Veg Malai Masala Recipe
Veg Malai Masala is a delicious and flavorful Indian curry that features mixed vegetables cooked in a creamy, rich, and fragrant gravy. This restaurant-style veg malai curry gets ready in less than 40 minutes. Serve it with tandoori roti or butter naan for an indulgent meal.
I had never tried this dish anywhere in a restaurant or dhaba but somehow came up with this recipe and it tasted so awesome. Next time you feel bored of the regular mixed veg curry and need to feast on a rich vegetable curry, try making this curry instead, I bet you won’t regret it!
There are many Veg Curry recipes on the blog already. Mix Veg Malai Masala is a standout dish in Indian cuisine, known for its creamy texture, fragrant spices, and flavorful blend of ingredients. It is a dish that is loved by many and can be enjoyed on various occasions, making it a must-try for anyone who enjoys the mild flavors of Indian cuisine.
About Veg Malai Masala
Malai, which translates to cream (heavy cream), is a classic dish that can be made with a variety of vegetables, or protein – paneer, eggs, or chicken.
Veg Malai Masala is a popular North Indian vegetarian dish made with mixed vegetables cooked in creamy, luscious, and mildly spiced onion-tomato-nuts-based gravy.
Is malai masala only limited to chicken or paneer? Not really! In my kitchen, I use malai masala gravy in a lot more ways than you can imagine. The malai masala gravy is a delicious base sauce that will compliment any veg or protein.
Making a rich and indulgent curry can be a little time-consuming because of the time involved in cooking the ingredients and spices to bring out the flavors but the recipe is pretty easy to follow.
The Veg Malai Masala Recipe has 3 components:
1. Saute the Vegetables.
2. Make the malai masala sauce.
3. Simmer the vegetables in the sauce.
What makes it special is the blend of spices and the use of milk and fresh cream or malai, which gives the dish its distinctive creamy texture and flavor. I like to finish the dish with dried fenugreek leaves for an earthy flavor and authentic North Indian flavor.
The creaminess of the dish also helps to balance the heat from the spices, making it a favorite among people who enjoy mildly spiced curries.
The real malai masala sauce will have a deep orange-red hue, just a little shine of oil (no oil swimming pool), silky and smooth consistency due to the touch of cream, very subtle sweetness, and the flavor of spices coming through in every bite.
The creamy dish makes a perfect crowd-pleaser dish at potlucks, family gatherings, special occasions, or curry night events.
Reasons to make
Easy to make.
Creamy and flavorful.
1. Sautee the vegetables: sauteeing the vegetables in little oil over a medium-high flame brings out the natural flavors and aromas of the vegetables. The high heat of the sauteing process helps to create a slightly crispy texture on the outside of the vegetables, while still keeping them tender and juicy on the inside.
2. Use fresh ingredients: The quality of ingredients can greatly impact the flavor and texture of the gravy. Use fresh and ripe tomatoes, onions, and other vegetables for the best results. Avoid using canned or processed vegetables as they can alter the taste of the gravy.
3. Cream and milk: The creaminess of the gravy comes from the use of cream and milk. Use fresh and full-fat cream and milk for the best results. Avoid using low-fat or skim milk as it can alter the texture of the gravy.
4. Spice blend: The spices used in the gravy play a crucial role in determining the flavor of the dish. Use fresh and good-quality spices. You can adjust the spice levels to suit your preference.
5. Cooking time: The ingredients need to be cooked properly to allow the flavors to develop. Simmer the gravy on low heat until the vegetables become tender.
6. Cook the gravy until the oil separates: it is an important step in Indian cuisine. It is an indication that the ingredients have been fully cooked and their flavors have been fully released. This helps to create a deep, rich flavor in the gravy.
7. Consistency of the gravy: restaurant gravies tend to have a smooth and thick consistency, with a creamy texture that coats the vegetables in the dish. However, you can adjust the consistency by controlling the amount of liquid used in the recipe
8. Fish out the whole spices: Although whole spices add great flavor to the dish, leaving them in gravy or curry can be unpleasant to bite into particularly for children or elderly people.
Although the ingredients list may seem a bit long, the cooking process is easy and most of the ingredients used in this recipe are pantry staples of an Indian kitchen. You may have to make a trip to the shop to buy cream.
Vegetables: I have used potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, and carrots.
These are just some of the vegetables that can be used. You can adjust the combination of vegetables to your liking and include other vegetables like peas (fresh or frozen), broccoli, corn, baby corn, capsicum, or mushrooms.
Cooking oil: neutral oil works best in this recipe.
Onion and tomato: form the base of the gravy.
Cashews and melon seeds: in restaurants, the combo is often used as a thickening agent to give the curry a rich and creamy texture.
Whole spices: bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, and green cardamom.
Dry Spices: turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, kitchen king masala or garam masala.
Milk & Cream: key ingredients in this recipe. Gives the gravy a velvety texture.
Seasoning & Herbs: salt, kasuri methi, and coriander leaves.
How to make Veg Malai Masala
Step 1: Sautee the vegetables
1. Chop the vegetables into uniform pieces so they cook evenly. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil.
Once the oil is hot, add 2 cups of vegetables to the pan.
2. Let the vegetables cook for 1-2 minutes without stirring, until they start to char on one side. Then, use a spatula to flip them over and char the other side.
3. Add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Mix well.
Adding turmeric powder will enhance the color. It will prevent from vegetables looking white in color (especially potato and cauliflower) in the final dish.
