Cambodian Cheese Koftas Recipe with Garam Masala and Light Cream

Cheese Koftas

Cambodian Cheese Koftas Recipe with Garam Masala and Light Cream
Region / culture: Cambodia | Preparation time: 45 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Cheese Koftas
Cheese Koftas

Cheese koftas are a delicious and indulgent Indian dish that consists of deep-fried cheese balls filled with a flavorful mixture of coriander, sultanas, almonds, and chillies. These koftas are then simmered in a rich and creamy sauce that is bursting with aromatic spices. This dish is perfect for special occasions or when you want to treat yourself to something truly decadent.


The exact origins of cheese koftas are unclear, but koftas in general are believed to have originated in the Middle East and were brought to India by the Mughals. Koftas are typically made with meat, but this vegetarian version with cheese has become a popular alternative for those looking for a meat-free option.


How to prepare

  1. Prepare the panir (reserving whey) and let it drain for 30 minutes.
  2. Press between two plates to remove any excess moisture, then untie the muslin.
  3. Break curds into pieces and knead vigorously until smooth and the palm of the hand feels greasy.
  4. Divide into 8 equal portions and roll each into a smooth ball.
  5. Combine coriander, sultanas, almonds, and chillies, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Make a depression in each ball and fill with some of the coriander mixture, then mold the ball around the filling again, creating a smooth surface without cracks.
  7. Heat about 2 cups of oil with 2 tbsp of ghee to flavor it and carefully place the cheese koftas in the hot oil, frying them over medium heat until golden brown on all sides.
  8. Lift out the koftas using a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels.
  9. Sauce: To make the sauce, melt ghee in a heavy pan with a tablespoon of the frying oil and cook garlic and onion until soft and translucent.
  10. Add tomato paste, salt, sugar, and ginger, and stir in 5.5 cups of whey. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  11. Stir in cream, add the koftas, and simmer in the sauce for 10 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle with garam masala and coriander just before serving.


  • For a healthier version, you can bake the koftas instead of frying them.
  • You can also experiment with different fillings for the koftas, such as raisins, cashews, or even minced vegetables.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to drain the panir well and press out any excess moisture before shaping the koftas. This will help them hold their shape better during frying.

- Be careful when frying the koftas, as they can be delicate. Use a slotted spoon to carefully turn them in the hot oil to ensure they cook evenly on all sides.

- The sauce for the koftas should be rich and creamy, so be sure to simmer it gently to allow the flavors to meld together.

Serving Suggestions

Cheese koftas are best served hot with steamed rice or naan bread. They can also be enjoyed with a side of raita or a fresh salad.

Cooking Techniques

The key cooking techniques for cheese koftas include shaping the cheese mixture into balls, frying them until golden brown, and simmering them in a rich and creamy sauce.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you don't have panir, you can use firm tofu as a substitute. You can also use raisins or dried cranberries instead of sultanas, and cashews or pistachios instead of almonds.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the cheese koftas ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to fry them. The sauce can also be made in advance and reheated before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the cheese koftas in a shallow bowl with the sauce poured over the top. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and a sprinkle of garam masala for a beautiful presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Cheese koftas pair well with a refreshing cucumber raita or a tangy mango chutney. They also go well with a side of saffron rice or garlic naan.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover cheese koftas can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place them in a preheated oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of cheese koftas contains approximately 300 calories.


Each serving of cheese koftas contains approximately 15g of carbohydrates.


Each serving of cheese koftas contains approximately 20g of fats.


Each serving of cheese koftas contains approximately 10g of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Cheese koftas are a good source of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.


Cheese koftas contain dairy (cheese) and nuts (almonds), so they may not be suitable for those with dairy or nut allergies.


Cheese koftas are a rich and indulgent dish that is high in fats and calories, but they also provide a good amount of protein and essential vitamins and minerals.


Cheese koftas are a decadent and flavorful Indian dish that is perfect for special occasions or when you want to treat yourself to something indulgent. With a rich and creamy sauce and a filling of cheese, coriander, sultanas, and almonds, these koftas are sure to impress your guests and leave them wanting more.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the thrill of stumbling upon this recipe for the first time. It was a warm summer day, and I was walking through the bustling streets of Istanbul, taking in the sights and sounds of the vibrant city. As I wandered through the winding alleyways, my senses were overwhelmed by the tantalizing aromas that wafted from the open-air markets and bustling cafes.

I found myself drawn towards a small, unassuming food stall tucked away in a quiet corner. The air was filled with the rich, savory scent of sizzling spices and melting cheese. Intrigued, I approached the stall and struck up a conversation with the friendly elderly woman who was busy preparing a batch of golden-brown koftas.

She smiled warmly as she noticed my curiosity and invited me to watch as she expertly mixed together a medley of ingredients – minced meat, fragrant herbs, and tangy cheese – to form into small, round patties. I watched with rapt attention as she deftly shaped the koftas and fried them to a perfect crispness, then served them with a dollop of cool, creamy yogurt and a drizzle of spicy tomato sauce.

In that moment, I knew that I had stumbled upon something truly special. The combination of flavors and textures was unlike anything I had ever tasted before, and I was determined to learn the secret behind this delectable dish. I asked the elderly woman if she would be willing to share her recipe with me, and to my delight, she agreed.

Over the next few days, I spent hours in her tiny kitchen, carefully observing her every move as she guided me through the intricacies of making cheese koftas. She shared with me the importance of using fresh, high-quality ingredients, the art of balancing flavors and spices, and the importance of patience and attention to detail in the cooking process.

As we worked together, I learned not only how to make cheese koftas but also about the rich culinary traditions and cultural heritage of Turkey. The elderly woman regaled me with stories of her family's recipes, passed down through generations, and the significance of food in bringing people together and creating lasting memories.

After several days of practice and experimentation, I finally mastered the art of making cheese koftas. The tender, juicy patties were infused with the warm, earthy flavors of cumin, coriander, and paprika, and the gooey cheese melted seductively with each bite. I shared my creation with friends and family, who were equally enchanted by the exotic flavors and comforting familiarity of the dish.

Since that fateful day in Istanbul, cheese koftas have become a staple in my own kitchen. I have added my own personal touches and variations to the recipe, experimenting with different cheeses, herbs, and spices to create a dish that is uniquely my own. Every time I make cheese koftas, I am transported back to that bustling street corner in Istanbul, where I first discovered the magic of this humble yet extraordinary dish.

As I sit here now, penning down this story for future generations, I am filled with gratitude for the kind elderly woman who shared her recipe with me and opened my eyes to the beauty and complexity of Turkish cuisine. I hope that my own grandchildren will one day inherit the tradition of making cheese koftas and continue to pass down the legacy of this beloved recipe for generations to come.


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