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  • Writer's pictureAarti Kapoor

Makhani Sauce

Makhani Sauce, aartisfoodologue

Makhani sauce is a aromatic, creamy and tangy tomato-based sauce seasoned with mild spices and herbs. It is the base for most of the tomato based creamy dishes in the Indian restaurants. If you are familiar with the finger licking Paneer Makhani, Malai Koftas or Chicken Makhani/Butter Chicken served in the Indian restaurants, this is one sauce they are all based on.

The word ”makhani” comes form “makhan” which means butter. The origin of this sauce is in the northern regions of India (Punjab). Traditionally fresh butter and cream were used to cook this basic sauce. However, my recipe is not very rich and a healthier version. I have also given instructions to make this into a vegan makhani sauce.

I have used this recipe for many years now at events and family gatherings and always received great feedback. I usually make a batch of this sauce and store it in the fridge to whip up something delicious within minutes. You will absolutely love the flavors of this sauce, I promise!

Enjoy cooking and eating!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 5-6 people

Makhani Sauce, aartisfoodologue


2 tbsp of Ghee or Oil (omit ghee if you want to make a vegan version)

2 Black cardamom

1 1-inch stick of Cinnamon

1 Bay leaf

2 tsp Ginger chopped

1 tsp Garlic chopped

1 medium sized red onion chopped

2 Tomatoes – chopped fine or use a can of high quality tomato pulp

1 tsp Kashmiri red Chili powder

1 tsp Garam Masala

Cashew nut – 10, soak in warm milk for 15 minutes (or water if making the vegan version)

Cream (Mat fløte) – 2 tbsp (omit for vegan version)

Honey – 1 tbsp (optional for vegans, you can use 1 tsp of brown sugar)

Kasoori methi – 2 tsp

Lemon juice – 2 tsp

Salt to taste

Makhani Sauce, aartisfoodologue


Heat oil or ghee in a heavy bottom pan and add the black cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Let the flavors infuse for a few seconds and add the chopped onions. Add a tsp of salt while the onions are cooking to help the cooking process.

Once the onions start to brown on the edges, add the ginger-garlic. Saute for a minute and add the chopped tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for about 8-10 minutes until the tomato-onion mixture is well blended and pulpy. You will see oil separate and move to the sides of the mixture.

Now add a splash of water to ensure that the spices do not burn and add Kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala and salt to taste. Keep the mixture aside and let it cool.

Once cool, remove the whole spices. Now add the mixture into a blender along with the cashews soaked in milk or water. Pour the blended mixture back into the pan and sauté for a min. Add water according to the consistency you desire.

Crush the kasoori methi leaves between the plams of your hands and add to the sauce.

You can use this sauce as a base for any meat, chicken or vegetarian dish like paneer or mushrooms. When serving, finish the sauce up by adding lemon juice and honey.

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