scoop out the flesh of the potatoes leaving a 1/4 -1/2 inch border. I used a melon baller to do this because it's a precision tool, in my opinion. Transfer all of the potato flesh to a large bowl and set the potato skins aside.
- To the potato flesh, add the ginger, chili, cilantro, paneer, milk, raisins, cashews, egg yolk, cornstarch, ground cardamom, and the remaining salt. Using a potato masher, mash the ingredients together until a smooth mixture forms.1½ tsp kosher salt, 1 (1-inch) knob ginger, 2-3 green chilies, ¼ cup fresh cilantro, ½ cup paneer, ½ cup whole milk, ¼ cup golden raisins, ¼ cup unsalted roasted cashews, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1 large egg yolk, ½ tsp ground cardamom
- Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato skins and smooth it with the back of your spoon. Return the potatoes to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn on the broiler and roast for another 5. Be sure to keep an eye on your potatoes, though. You may have to pull them before the 5 minutes is up to avoid burning them.
For the Gravy
- While the potatoes are baking, make the gravy.**** Place the onion, chilies, ginger, and garlic in a large food processor and blitz until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer the puree to a bowl and set it aside.1 yellow onion, 3-4 green chilies, 1 (1-inch) knob ginger, 4 cloves garlic
- Pour the neutral oil into a large deep skillet and place over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cardamom pods, and whole cumin seeds. Sauté until the cumin seeds pop and become fragrant. About 2 minutes.¼ cup neutral oil, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, 4 green cardamom pods, 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- Add the puree to the pan along with a sprinkle of salt. Reduce the heat and sweat the onions. Once your onion puree starts to turn a soft golden color, add a can of whole tomatoes. Break the tomatoes up roughly with your spoon. Add the water to the can the tomatoes came in and give it a swirl. Add the water to the pan. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a spirited simmer.1 can whole tomatoes, 1 cup water
- Stir in the whole unsalted cashews followed by the demerara sugar, salt, Kashmiri chili, garam masala, and ground coriander. Give the mixture a stir and reduce to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 15-20 minutes.¼ cup whole unsalted roasted cashews, 1 tsp demerara sugar**, 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder, ½ tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp garam masala, ¼ tsp ground coriander
- Once the 15 minutes have passed, remove the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cardamom pods. Transfer the gravy to a large food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour the gravy back into the skillet using a fine mesh strainer. Use a rubber spatula to work as much of the gravy through as possible. This will result in a smoother tomato gravy but it does take some time. This step is optional.
- Once the gravy is back in the skillet bring it back up to temperature. Stir in the cream and simmer for pan an additional 5 minutes to thicken.¼ cup heavy cream
- Take the potatoes out of the oven and transfer them to a serving platter. Top the potatoes with the tomato gravy, a dollop of full-fat yogurt, and fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately.½ cup full-fat yogurt, Fresh mint leaves