Vegan Makhani Curry Sauce

by | Feb 27, 2019 | 13 comments

Today might be the day, your butter-chicken loving prayers might be answered! In a lighter, more delicious, completely vegan and absolutely homemade fashion. For all those of you who have been gently nudging me via email to share my Vegan Makhani Sauce recipe, thank you! I needed the nudge because this recipe is just too good not to share.Vegan Makhani Curry Sauce - Cook Republic #vegan #healthyrecipe #foodphotography #glutenfreeVegan Makhani Curry Sauce - Cook Republic #vegan #healthyrecipe #foodphotography #glutenfree

So what is makhani, you ask? Makhani is derived from the Hindi word makkhan which means butter. Makhani means something that has butter. And that is the entire premise of every Makhani dish hailing from the North Indian region of Punjab. Chicken Makhani (or as the Western world knows it - Butter Chicken), Paneer Makhani and Dal Makhani. All these famous dishes are built on a rich and slightly sweet tomato and cream curry spiked with lots of butter. But my version today has none of that butter or cream.

I love good makhani curry. What I don't like is the flat sweetness of the curry often found in many Indian restaurants and take away places. The addition of too much cream and too much butter along with artificial colour takes away from a curry sauce that could be gloriously complex in its flavours. And if you use the right spices and let them simmer into submission, the natural amber and rust hues just cannot be beaten.

Vegan Makhani Curry Sauce - Cook Republic #vegan #healthyrecipe #foodphotography #glutenfree Vegan Makhani Curry Sauce - Cook Republic #vegan #healthyrecipe #foodphotography #glutenfreeI usually never proclaim my recipes to be spectacular. I mean, they are delicious and we love them and we love that so many of you love them too. But I never make grand statements about them. Although I might make an exception today. Because this Vegan Makhani Sauce is so darned good and it is guaranteed to make your home smell like a fancy Indian restaurant and you will absolutely be licking your fingers so that you don't waste a single drop, I shall say this - This is Better-Than-Restaurant-Makhani-Sauce. Because it is also super light and super easy to make!

The dried fenugreek leaves or kasoori methi are truly what makes this curry sauce taste very traditional and authentic. Try and find it if you can. It is available at most Indian grocers or specialty online spice markets and grocers. It has so many health benefits including reducing cholesterol and inflammation, protecting kidney health, controlling appetite, promoting healthy hair growth and being an excellent source of fiber and protein thereby assisting in digestion and gut health by flushing out toxins in the body.

Vegan Makhani Curry Sauce - Cook Republic #vegan #healthyrecipe #foodphotography #glutenfreeVegan Makhani Curry Sauce - Cook Republic #vegan #healthyrecipe #foodphotography #glutenfree

Now the recipe below makes about 250ml (1 cup) which with the addition of some protein and vegetables would be the equivalent of a standard Indian takeaway curry container to feed 3-4 as a main dish along with rice or naan. I have in the past I have just doubled the recipe to get a larger quantity to feed 6-8 as a main dish (which is of course part of a larger feast). To give you an exact example, last night I made the sauce quantity below and roasted 2 small carrots, 1 large red onion, and 1 cup cauliflower florets to add to the sauce. We (four of us) then ate the Roast Veggie Makhani Curry with some rotis and a dal I had made on the side.

Vegan Makhani Curry Sauce - Cook Republic #vegan #healthyrecipe #foodphotography #glutenfreeVegan Makhani Curry Sauce - Cook Republic #vegan #healthyrecipe #foodphotography #glutenfree

You can basically grill and add any protein you like to this really delicious and versatile sauce. If you make this, please let me know how you went by leaving a comment and rating below. Show me your Makhani Curry pictures on Instagram by tagging me @cookrepublic #cookrepublic. Thanks!

