Indian Falafel – Squash Kofta

May 9, 2011

When you see Kofta on an Indian restaurant menu, it is usually for Malai Kofta. Malai Kofta is a decadent affair – a deep fried cheese dumpling in a creamy tomato sauce.   I wanted something healthier and fresher.  I also wanted to use up a bottle gourd squash in my fridge.

Then last Sunday, I started to write this post about our menu for the week.  I’m hoping to make our menu a regular post (but am taking a break after the first week – how’s that for regular?! Whatever, it was Mother’s Day.).  Anyways, the post made me angst because I realized I didn’t know what we were eating all week, and I had a bottle gourd about to go bad.

So that’s how I found myself making Squash Kofta at 10 o’clock at night on a Sunday.  I know no one believes me when I say this, but IT’S SO EASY.  And everyone always believes me when I say this, but IT’S SO GOOD. I adapted this recipe from India: The Cookbook.  I haven’t cooked enough or read enough from the cookbook to give it a review, but I loved this recipe.



Indian Falafel – Squash Kofta

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 12 koftas

I adapted this recipe from India: The Cookbook. The original recipe called for the squash to be shredded. My shredder was out of commission so I finely diced the squash. It gave it great texture. I wrapped the Squash Koftas in flatbread stuffed with rice, yogurt, coriander chutney and a salsa of cucumbers, tomatoes and green chillies.


  • 1 bottle gourd, shredded or finely diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons gram (chickpea) flour
  • 1-inch piece ginger, finely diced
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped
  • 1/2 fistful cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • Yogurt Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • Water
  • 1 teaspoon Za’tar Spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sumac


  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the squash, gram flour, ginger, chillies and cilantro. Add salt to taste (I used about a teaspoon). Mix well.
  2. Roll into walnut sized balls.
  3. Heat enough oil on medium heat in a deep frying pan to shallow fry the koftas.
  4. Add the koftas to the oil in batches and fry until golden (I rolled them while cooking so they browned somewhat evenly).
  5. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate with a paper towel.
  6. To make the yogurt dressing, whisk the yogurt with a fork and then add a little water to create a thin ranch dressing like consistency. Sprinkle in za’tar and sumac and mix well.
  7. Assemble the kofta wraps by spreading rice, then cucumber/tomato/chili salsa then koftas topped generously with yogurt and then coriander chutney.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

aparna May 9, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Using the koftas in a wrap is a nice idea, Nithya! I normally bung them in a regular gravy – onion-tomato-chilli-ginger-garlic sauteed and ground, but this seems easier and lighter.


nithya May 22, 2011 at 5:04 pm

@Aparna – That sounds great. I’m going to make them again but with cauliflower and will try out your sauce.


Pavani May 10, 2011 at 7:35 am

Koftas look yummy and loved the idea of wrapping them in flatbread. I just got this cookbook from the library and I was overwhelmed by the number of recipes it has. I hope to make at least a few before I have to return the book.


KateLynn May 10, 2011 at 10:43 am

Can you substitute zucchini if you can’t find a bottle gourd? Also, the malai kofta at our local restaurant is chick pea balls in a cream sauce with raisins and cashews. Fabulous but yes, very decadent. Looking forward to trying this one!


nithya May 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm

@KateLynn – yes definitely try it with zucchini!


LovingFood May 13, 2011 at 10:15 am

This looks lovely! I also wondered if you could sub for courgettes?


nithya May 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

@LovingFood – I think you can definitely substitute courgettes (zucchini) for this squash. I’m going to try it with cauliflower tonight.


Jerry May 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

WOW this looks delicious. I think I’m going to have to try out this recipe. Thanks Nithya for sharing!

Check out the latest on my blog:


Shelly June 9, 2011 at 11:47 am

Hey Nithya – I LOVE ghiya/dudhi and use it in a million dishes – thanks for another suggestion! Only problem is that it’s hard to find anywhere but the indian store 🙁


nithya June 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Hey Shelly, I agree but I think zucchini would work well with this recipe. I also did try it with cauliflower (grated it in the food processor) and ended up tossing it into a manchurian style sauce. It was delicious and super easy.


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