Cariema Isaacs’ Recipe for Decadent Vegetable Butter Curry

This entry was posted on 22 April 2021.

Curried is the brand new book from South African food writer, chef and entrepreneur, Cariema Isaacs. It features a selection of curry recipes from around the world, including the length and breadth of India, Sri Lanka, Iran, Dubai, and Cape Town. Taken from the book, here is Cariema’s recipe for Vegetable Butter Curry, or Goan vegetable makhanawala.


“If you love butter chicken or the lentil version known as dal makhani, you’ll love this Goan version. I have so many friends who hail from Goa and whose personalities can be likened to this curry – bright, vivacious, expressive and oh, so sassy! The name ‘makhanawala’ means ‘with lots of butter and cream’. Who cares about a diet when you can eat well? And if you do have a Goan gracing your table, you’ll find your plate constantly topped up and conversation flowing!”




6 baby potatoes, peeled

2 large carrots, cut into 4 cm chunks

50 g ghee or 2 Tbsp (30 ml) peanut, canola or sunflower oil

1 medium-size onion, finely sliced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 thumb-size piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 can (410 g) Italian whole tomatoes, skinned

1 tsp (5 ml) Kashmiri chilli powder

1 tsp (5 ml) each ground coriander and ground cumin

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) ground cinnamon

½ tsp (2.5 ml) each turmeric and garam masala

1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter chicken curry paste or an all-purpose curry paste

1 tsp (5 ml) desiccated coconut

Salt to taste

½ C (125 ml) water

25 g raw cashew nuts

10 string beans, topped and tailed

8 cauliflower florets

½ C (125 ml) frozen or fresh peas

1 Tbsp (15 ml) white sugar

¼ C (60 ml) each plain yoghurt and double cream

1 handful chopped fresh coriander


1. Cook the potatoes and carrots separately in boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until just tender. Drain, then set aside.

2. Heat the ghee or oil in a medium-size saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 10 minutes or until golden.

3. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a minute or two.

4. Add the canned tomatoes and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes.

5. Add all the spices, curry paste, coconut, salt and water, and simmer for 10 minutes.

6. In a mini food processor, or using a pestle and mortar, blend the cashew nuts to a paste with 2 Tbsp (30 ml) water. Stir this into the sauce, followed by all the vegetables, apart from the potatoes but including the carrots. Add another 100 ml water and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through.

7. Stir in the potatoes, sugar, yoghurt and cream and cook for a further 2–3 minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve.


TIP: The Kashmiri chilli powder can be substituted with any regular chilli powder. Don’t be tempted to use a blended masala or curry powder – this will compromise the taste and colour of the curry.






by Cariema Isaacs



Right this way for cosy eating with three mouth-watering recipes from Dinner at Matloha’s

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