 

Vegan Makhani Curry Sauce - Cook Republic #vegan #healthyrecipe #foodphotography #glutenfree

VEGAN MAKHANI CURRY SAUCE

5 from 4 votes
Print Recipe Rate / Comment
Author: Sneh
Course // Curry, Pantry
Cuisine // Gluten Free, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 300 ml

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 long green chilli, green cayenne pepper, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kasoori methi*, dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) tomato passata
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 2 tablespoons rapadura sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) coconut milk

Instructions

  • Place oil in a heavy bottomed small saucepan on medium heat.
  • Add bay leaves and green chilli. Sauté for a few seconds. Reduce heat to low and add kasoori methi and ginger garlic paste. Sauté for another few seconds until fragrant and starting to turn golden.
  • Add tomato passata, garam masala, cardamom, paprika, salt and rapadura sugar.
  • Cook for 8-10 minutes until the sauce has turned a shade darker and oil starts pooling around the edges.
  • Add coconut milk. Cover and simmer on low for approximately 20 minutes until rich and fragrant. If it starts to thicken a lot, add 1/4 cup water.
  • The sauce is ready to use at this point but I like to make it smoother by cooling it, removing the bay leaves and blending it briefly in a small food processor. The sauce is ready to be mixed with pre-cooked protein or roast veggies. It can also be packed away in freezer-safe containers or zip lock bags and will keep well in the freezer for up to two months.

Notes

Sugar - Rapadura Sugar can be substituted with brown sugar or maple syrup.
Chilli - Paprika can be swapped with red chilli powder if you like your curry hotter.
Ginger & Garlic - If you don't have ginger-garlic paste on hand, substitute with 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger and 3 minced garlic cloves.
Kasoori Methi - It is the Indian name for dried fenugreek leaves. It can be found in the dried herb and spice section of Indian supermarkets. Methi or Fenugreek is bitter and has a unique taste which makes this "Makhani Sauce" authentic. If you can't find fenugreek, try substituting with a teaspoon of mustard powder or Dijon mustard.
Did you make my recipe?I'd love to hear how you went! Tag me on Instagram @cookrepublic

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SNEH

I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!

COMMENTS

13 Comments
  1. Corrie

    May I ask which type of paprika is used here? Sweet, smoked, ....? Thank you....

    Reply
    • Sneh

      Sweet paprika. x

      Reply
  2. Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes

    This sounds so delicious - I am going to make this over the weekend! Yum!

    Reply
  3. Amanda Kiely

    5 stars
    Wow what a delicious recipe!! I made the sauce and served it over roasted vegetables for me and chicken for the family along with your turmeric dahl. Both were so delicious and will be a staple.
    Thank you so much for sharing xx

    Reply
    • Sneh

      That is wonderful Amanda. Thank you for your lovely feedback. So happy you loved the sauce 🙂 x

      Reply
  4. Louise

    Excited to try this recipe this week, sounds delicious

    Reply
  5. Jett Tritton

    CURRY SAUCE is really nice recipe..

    Reply
  6. Lucy

    5 stars
    I make this sauce the day before serving and it is delicious!

    Reply
  7. Leah

    5 stars
    I make this & love it!only just thought to review & give credit where credit is deserved! I do make slight tweaks like, using Maple Syrup or omitting the olive oil. And add a bit extra of the things I love to taste more in it.
    But it is such a good base and stand alone sauce & makes ahead and freezes well!
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Sneh

      Thank you so much for your wonderful and generous feedback 🙂

      Reply
  8. Phillip D

    I've grown Methi from fenugreek seeds. Would young fresh Methi work equally well to dried, and if so would you have recommendation on amount?

    Reply
    • Sneh Roy

      That's amazing! Love fresh methi. It cooks very differently to dried methi and also has a slightly different flavour profile. I would take a handful of fresh methi leaves, place them in the microwave between two paper towels and microwave them at 30-second intervals (for up to 2 minutes) until they are crisp and dry. Use this dried methi .. it is incredible!

      Reply
  9. Caroline

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I know your recipes work every time so made a double batch to freeze and I'm really pleased I did. Only change was coconut sugar as I didn't have rapadura and reduced the qty a bit (just under 3 TB for a double batch). Served it with rice, steamed broccoli, peas and roasted cashews (too lazy to prepare tofu last night!). Taste sensation 🙂

    Reply

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