Food & Drink

Smoky Ribs with Makhani Sauce and Turmeric Potatoes

Southern ribs get northern Indian treatment in this robust dish from Charleston’s Coterie

Photo: Courtesy of Coterie

In 2021, quietly tucked into a side street in bustling downtown Charleston, South Carolina, Coterie opened its verdant outdoor patio with a distinct mission: to weave Southern charm into creative, unpretentious, yet authentic Indian cuisine. “Ribs are famous in the South, a delicacy of pride and culture,” Chef Viraj Borkar says. This dish’s dry rub gives a boost of Southern smokiness, while its preparation borrows from traditional northern Indian cuisine: The meat is slow-cooked, then braised and doused in a creamy, buttery, fenugreek-infused tomato sauce that resembles barbecue, called makhani. Turmeric potatoes are served hot alongside the fragrant, hearty entree.

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  • Smoky Ribs with Makhani Sauce and Turmeric Potatoes

  • For the ribs

    • 1 lb. ribs

    • 2 tbsp. garam masala

    • 1 tbsp. raw sugar

    • 2 tbsp. salt

    • 2 tsp. smoked paprika

    • 1 tsp. coriander powder

    • ½ tsp. black cardamom powder

    • ½ tsp. cinnamon powder

    • ½ tsp. cumin powder

    • ½ tsp. clove or allspice

    • ½ tsp. black pepper

    • 1 tsp. garlic powder

    • Note: You may skip all spices below smoked paprika and substitute them with 3 tbsp. Tandoori spice powder

  • For the makhani sauce

    • 8 plum tomatoes

    • 2 tbsp. dry fenugreek leaves

    • 2 tbsp. tomato paste

    • 8 garlic cloves

    • ½ tsp. coriander powder

    • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

    • 1 tbsp. salt

    • ½ tsp. sugar

    • ¼ cup unsalted butter

  • For the potatoes

    • 3 russet potatoes

    • ¼ tsp. asafetida powder

    • 1 tbsp. mustard seeds

    • 1 tsp. turmeric powder

    • ⅛ cup oil

    • 1 tsp. salt

    • ¼ lemon, juiced


  1. Cook the ribs: Lightly trim the ribs. In a dry bowl, add all the spices and dry ingredients and mix well. Apply generously over the ribs.

  2. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Lightly wrap the ribs in foil and keep in the oven for 6–8 hours. Remove the ribs and set aside.

  3. Make the sauce: Add 2 quarts of water to a pot.

  4. Remove the eye of the tomatoes and cut them in half. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and garlic to the water and turn on the flame. Bring them to a boil.

  5. Once about 85–90 percent water is evaporated, add the fenugreek leaves. Let the mixture simmer for another 30 seconds, then add the butter and coriander powder. Turn off the burner and let cool completely.

  6. Blend ingredients to a smooth paste. Add the mixture back on to a heating pan, simmer, then add whipped cream, salt, and sugar to taste. Turn off the heat and use sauce as needed.

  7. Prepare the potatoes: Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes.

  8. Heat oil in a pan, then add the asafetida and turmeric. Let them bloom, then add mustard seeds until you hear them crackle.

  9. Add the potatoes and sauté well till hashbrown-like texture. Serve hot!

  10. To serve: Cut ribs in pairs, lightly sprinkled with makhani sauce and braised in the oven until the ideal temperature is reached. Warm up the makhani sauce and plate under ribs or on the side. Serve with hot potatoes.