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Homemade Indian curry base recipe

Homemade Indian curry base recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Main course
  • Curry
  • Curry sauce

This curry base is easy to make using only Indian spices which can be bought from most supermarkets. Read the tips below before you begin to ensure you get the best results for your taste buds.

Lombardia, Italy

698 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 5 cardamom pods, split
  • 2 teaspoons each cumin seeds, whole and ground
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, ground
  • 75g vegetable ghee or butter ghee
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala powder
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 piece dried cinnamon bark
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium onions, chopped finely
  • 3 teaspoons chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3 teaspoons tomato puree
  • 200ml water

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:1hr ›Ready in:1hr30min

  1. Prepare the spices. With a pestle and mortar gently crush the cardamom pods, cumin and coriander seeds until they "pop". Do not grind the seeds, just break the shells gently.
  2. Prepare any meat, poultry or vegetables. Have your meat ready and cubed in the fridge. Chop any vegetables ready to be added to the pot. Otherwise, you can simply make the base and freeze it for another day.
  3. In a large pot melt the ghee and oil. Add all the spices except the chilli powder for now. Let the spices gently sizzle for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and onion and sweat until softened. Add half the chilli powder, the sugar and salt to taste.
  5. If you want to freeze it, let it cool and place it in a container; your curry base is ready.
  6. Otherwise at this stage, if you are adding meat or poultry only, add it now and gently stir until its thoroughly cooked through. For a vegetable curry add your vegetables in the order they take to cook, ie add sweet peppers first and then courgette.
  7. Remove the cinammon bark. See footnote.
  8. When your meat is cooked and/or your vegetables are softening you can now add the tomatoes, tomato puree and water. Stir well and continue to let it simmer gently with a lid for around 1 hour to reduce. Remember to add more water if it gets too dry.
  9. Taste your curry. Add more chilli if you want it. The longer you cook it the more mellow the spices become and the better the flavour. Season to taste with salt. Add a little more sugar if it is too bitter for your liking.
  10. Serve your curry with some fragrant basmati rice. Remember to rinse the rice thoroughly in cold water first until the water runs clear unless you particularly want a sticky rice. Add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon of turmeric to the rice pot for lovely yellow, fragrant rice.
  11. Enjoy!


Make sure to taste the curry regularly you can add more spices if you need to.If you have time, let it simmer for several hours on a very low heat, stirring occasionally and top up with water if it gets too thick. Adding the sugar takes away the bitterness of the spices, you can add more or omit this to your taste.


Ghee is a clarified butter which is used in traditional Indian cooking. It is now widely available either from your supermarketor from a local Indian shop.I insist that you should try to find the vegetable or butter ghee for your curry. I have tried with and without. The difference in taste is huge, it gives a very authentic and rich flavour. Of course for a dairy free alternative, you can use vegetable oil instead.


I prefer to leave the cardamom pods and bay leaves in the curry. It adds to the flavour and can easily be removed before serving if you wish. Although you can eat the cardamom pods as they soften with cooking, the bay leaves are not pleasant to chew.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(7)

Reviews in English (7)

the best ever home made curry sauce... made it before to have with vegetable biryani... and am now making it again.... absolutely delicious....-08 Mar 2013

AMAZING RECIPIE! Recommend for anyone who likes Indian and wants something homemade. also works well with or without ghee. it takes a bit longer than the recipie says but that doesn't really matter. the spice matures well in a slow cooker, and the meat becomes more tender. highly recommend you try!-01 Sep 2012

Well tasty and I did add all the chilli. Excellent recipe, well done.-23 May 2015

Easy Homemade Curry Recipes from Scratch

If you are a regular reader of Searching for Spice you'll probably guess that my my favourite meals are curries. I could happily eat curry a few times a week and not get bored. I'm not even a snob about it. I am happy to eat ready meals, takeaways and of course homemade curries.

The curry guy base sauce recipe

I urge you to give it a go. Here it is¦enough to make around 4 freezable batches, with each containing enough to make a curry for 4 people.

