Serves a Crowd

Paneer and Cauliflower Makhani

May 15, 2018
6 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

From Chef Floyd Cardoz of New York's Bombay Bread Bar: "The curry itself is very traditional. This makhani was a way to use a very seasonal ingredient with paneer. And my spin is using cauliflower, almost imitating a cauliflower Mornay," referring to the classic French sauce that takes a creamy béchamel base and turns it up a notch with the addition of cheese. In this case, that "cheese" is paneer, and the dairy components are the cream and butter. The Serrano chili, ginger, and cilantro keep the curry from feeling too heavy. —Food52

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: Cauliflower Dances with Paneer in This Spicy, Creamy Makhani Curry —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 quarts fresh tomatoes
  • 1 serrano chilli
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (he uses Kashmiri chilies)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 cups water, plus more according to preference
  • 1 dash salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 piece 2-inch ginger knob, cut in 1/2-inch long julienne strips
  • 1/4 cup toasted fenugreek leaves, crushed
  • 4 cups roasted cauliflower florets
  • 3 cups soft paneer, cut into cubes
  • 2 handfuls cilantro, to stir in and for garnish
  • 8 servings steamed long grain basmati rice
  • 8 servings Indian flatbread like naan
  1. In a large blender, puree tomatoes, garlic, and chili. If your blender won't accommodate all the tomatoes at once, work in batches.
  2. Add the ground spices and honey to the pureed tomato, garlic, and chili mixture.
  3. Place a large pot on moderate heat. Add the puree, along with the water, and bring up to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hour.
  4. After an hour, strain the mixture into a pot. Season and add the heavy cream, butter, julienned ginger, and crushed fenugreek. (This sauce can be prepped a couple of days in advance. At this point, store in the refrigerator until ready, or proceed to next steps for serving).
  5. For serving: Add the cauliflower to sauce and bring the sauce up to a boil. Lower the heat, add the paneer and continue to cook for a few minutes. Stir in the cilantro (and garnish on top), and serve with Indian flatbread and/or long grain basmati rice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • scoutsma
  • Stephanie B.
    Stephanie B.
  • Pascal Menezes
    Pascal Menezes
  • Hana Asbrink
    Hana Asbrink

7 Reviews

brushjl December 6, 2021
This was delicious, bit wow, a ton of tomatoes. It came out a bit watery even after straining the tomato mix. But the taste was excellent. We served it with grilled garlic naan. I didn't mind the ton of butter or ho ey one little bit. Used my home-made lime relish too!
catydid December 2, 2020
Wow - this is amazing. However, some significant changes. 2 sticks of butter? Nope. Used 3/4 of a stick. 1.5 cups heavy cream? Nope. 3/4 cup. Also used 1/2 a paneer cubed and 1 package of pressed and cubed tofu which also was coated with a little oil and Garam masala and then roasted w cauliflower. No honey, please. And I am not sure what 3 quarts of tomatoes is. I used several old tomatoes from the fridge and a 28 oz can, whizzed them as described with garlic, then let them cook with spices for a very long time. Forgot about them, so they really cooked down. This was super delicious and not to hard to make as long as started the process early.
scoutsma June 1, 2020
This recipe is absolutely delicious! The flavors are outstanding. A new favorite in our household. I made sure to use super fresh spices and the only small adjustment I made was to decrease the amount of butter slightly. The recipe made a very large batch which we'll happily enjoy a second night.
Stephanie B. December 5, 2019
I love this recipe - I don't have a lot of repeat recipes but this is one of them. I have no problems with the honey here; you can easily add it to taste (which is what I do) or omit it entirely. Personally I like the lightly sweet and spicy flavors going on here, I suggest giving it a try. This is easy to whip up on a weeknight and let simmer, and make a big batch to get through a few days too.
Lost_in_NYC May 18, 2018
Adding honey to this recipe is odd and its too much. Makhani dishes are meant to be hearty and spicy. Not sweet. Omit!
Pascal M. May 17, 2018
Can you replace honey with natural sweetener or avoid the sweetener completely? This recipe could be used by people living the Low Carb High Fat diet.
Hana A. May 22, 2018
Hi Pascal - I'm sure you could, but I would recommend if you do try a natural sweetener, starting off with a smaller amount and increasing to your tastes. And if you don't care for any sweet note, omit the sweetener completely. I personally think it balances (not sweetens) some of the heat from the pepper and ginger, but it is up to your palate. Try it and lmk how it turns out!