Makhani sauce is a vibrant, aromatic tomato sauce that you can use to prepare numerous lip smacking dishes. It is freezer friendly and comes in very handy on those busy days when you crave for restaurant like curries. I have been making this makhani sauce/ makhani masala recipe for several years now. And it has managed to create numerous wow moments.
Creamy rich, filled with aromatic flavors and one secret ingredient that adds floral sweetness that you will absolutely love! The sauce is so easy to make, and it can be added to various different dishes.
You can add in paneer to make Paneer Butter Masala or Chicken Tikka Masala The sauce works great even with pasta and Indian style pizza.
Ingredients you need:
Onion -Red onion is always my first choice for Indian dishes, but you can go with white or yellow onion too.
Tomatoes - I prefer to use canned tomato sauce as it adds a very vibrant shade to the masala, and it also avoids an extra step of blending the sauce.
Ginger and Garlic - Fresh ginger garlic paste adds a better flavor as compared to the store bought bottled ginger garlic paste.
Whole spices like bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, clove, black pepper, cardamom and star anise are added. Cinnamon Stick and Cardamom is not optional as it adds the floral flavor note.
Dried Fenugreek Leaves which is kasuri methi in Hindi is one of the key dried herbs that are added to any rich curries for the flavor and taste.
Cinnamon powder is my key secret ingredient. It adds a mild sweetness to the sauce that you will not get from adding just the cinnamon stick.
Apart from these spices, the regular turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and fennel powder is added.
For color, add Kashmiri chili powder.
I not add fresh green chili or spicy chili powder as I like to keep the taste neutral and kid friendly too.
Steps to prepare the Makhani Sauce
- In a heavy bottom pan, pour the oil and then all the whole spices along with the dried fenugreek leaves. Stir it around for a few seconds to release the aroma.
- Add grated ginger and garlic. I don't add green chili, as I like to keep it neutral and kid friendly. But if you prefer spicier food, add finely chopped fresh green chili as this step.
3. Add finely chopped onion and season with salt. Stir it around for a while to soften the onion.
4. Scatter the ground spices and sauté the onion for a few minutes for the spices to cook.
5. You want to cook the onion with the spices until you see oil is released from the side. Keep stirring, so it doesn't get burnt at the bottom of the pan.
6. Add canned tomato purée and then fill the can with water and pour that too.
7. Add cinnamon powder and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes for the flavor to infuse and the sauce to thicken.
8. Finally, add butter and stir it around.
Once cooled completely, you can store the Makhani Sauce in a clean air tight jar in the fridge for 4 days or freeze and store for 3 months.
If you really enjoy those restaurants like tomato-based curries, this fragrant makhani sauce will do the trick.
What is Kasoori Methi ? (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)
If you are not familiar with Indian cooking, you might wonder about the spice Kasoori Methi. It’s dried fenugreek leaves, and that is the key to the sauce.
This dry herb brings out the flavor of the sauce uniquely that you cannot capture it using fresh fenugreek leaves or fenugreek seeds.
I cannot suggest any substitute for this herb. You can go without this herb and still make the sauce, but the overall taste and flavor will not be the same. However, it will still be tasty.
This Makhani Masala is a keeper, my friend. Make a big batch, store in an airtight jar or zip lock pouch, and it will last for 3 months in the freezer.
Yes, you can skip garlic and onion. You can make it with just tomato purée and the spices.
You should store the sauce in an air tight clean dry jar. It will stay good for about 5 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.
You can use this sauce to make Indian spiced Pizza or Pasta. You can also strain the sauce and use it as a dip for garlic bread.
How To Make Makhni Sauce
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 Red Onion Finely chopped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 green cardamoms
- 1 star anise
- Few cloves
- Few peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon Grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon Grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 2 cups tomato puree
- 2½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon Coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon Fennel Powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Place a heavy bottom big pan on medium heat. Drizzle the oil and drop the whole spices. Let it sizzle and then, drop the garlic and ginger. Stir for a minute. Add the dried fenugreek leaves, and stir for a few seconds.
- Add the chopped onion, season with salt and cook for a few seconds.
- Add the ground spices and cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour the tomato puree, water, sugar and cinnamon powder. Stir and bring it to a boil. Then, lower the heat, cover the pan and let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce reduces and turns into a thicker consistency.
- Finish the sauce by adding the butter.
- Take the sauce off the pan and once it’s cooled down to room temperature, you can store it either in a glass airtight jar or a zip lock pouch.
Spices make this tomato sauce!