Malai Kofta vs Palak Paneer: Which is better?

There is no denying that paneer is one of the most popular items in Indian vegetarian dishes and is widely eaten in other countries as well. Adding it to the simplest curries and recipes can work wonders, improving the flavor and texture even more. 

It is the chewy texture and milky flavor of paneer that distinguishes it as the “king of Indian cuisine”. If you are a paneer lover, you might have experienced the dilemma of choosing between malai kofta and palak paneer at least once in your life. 

It’s hard to resist malai kofta’s creaminess, but at the same time, palak paneer’s traditional authenticity is something one should never miss out on. 

Let us dive into this battle of malai kofta vs palak paneer: which is better so that you can satisfy your taste buds without any regrets! 

Malai Kofta

If you avoid spicy food and love a slightly sweeter taste in your dishes, then malai kofta should be your go-to option. It is mostly eaten with rice, tandoori roti or normal chapati. 

Malai kofta is a blend of mild spices, dry fruits and some milky gravy that enhances its creamy texture. 

This dish allows you to enjoy the taste of two of the yummiest additives at the same time. Fried balls made of boiled potatoes and paneer are added to the rich gravy instead of simply diced paneer cubes. 

You might even be shocked to know that despite being a rich and creamy dish, malai kofta is one of the perfect dishes for diet control and weight loss. 

According to its nutritional value, the dish holds just 28.7g of carbs and 7.7grams of protein per serving, which is perfectly healthy for people trying to lose weight or fight obesity. 

To get the full malai kofta recipe, click here.

Palak Paneer 

Palak paneer is a delicious and iron-rich vegetable dish loved all over India and is one of the most popular dishes in the southwestern region. Owing to its high nutritional value and delectable taste, it is enjoyed by people across all age groups.  

It is one of those rare meals that are both delicious and nutritious at the same time and could be the best dining option for you if you have kids at home. 

Click here to find out how palak paneer vs saag paneer turns out. 

This dish is mostly eaten for its nutritional value as it includes more than 5 different healthy nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, protein, and so on. 

All in all, it is a complete source of dietary fiber and completes a balanced diet when served with naan, chapati, or rice. 

 To get the full palak paneer recipe, check out this page

Differences between the two

When thinking about the question, malai kofta vs palak paneer which is better, it is crucial to keep the taste in mind. When it comes to the taste, both malai kofta vs palak paneer is totally opposite. That also opens up the fact that the ingredients used in both the dishes are also very different except for the spices and paneer. 

Preparation Time

Sometimes one has to pick the dish according to the amount of cooking time they have. For example, Malai kofta can be prepared in around 1-1.5hrs at home with proper ingredients and utensils, whereas palak paneer can be prepared within 45-60 minutes. 

Key Ingredients

To make it easier for you to differentiate between the two, we have created a shortlist of key ingredients that are added in these dishes.

Malai Kofta

  • Fresh cream
  • Cashews
  • Cloves
  • Green cardamoms
  • Onion paste
  • Cinnamon

Palak Paneer

  • Spinach leaves 
  • Homemade paneer
  • Garlic
  • Cumin seeds
  • Chili powder
  • Bay leaf
  • Green chili 

History of these dishes

It’s always intriguing to learn more about the origins of the dishes we like eating. Find out more about the history of malai kofta and palak paneer by reading on.

Malai Kofta

Interestingly enough, kofta is not from India. These soft balls made of potato and paneer named kofta are also known as “Kefteded” or “Kefta” and are a Turkish or Persian delicacy. 

Malai kofta is a recent innovation that surfaced around 10-15 years back in this “Kofta” history, about 600 years old. In this dish, the creaminess of potato and paneer are combined together and served with creamy gravy. And this is how a vegetarian substitute malai kofta was invented.  

Palak Paneer

During ancient times, a thick gravy known as “Saag” in India was traditionally made by combining all green leafy vegetables in a large pot and simmering them for hours. In later years, this approach was subdivided into a number of other meals. 

Is saag paneer keto? Find out the answer here. 