4. Transfer them to a plate.
Step 2: Make the Malai Masala sauce.
5. Grind 2 tomatoes, 6 cashews, and 2 tsp melon seeds to a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
You can soak the cashews and melon seeds in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Its helps in grinding to a smooth paste.
6. Heat 3-4 tbsp oil in a pan or kadhai over medium flame. When the oil is hot, add 1/2 tsp cumin, 2 bay leaf, 3 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon stick, and 2 green cardamoms.
7. Add 2 onions finely chopped and saute until they turn a light brown color.
Stir at regular intervals for even coloring.
8. Once onions turn light brown color, add 1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder.
Sautee until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
9. Add the tomato puree and salt to taste. Saute over medium flame until moisture evaporates and oil separates at the sides of the pan.
10. Add 1-2 tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, and 1 tsp kitchen king masala.
Saute until the spices are cooked and the oil separates.
Step 3: Simmer the Vegetables
11. Add the sauteed vegetables and saute over medium flame until the masala coats the vegetables well and the oil separates.
12. Turn the flame to low and add 1/2 cup milk and 1 cup water. Give a good mix.
13. Cover the pan and simmer the curry on low flame for 10-12 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked soft.
Do not overcook the vegetables.
14. Open the lid and add 1/2 tbsp kasuri methi and mix well.
Crush the kasuri methi leaves between palms before adding to the gravy.
15. Add the 2-3 tbsp cream and continue to simmer until the curry is thickened as per your desired consistency or it leaves the ghee on the edges of the pan.
16. Turn off the flame and add 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves.
17. Veg Malai Masala is ready. Serve hot or warm with flatbread or rice.
Here are some serving suggestions for veg malai masala:
1. Indian flatbread: Veg malai masala goes well with Indian bread such as naan, rumali roti, tandoori roti, or paratha. There is something extra delicious about scooping gravy with flatbread!
2. Basmati rice & flavored rice: The rich gravy also pairs well with plain basmati rice, jeera rice, bagara rice, or veg pulao.
To balance the richness of the dish, you can serve veg malai masala with a simple salad made of cucumber, tomatoes, onions, and lemon. The refreshing and crunchy texture of the salad helps to cleanse the palate and adds a touch of freshness to the meal.
Veg Malai Masala curry can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. Here are some tips on how to store veg malai masala:
1. Refrigeration: If you plan to consume veg malai masala within a few days, you can store it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator. Before storing, allow the dish to cool down to room temperature. This will prevent the formation of moisture inside the container and help to preserve the texture and flavor of the dish. Once stored, veg malai masala can be consumed within 3-4 days.
2. Freezing: If you want to store veg malai masala for a longer period, you can freeze it in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Allow the dish to cool down to room temperature before freezing. Veg malai masala can be frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer the container to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Reheat the dish in a pan or microwave before serving.
3. Portion control: To make it easier to store and reheat, divide the veg malai masala into smaller portions before storing. This will help you to thaw and reheat only the amount that you need, reducing waste and ensuring that the dish maintains its quality and flavor.
More Related Recipes
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Veg Malai Masala Recipe
For sauteeing the veggies
- 2 cups Mixed Vegetables (potato, beans, carrot, cauliflower, and peas)
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Salt
For making Malai Masala Gravy
- 3-4 tbsp Oil
- 2 medium Bay leaf
- 3 numbers Cloves
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 2 small Green cardamom
- 2 medium Onions (finely chopped)
- 3 medium Tomatoes
- 6 whole Cashews
- 2 tbsp Melon seeds (optional)
- 1/2 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1-2 tsp Red chili powder
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Kitchen king masala (or garam masala)
- 1/2 cup Milk (preferably boiled and cooled)
- 1 cup Water
- 1/2 tbsp Dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
- 2-3 tbsp Cream
- 2 tbsp Coriander leaves
- Salt to taste
To saute the vegetables
- Chop the vegetables into uniform pieces so they cook evenly. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add your vegetables to the pan.
- Let the vegetables cook for a few minutes without stirring, until they start to char on one side. Then, use a spatula to flip them over and char the other side. Saute the veggies for 5-7 minutes.
- Add salt and turmeric powder. Mix well.
- Transfer them to a plate.
To make Malai Masala Sauce
- Grind tomatoes, cashews, and melon seeds to a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
- Heat oil in a pan or kadhai over medium flame. When the oil is hot, add cumin, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick, and green cardamom.
- Add finely chopped onions and saute until they turn a light brown color.
- Once onions turn light brown color, add ginger garlic paste and turmeric powder. Sautee until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
- Add the tomato puree and salt. Saute over medium flame until moisture evaporates and oil separates at the sides of the pan.
- Add red chili powder, coriander powder, and kitchen king masala.
To simmer the Vegetables
- Add the sauteed vegetables and saute over medium flame until the masala coats the vegetables well and the oil separates.
- Turn the flame to low and add milk and water. Give a good mix.
- Cover the pan and simmer the curry on low flame for 10-12 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked soft.
- Open the lid and add kasuri methi and mix well.
- Add the cream and continue to simmer until the curry is thickened as per your desired consistency or it leaves the ghee on the edges of the pan.
- Turn off the flame and add chopped coriander leaves.
- Veg Malai Masala is ready. Serve hot or warm with flatbread or rice.
curdle. The consistency of the gravy is thick and is not flowing, If you want to make it runny
add 1/4 water and 1/4 cup milk more.
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