Quick Indian curry sauce (makhani gravy)

January 2, 2017

I make this sauce when I am short on time to make the authentic one using fresh tomatoes and whole spices. This is not an authentic recipe but it works well. It can be made vegan by substituting the whipping cream with 1/4 cup of cashews that have been soaked in hot water and ground to a fine paste. I use this kind of sauce if I am making Indian style pizza, as a dipping sauce for store bought naan, as a curry sauce over paneer or steamed vegetables. I am quite certain it can be used over meats as well. This recipe makes a big batch of the sauce. I plan on using some over Indian pizza and I will save the rest to use for a curry in the coming week. You can always make less. I like to think of recipes as methods rather than fixed rules ( like in baking). You can look at the recipe and alter it as per your taste, use less of this and more of that, it will be fine. For this particular recipe, make sure that you fry the garlic till the raw aroma of garlic is gone, this is a rule. It tastes weird otherwise.



Here are the ingredients:



Grate ginger and garlic on a fine grater and set aside. Take a large sauce pan and add 3 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil heats up add the ginger garlic and fry till the raw aroma of garlic disappears. This is important.


 Add the crushed tomatoes mix well and cover with a lid. The tomatoes splatter like crazy and you will smell like walking talking makhani sauce otherwise :). Let it simmer for around ten minutes till the tomatoes get thoroughly cooked. 


 While it is simmering, take a small pan and dry roast kasoori methi. Once it is aromatic, stop roasting. Once it cools, the leaves will be crumbly. Crush between your fingers to a powder.


 Add turmeric, garam masala, red chilli powder and salt to the tomatoes and mix well.


Once it is all mixed, add the whipping cream and watch the color change. It turns to a beautiful orange. Add the crushed kasoori methi for a restaurant style aroma and flavor.


 If you are vegan, soak a quarter cup of cashews and grind to a fine paste with water or vegan milk and add the paste instead of cream.

Stir well, taste and adjust for salt and spice. Mine tasted slightly sour. This will depend on the batch of tomatoes used. I added a teaspoon of sugar to mitigate some of the sourness.

Once done, it should taste rich, creamy, tomatoey and spicy.



1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes ( 3 cups)

Heavy whipping cream 1/2 cup

Garam masala powder 1 1/2 tsp.

Kashmiri chilli powder 1 tsp. ( less if you are using regular chilli powder)

Kasoori methi 1/4 cup ( roasted and crushed)

Ginger 1 inch piece (grated)

Garlic 3 pods (grated)

Turmeric 1/2 tsp.

Sugar ( 1 tsp optional)

Salt to taste



  1. Take a sauce pan and add 3 tablespoons of oil, once it is hot add grated ginger and garlic.

  2. Let it fry till the raw aroma of garlic and ginger is gone.

  3. Add crushed tomatoes, mix well, cover and simmer for 10 minutes mixing a few times in between.

  4. Meanwhile, dry roast kasoori methi in a small pan and keep aside.

  5. Once it cools crush between fingers to a fine powder.

  6. Add garam masala, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric to the tomatoes.

  7. Add the whipping cream and let it simmer for a few minutes.

  8. Add crushed kasoori methi and mix well.

  9. Taste if, if it is too sour add a tsp of sugar and mix well, and adjust for other seasoning as well. It should taste tomatoey, creamy and spicy.

  10.  The sauce is ready.


I used this on the base of paneer tikka pizza, served some of it as a dipping sauce to go with the pizza.


I tossed the leftover sauce along with the leftover marinated onions and green peppers and grated paneer for a quick scrambled paneer curry. It goes well with roti.





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Hi There

I'm Sirisha. I cook simple vegetarian food. You will find Indian vegetarian family recipes and will be privy to my experiments. Happy cooking!

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