Palak (spinach) was readily accessible in the market at that time. As a result, people began to make saag by combining palak solely with onions and tomato gravy, and it was only from this point that palak paneer was born. Later on, people began experimenting with saag using chicken as well as lamb.

Similarities between malai kofta and palak paneer 

Now that we know how these two mouth-watering dishes differ, it’s time to point out the similarities. 

  • Because both recipes include paneer, they are considered high-protein meals in Indian cuisine. 
  • Both need just a short amount of preparation time and are simple to prepare at home. 
  • Ideally, both malai kofta and palak paneer should be served with naan, chapati, or rice. 
  • It is not difficult to prepare the recipes for these foods if you follow the directions and use the correct components. 
  • Both of these recipes are suitable for weight reduction programs due to the fact that they both include a low quantity of carbohydrates.

Some tips to keep in mind while preparing these dishes 

Malai KoftaPalak paneer
Overcooking the potatoes may lead to soft/mushy koftas. To ensure that the koftas are crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, cook the potatoes until they are just done.If the taste is a priority to you, then use unblanched spinach. Whereas, blanched palak is good if you have been on a low oxalate diet. 
Cornflour is a crucial ingredient if you want your koftas to be firm and tasty. Therefore, do not forget to season them with cornflour. Use as little garam masala and chili powder as possible as it may alter the color of the dish while also slightly darkening it. 
If you do not want to add too much cream to your dish due to dietary concerns, you can use cashews as a substitute. You can use cashews as a substitute for butter and cream if you want a thick gravy. 
In order to have a smooth gravy, blend the puréed onion and tomato mixture before adding it to the saucepan. Instead of using frozen store-bought paneer, soak it in lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes so that it becomes soft. 

In which Indian states are malai kofta and palak paneer famous?

Both Malai kofta and Palak Paneer are famous in the state of Punjab, which is located in Northern India. 

What is the difference between kebab and kofta?

To someone unfamiliar with cultures, the difference between kebab and kofta might sound confusing. Kebab is usually sold as street food or is offered by authentic restaurants. 

It is often served with rumali roti, chopped vegetables, chopped onions, and raita. Kebab is typically grilled on tawas or barbecued, while kofta is typically made by hand and is also made at home by deep frying in oil. 

Bonus: Here are some exclusive tips on marinating paneer for bbq.

What is the original term for kofta?

Initially, the term kofta referred to meatballs. It is fairly common in India to have koftas in their vegetarian form. 

Different items like paneer and potato and vegetables such as bottle gourd, mixed vegetables, and raw banana are used to make these and are added to different types of curries to form a dish.

What are the other substitutes for palak in palak paneer?

Besides spinach leaves, Amaranth leaves (aka mulai keerai), or mustard plant leaves (aka sarson ka Saag), can be used to make the thick saag gravy. 

Which dish is better?

Now that we have come to the end of this post, we talked about both the dishes individually. 

It’s time to choose which one is better. In India, the debate on “malai kofta vs palak paneer which is better?” is never-ending. People usually choose between the two dishes depending on various factors, and they are as follows:

Lunch or dinner

In India, not all dishes are consumed during the day. For example, Palak paneer is usually eaten as a lunch meal as it contains iron which is to be digested during the day. On the other hand, Malai kofta is most commonly prepared around dinner time. 


Palak paneer is also loved in the southern states and is made with ‘mooli’ leaves instead of spinach. But if you are someone who likes creamy paneer dishes, you might like malai kofta better than palak paneer.

Nutritional statistics

Since both of these dishes contain paneer, there is no doubt that they will be high in protein. But on further inspection, palak paneer takes the edge when it comes to providing ample minerals and nutrition without adding to your daily calories. 

Since palak is a naturally occurring green, it has plenty of minerals, including potassium, magnesium, vitamins B9, B6, and E. Malai kofta, on the other hand, is a filler-type dish that is good if you have a bigger appetite. The presence of cream makes it less appealing for overweight people, but the taste is totally worth it. 

To sum up, the taste factor goes to malai kofta, whereas palak paneer pulls ahead when it comes to health benefits. 

We hope you now know all about malai kofta vs palak paneer which is better! Thanks for reading. 

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