  • 10 large cooking onions (or a mixture of white and red) finely sliced
  • 250ml vegetable oil¨ or rapeseed oil (the more healthy option)
  • 5 tbsp garlic paste
  • 4 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 carrot peeled and chopped
  • ¼ head of cabbage chopped
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1 green pepper diced water
  • 400ml chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp ground fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste (Dan says: I usually leave this out and simply add it to the final dish)

1. Pour the oil into a large heavy bottomed saucepan and heat over medium high heat until bubbling.

2. Throw in the sliced onions and fry, stirring regularly for about 20 minutes until the onions are soft, lightly browned and translucent.

3. Add the peppers, carrot and cabbage and stir to combine.

4. Fry for a further five minutes and then add the ginger and garlic purees and the all of the spices except for the turmeric.

5. Now add the tomatoes and just enough water (about 2 cups/ 500ml) to cover the vegetables and simmer for about half an hour.

6. After 30 minutes, remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Scoop the mixture in batches into a blender and blend until silky smooth. If you have a hand held blender, this stage will be much easier.

7. Once your sauce is smooth, melt the ghee in a frying pan. Add the turmeric powder to the ghee. It will darken as it cooks. You want to brown it for about 30 seconds being careful not to burn the turmeric.

8. Now add the turmeric/ghee mixture to the sauce and bring to a simmer again. Once it is bubbling away, turn down the heat and simmer for a further 20 to 30 minutes.

9. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to three days or freeze in 750ml (3 cups) portions for up to three months.

Making Indian vegetable curry is very easy. Just follow the steps given below:

Preparing the curry base: To prepare the curry base, first make an onion, garlic, and ginger paste by grinding them in a grinder. Similarly, make a separate paste of tomato and green chilies.

Heat oil in a pot and add cumin seeds and bay leaf. Saute for a few seconds or until the spices become fragrant.

Add onion paste and cook until it turns golden brown. Keep on stirring in between. If it starts sticking to the pot add 1-2 tablespoons of water and start cooking again.

When the onion gets a nice golden brown color add all the ground spices except garam masala. Powdered spices may get burned very easily so also add around a tablespoon of water along with them. You can also mix the spices with little water in a bowl to make a paste and then add it to the pot. Saute for about a minute.

Add tomato chili paste and salt. Cook until the tomato is nicely cooked and changes the color. Generally, if a lot of oil is used in cooking, you can tell the tomato is cooked when the oil starts getting separated from the tomatoes. However, since I use very little oil in cooking, the oil won't get separated from the edges. But, it will take around 8-10 minutes for the tomatoes to get nicely cooked on medium flame.

Once the tomatoes are cooked add tomato paste and cook for a minute.

Now your curry base is ready. You can use it in any Indian curry like chickpea curry, mushroom curry, etc.

Cooking the vegetables : Once the curry base is ready, add the vegetables, mix and cook uncovered for around 2 minutes. Cooking the vegetables with the sauce for sometime without adding water makes them more flavorful.

After 2 minutes add water and cover the pot. Cook for around 12-15 minutes on medium flame or until the potatoes are cooked.

Adding the final ingredients: Once the vegetables are cooked put the flame on low and add the keep cream. Keep on stirring with the other hand. Switch off the gas.

Add garam masala and lime juice. Mix everything and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Your Indian style mixed vegetable curry is ready.

Curry base recipe | basic curry sauce | all-purpose curry base gravy

curry base recipe | basic curry sauce | all-purpose curry base gravy with detailed photo and video recipe. an easy and simple multipurpose gravy base which can be used for myriad north indian gravy. basically the same concept is used in most of the indian restaurant to quickly prepare different types of curries. you may make this once and store it in the freezer and use it whenever required.
curry base recipe | basic curry sauce | all-purpose curry base gravy with step by step photo and video recipe. curries or sabzi recipes are very common among indian households. these curries generally have the same gravy base, but differs with vegetables or meat toppings with some extra spices. in this post we will learn how to make an all-purpose curry base recipe and use it for different types of north indian curries.

i guess most of them have faced this situation where either they do not have much time to spend in the kitchen. or feel monotonous and bored in preparing the same style curries with different vegetables. and you may have also wondered how on the earth these indian restaurants prepare different types of curries within minutes. and the same recipe takes forever for us to prepare at home? well, the answer is the multipurpose basic curry sauce or curry base recipe. basically you need to prepare it once and refrigerate it and use it for curries like kadai paneer, mutter paneer, kaju masala or mix veg gravy. i personally have not tried with any meat, but i am confident that it can also be used with any choice of meats. perhaps you may need to pressure cook it separately and mix it with this sauce.

