Paneer and Cauliflower Makhani

May 15, 2018

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

Food52 Review: Featured in: Cauliflower Dances with Paneer in This Spicy, Creamy Makhani CurryThe Editors

Serves: 6 to 8
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hrs 30 min


  • 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
In This Recipe


  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.

More Great Recipes:
Sauce|Flatbread|Indian|Cilantro|Honey|Cheese|Milk/Cream|Cauliflower|Serves a Crowd|Entertaining|Vegetarian|Dinner

Reviews (3) Questions (0)

3 Reviews

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.<br />
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!