This recipe is the Mother of all Makhani curry! It is a beautiful, silky smooth, aromatic tomato and onion-based sauce that you can use for many dishes. This base sauce is freezer friendly and can be very handy on days you want to make a rich curry, with little effort. The most common way is to make a Vegetable Makhni – you can use a mix of vegetables, or just a couple as I have used here.
While I am not a big fan of the food at most North Indian restaurants, I love creating homemade versions that can be easily enjoyed with far healthier ingredients. As an added benefit, most restaurants make dishes out of frozen gravy bases – so we can do the same albeit for a shorter time, using homemade methods and cleaner ingredients.
I call this a makhani sauce because of how creamy it is. There is no actual cream used in this recipe, though it does use other rich ingredients – butter, cashews, or almonds if you prefer. I also tried a few versions without onions before sharing this one and certainly feel onions add sweetness and flavor that makes this absolutely delectable.
What is the Makhani curry made of?
In this sauce, we use whole spices, nuts, onions, and tomatoes and end it with a dash of spices.
- Butter and cashews – for richness, creaminess
- Onions – for sweetness and flavour
- Tomatoes – for bulk, colour, tang, and of course taste!
- Kashmiri Chillies – for a beautiful red colour
- Whole spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and aromatics like ginger, garlic
- Kasoori methi – the most important addition to this gravy.
- A few basic dry spices – red chili, coriander, turmeric and a dash of garam masala
What vegetable can be used in this makhani curry?
Any fresh vegetable can be used. You can use mixed vegetables, mushrooms, paneer, potatoes or my favorite – cauliflower and peas or capsicum in this base sauce. The vegetables must be pre-cooked before adding to the sauce. So, if you are using vegetables – steam them/microwave them or if you are using paneer/mushroom – saute them before adding. We do not cook the vegetable for a long time in the sauce, so it is necessary to add them precooked.
Vegetable Makhani Curry | Easy Restaurant style recipe
For Makhani base sauce
- 2 tsp butter read notes for vegan version
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 3 cardamom pods
- 3 cloves
- 1 medium onion roughly chopped about ¾ cup of large chunks
- 1 tsp ginger chopped
- 1 tsp garlic chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes about 1 cup of large chunks
- 12 cashews or use blanched almonds
- 5 kashmiri chillies
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tbsp whisked curd read notes for vegan version
For making Makhani Curry – using cauliflowers
- 2 tsp butter use 1 tsp for sauteeing vegs and 1 tsp for sauteeing masalas
- 1 cup chopped cauliflower pre cooked – i microwaved it for 4 minutes.
- ½ cup chopped capsicum or use peas
- 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp kasoori methi
- ½ tsp garam masala
For making base sauce
- In a 2L pressure cooker – add the butter followed by whole spices. Saute for 30 seconds and then add the onions, cashews, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, chillies. Saute briefly and then add the water. Close the cooker and cook for 2 whistles.
- Let pressure settle and grind the whole mixture to a smooth paste.
- Sieve this paste and set aside. Add the whisked curd into this sauce.
- Steam/microwave cauliflower until fork tender. To a pan, add 1 tsp butter and saute the cauliflower ( and capsicum, if using) until it forms mild brown layer. Add a little salt and set aside.
Making Makhani Curry
- To a pan, add 1 tsp butter. Reduce the flame and add spice powders – red chilli, turmeric, corainder powder. Saute it on a low flame, without burning.
- Add the sieved makhani sauce to this slurry and mix well. Adjust salt as required.
- Add the cooked vegetables and let it simmer in the sauce.
- Add kasoori methi and garam masala. Turn off flame. Garnish with coriander leaves.
- For a vegan version – substitute the butter with oil and add 1/2 tsp amchoor powder along with the dry powder spices in butter instead of the curd. It adds a tang to the gravy. Alternatively, you can add 1 tbsp ketchup to the base.
- For a nut free version – substitute cashews with melon seeds.
- The tomatoes I used were quite tangy so I skipped the curd in my version.
- If using frozen peas, add it to the gravy after adding cauliflowers.
Storing and freezing the Makhani curry
To freeze the gravy, prepare the base gravy as given above until the sieving step. Let it cool completely. Freeze in portions and use as required. To thaw the curry, you can leave it on the kitchen counter for 20 minutes or use a microwave. Be sure not to refreeze once a portion is thawed. The measurement above makes enough for only one portion ( serving 4 adults for one meal), so you can make a large batch and store.
- Do not add curd if you are freezing. Alternatively you can add after the gravy is thawed or use amchoor for tanginess.
- Ensure you add less salt before freezing. You can always add more salt when the curry is cooking.
- When frozen in right conditions, it can stay well for weeks.
Using an Instant pot to make the base gravy
if using an IP, it is important to saute the spices, onions and tomatoes before pressure cooking it. In the saute mode, ensure all the spices, onions, tomatoes are well combined and mushy before adding water and pressure cooking for 4 minutes. Let the pressure settle and then open, blend and proceed.
I have tried both IP and pressure cooker and found the IP not only takes longer but also requires more work in sauteeting as compared to a pressure cooker. However, the end result is as tasty!
You will also like these..
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help me learn more about your preferences and will help other readers.
Love this post? Here are some links if you would like to share it with your friends: