Mixed Vegetable Makhani

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It’s been almost a month since this blog has been left unattended and for that I apologize. Between lending my hand in the organisation of a work event, Diwali preparations and celebrations and closing the November issue of my magazine, I barely had a second to breathe. Though severely sleep deprived and exhausted, here I am, back to doing what I love most – food blogging!

Diwali is one of the best times of the year. It’s when most Indian households are illuminated with traditional diyas and lanterns signifying the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. I absolutely love Diwali – the interiors of the house lit up in warm hues by lamps, diyas, candles and lanterns, balconies and windows embellished with sparkly lighting, rangolis ( artistic designs made with colored powder) decorating the entry-way to the home, dressing up in your Desi best, family and friends gathering to celebrate and the delicious spicy and tangy savory goodies and the host of sweets everywhere!

I had a fabulous Diwali this year; I spent it with the boyfriend and we had a few friends over. The house was decorated beautifully, the refrigerator was overflowing with sweets, I cooked Chole Masala and Mixed Vegetable Makhani for dinner and I tried my hand at making Malpua (a very popular Indian sweet) – quite the perfect Diwali. 🙂

Vegetable Makhani is one of my favorite Indian dishes. In very simple terms,  it is beans, carrots, peas and cubes of paneer (cottage cheese) cooked in a creamy luscious gravy made with freshly ground cashews, yogurt, cream and whole spices. You can very well imagine just how amazingly creamy and rich that gravy is – absolutely  unparalleled in flavor and texture!

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Here’s what you need:

For the gravy:

  • Tomatoes – 2 cups, chopped
  • Onions – 1 cup, sliced
  • Cashew nuts – 1/2 cup, soaked in warm water
  • Dry Kashmiri Chillies – 4, broken into small pieces

Other Ingredients:

  • Beans – 250 g, chopped into one inch pieces
  • Peas – 150 g
  • Carrots – 2, sliced into bite size pieces
  • Paneer (Cottage cheese) – 200 g, chopped into bite size pieces and shallow fried until slightly golden
  • Butter – 3 tbsp
  • Garlic paste – 2 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 inch-long piece
  • Cloves – 3
  • Cardamom – 2 pods
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi) – 1 tbsp
  • Garam Masala – 2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Yogurt – 1/4 cup, whisked
  • Tomato Puree – 1/2 cup
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Fresh Cream – 2 tbsp

Here’s how you make it:

  • In a skillet, heat oil and fry onions and tomatoes till well cooked through. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
  • Grind onion, tomatoes, cashew nuts and kashmiri chillies with half cup of water into a paste. Keep aside.
  • In a large wok, heat butter. Add garlic paste, cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaves and cardamom and fry till their aromas blend.
  • Add the vegetables and saute until the carrots and beans are almost cooked through.
  • Mix in the cashew mixture and stir to combine.  Add in the kasuri methi and garam masala.
  • Mix in the tomato puree, whisked curd and cream until well combined.
  • Add the paneer. Cover the wok with a lid and cook on low flame for 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are well cooked.
  • Take off the heat and serve with naan.

This was probably the best Mixed Vegetable Makhani I have ever tasted. The gravy was oh so lush, the sweetness of the ground cashews with a dash of spice from the garam masala and kashmiri chillies, the tang of the curd and tomato puree and the richness of the cream is a winning combination. The crunchiness of the carrots and beans and the soft gooey-ness of the paneer add oodles of texture to the dish as well. Taking a bite of this Mixed Vegetable Makhani is a rich, delicious and enveloping experience.

Everyone loved it, some of our guests thought we had ordered it from a restaurant! The boyfriend absolutely enjoyed it and my mum found it a tad bit sweet – too rich, she said. I really liked the flavors and textures and I am incredibly proud of the way my first attempt at making Mixed Vegetable Makhani turned out. If you like mildly spicy Indian dishes, this is a must-try for you; but then again, you can regulate the spice as per your liking.

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So if you’re gearing up for a get-together at home and your menu is Indian, try this recipe out – your guests will surely love it!

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