(Air-Fried) Gobi Kofta

When someone asks me what my favorite North Indian dish is, without hesitation I would say Malai Kofta. Though the delicious combination of fried paneer and potatoes is hard to pass up, I thought I’d try my hand at a *slightly* healthier version. These kofta are made of cauliflower (gobi) and use the magic of an air-fryer to get them nice and crispy. If you don’t have an air-fryer, feel free to bake them for 25 minutes at 425 F. They won’t get as crispy as the fried version, but I think that’s a worthwhile trade off for your arteries. Added bonus: this recipe is vegan!

Kofta Ingredients:

  • 3.5 C Cauliflower florets (about 1 whole head cauliflower)
  • 1/4 C almonds (can sub cashews)
  • 2 small green chilis (remove seeds if you want to reduce spice)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1/2 C breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 C chickpea flour (can sub wheat or all-purpose)
  • 1/2 t coriander powder
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds toasted
  • 1/2 t garam masala
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1/3 C cilantro

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 C chopped tomato
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cracked cardamom pods
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t garam masala
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t Indian chili powder
  • 1/2 C coconut milk (4 oz) + 1 T for garnish
  • cilantro to garnish


  1. Combine all kofta ingredients in the food processor. Form into small balls and arrange on a tray. Refrigerate uncovered for at least one hour to reduce moisture until ready to air-fry. Dough will be soft so the longer it chills, the better. If too soft add in a little more flour or nuts.
  2. Combine tomato, onion, water, garlic, and ginger in a blender.
  3. In a pan, heat vegetable oil. Add in cumin seeds, cardamom, bay leaf, and cinnamon and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add tomato mixture. Cook for a few minutes on med/high heat until bubbling, then add in remaining spices. Allow sauce to reduce until color is bright red and oil has slightly separated on top (~18 minutes).
  5. While sauce is reducing, air-fry kofta at 425 for 8-10 minutes on each side. Depending on the size of your air-fryer, this step might need to be done in batches.
  6. Remove the bay leaf. Add in 1/2 C coconut milk and reduce heat to low. Taste and add salt if additional salt is desired. Place kofta in the sauce and toss very gently. Do not overmix so kofta maintain their shape.
  7. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a little remaining coconut milk. Serve with rice and enjoy!

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