Malai Kofta – Instant Pot

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Malai Kofta – A classic north Indian dish, often served in restaurants; is made with deep-fried vegetable dumplings{koftas} that are tossed in a creamy tomato based sauce.

The traditional malai kofta recipe is a 2-step process. First, the kofta/dumplings are made using assorted vegetables and cheese or ground meat, spices and then deep fried. The dumplings are then added to a creamy tomato based sauce. The result is a melt in the mouth, delectable dish that can be enjoyed with steamed rice or Indian bread. Do check out my recipe for the Chicken Kofta curry recipe.

The secret ingredient in this malai kofta recipe that makes it super fast are the GRÖNSAKSBULLAR veggie meatballs from IKEA. They are made with chickpeas, green peas, kale, corn, onion, red peppers and pea protein.

malai kofta

A few weeks back a friend of mine made an incredibly delicious Punjabi Kadhi with vegetable balls in her Instant Pot. When I told her how much I loved it, she brought me a huge bag of frozen vegetable balls from IKEA! Yes, the Swedish furniture store! These veggie balls looked great and I could not wait to try them.

Last Friday, while I was debating between a take out and cooking something quick, I decided to put the vegetable balls to test in my InstaPot. I used the healthy and easy butter chicken sauce recipe, tossed the frozen veggie balls and cooked for a minute. The result was a big bowl of yumminess that my boys wiped out in no time.

If you do not have IKEA near you, I would suggest trying your local grocery store for other meatless meatball options, paneer or tofu as a substitute!

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4.17 from 12 votes
malai kofta
Malai Kofta - Instant Pot
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Malai Kofta - A classic north Indian dish, often served in restaurants; is made with deep fried vegetable dumplings{koftas} that are tossed in a creamy tomato based sauce.
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 5
Author: Archana Mundhe
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic minced
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder or any mild red chili powder
  • 3 plum tomatoes pureed
  • 1 can coconut milk regular and not low fat
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garam masala**
  • 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 24 frozen vegetable balls
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped, for garnish
  1. Set Instant Pot on Saute(More) mode, after the 'hot' sign displays, add ghee.
  2. Add onions and 1 tsp salt. Cook until onions are soft and translucent for 2 mins (with a glass lid on to speed this process)
  3. Add ginger, garlic, turmeric and red chili powder. Mix well.
  4. Separate the coconut cream and water. Keep the coconut cream aside. Add only the watery portion of coconut milk and pureed tomatoes mixing with spices.
  5. Close Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing position. Cook on Manual(Hi) for 4 mins followed by quick release.
  6. Open the Instant Pot, allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Using a hand blender, carefully blend the sauce until smooth. Stir in tomato paste, garam masala, fenugreek leaves and sugar.
  7. Add frozen veggie balls. Close Instant Pot lid with sealing and cook on Manual(Hi) for 1 minute, followed by quick release.
  8. Add the coconut cream and gently stir everything together.
  9. Garnish with cilantro.
  10. Enjoy with steamed rice or parathas.


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Author: Archana

Hey there! I am a techie turned recipe developer, cooking instructor, and food blogger. I love food and enjoy developing easy and healthy recipes for busy lifestyles. I live New Jersey with my husband and two sons.

46 thoughts on “Malai Kofta – Instant Pot

  1. Great recipe Archana. And what a great idea with the IKEA veggie balls. I am visiting my kids, of course with the instapot in the trunk of my car. I made this and it was a hit with my family. Archana do keep sharing these wonderful recipes.

    1. Hi Kalyani! Oh wow, you are traveling with your instapot! Very lucky family to have all yummy food cooked by you. I love those meatballs. They taste yummy in kadhi too. Thank you for your feedback as always?

  2. I’ve been using Ikea vegan meatballs in Veg Kofta for almost all my potlucks in the past 6 months:) I’ve also made a yummy veg manchurian dish with it. I put them on my pizza oven for 5 – 6 mins before I put them in my dishes. They get a little bit of a crunch and taste fresh. I always stock two or three big bags in my freezer. They are so versatile.

    1. Good idea to bake them for a few minutes for a yummy and crunchy snack! I will have to try that soon. Thank you!

  3. Hello,

    Thanks for sharing! Can I double the recipe in my 6 Qt Instant Pot? Do you think it would compromise the dish in any way?

    1. Hi Mark! Doubling recipe works well. Saute the onions for a bit longer and then Follow same pressure cooking time.

  4. This was incredible. Malai Kafka is my favorite Indian dish and now I have a quick way to make it thanks to you!!!

  5. Hi archana..I am preparing this for a party want to prepare this 2 days ahead. When should I add the cream and veggie balls?

    1. Hi Puneeta! Make the sauce 2 days ahead. Add the veggie balls on the day of the party. 5-6 hours in advance should be good.

  6. Hi! I have tried three of your recipes thus far and they have all been amazing, thank u! I would love to make this one, however my local IKEA is out of the vegetable balls

    1. Hi! Thank you for your feedback. I am happy to hear that you are enjoying my recipes. You can add potatoes(1 inch cubes) instead of veggie balls and cook for 4 mins. Then quick release, add paneer and either saute for 5 mins or pressure cook for another 1 min and then quick release. It will be delicious!! Let me know

    1. Hi Theresa, This recipe uses cooked frozen meatballs. As long as the beef meatballs are precooked you should be fine with the same cook time. Let me know how it goes for you.

      1. Thanks! I am going to cook the ground beef meatballs in the sauce for 12 minutes high pressure and quick release! I let you know how they turn out!

  7. This is simply amazingly good. I used Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs, as there is no Ikea nearby. The sauce was the equal of any I have had in very good Indian restaurants. The meatballs were OK. Obviously, to match the finest real Indian cooking you would need to make them from scratch, but for something quick to cook at home, this recipe is terrific. Thank you!

    One small note: at our altitude (7000′), I needed to add some water after putting in the meatballs, and even then there was a small amount of scorching on the bottom of the pot. I may increase the liquid next time.

    1. Hi Alan! Thank you for your detailed feedback. I am so glad you tried this recipe. I agree that homemade meatballs would be SO much better. Also if you enjoyed this sauce do try the butter chicken recipe, it uses the same exact sauce. I am not sure if the altitude would make difference with water, but do add few extra tablespoons of water next time!

  8. This was the first of your recipes I’ve tried – amazing! What a great sauce, I just wish I had doubled it! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  9. Hi Archana, I have tried couple of your recipes and they turned out very well. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Have a question, how do you separate coconut milk solids/cream and water? Thanks.

    1. Keep the coconut milk can in the fridge for a few hours. Cream will come to the top. When you open carefully take the cream out and reserve.

  10. Hi Archana, I do not plan on using 2 ingredients… Onion and Tomato paste. What should I substitute it with ?

  11. hi!!! I made this tonight and looooooooved it. thank you so much for the recipe! the only issue I had was the pan scortching before putting in the coconut cream part. any suggestions?

    1. Hi Lita, You can add extra 1/4 cup of liquids next time. Or make sure that all the liquids are not evaporating before you close the Instant Pot for the pressure cooking cycle. You can also press cancel if you need time to mix everything before closing the lid for pressure cooking.

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