in addition, some more tips, suggestions variations to the all-purpose curry base recipe. firstly, in this recipe, i have prepared the basic curry sauce with just onions and tomatoes to get the thick base. as a fusion, you may also use carrots, capsicums and bell peppers on top onion and tomato base. secondly, if you wish to have a longer shelf life you may need to be generous in adding cooking oil while preparing the base. oil helps to preserve the sauce and also improves the shelf life of the curry base. lastly, you may need to freeze the curry sauce and you should be good by just refrigerating it. it should easily last long for 4 weeks easily.

Tips to make an amazing curry paste recipe

The key to a great curry lies in the time you take to SAUTE the onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. The longer you saute on medium-low heat, the better it tastes.

You&rsquoll love this curry paste recipe because

  • it simplifies the curry-cooking process.
  • it makes you look like a pro when you can cook a curry within 30 minutes when you have this curry paste sitting in your refrigerator.
  • keeps for a week so it&rsquos perfect for MEAL PREP. You can have curry for dinner throughout the week!
  • Use this curry paste FOR ANYTHING from vegetable curry, chicken curry, fish curry, paneer butter masala, butter chicken, and so on.

I&rsquove listed down the recipes you can cook with this curry paste in the table below. These curry recipes might be slightly different from the traditional ones, but the idea is to SIMPLIFY the recipes as much as possible with what you have, without compromising on flavors.

If you&rsquove tried this easy recipe for lentil curry (dal) with spinach, you&rsquoll know what I&rsquom talking about.

Recipe Summary

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or ghee)
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • Seeds from 4 cardamom pods
  • One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

In a large frying pan, heat the oil or ghee over medium high heat. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of sea salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are medium brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add all of the spices and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan, reduce the heat to low and slowly simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and begins to splatter.

Remove from the heat and allow the curry to cool for a couple minutes, then stir in the heavy cream, if using. Season it with sea salt to taste.

How to store Indian Curry Sauce?

This Indian curry sauce stores well in the refrigerator for up to a week.

If you want to store it for longer, which I always like to do, store it in the freezer. I save half in the refrigerator for the week, and freeze the rest.

You can use large ice cube trays or silicone molds to store the Bhuna Masala. I used these silicone molds which store about ¼ cup in each compartment. If you are making a large batch, you might need multiple trays. Also, make sure to cool the masala completely, before freezing it.

I also remove the freezed masala from the silicone tray and put in ziploc bags. That way the tray is available for me to use for other recipes.

The advantage of freezing in individual portions is that it is easier to use. Depending on the recipe, I use 1 or 2 cubes of the masala, so it is ¼ cup or ½ cup of the masala.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup cooking oil
  • 1 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with 2 teaspoons salt.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat partially cook the chicken in the hot oil in batches until completely browned. Transfer the browned chicken breasts to a plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-high add the onion, garlic, and ginger to the oil remaining in the skillet and cook and stir until the onion turns translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir the curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of water into the onion mixture allow to heat together for about 1 minute while stirring. Mix the tomatoes, yogurt, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, and 1 teaspoon salt into the mixture. Return the chicken breast to the skillet along with any juices on the plate. Pour 1/2 cup water into the mixture bring to a boil, turning the chicken to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle the garam masala and 1 tablespoon cilantro over the chicken.

Cover the skillet and simmer until the chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Sprinkle with lemon juice to serve.

Ingredients Used for Indian Curry Paste Recipe:

Here’s my recipe for Indian Curry Paste, do you care to share yours?

Ingredients:- (Makes approx. 1.5 cups of curry paste)
(wet paste)

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1-inch ginger
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 green chilis (or any chili pepper of your choice)

Garam Masala (dry spice powder)- Only half of it will be used in this Indian Curry recipe for curry paste. You can store the rest in an airtight container for later.

  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 2 tsp peppercorn
  • 3-4 black cardamom
  • 1/2 Cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds

Whole Spices: (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 black cardamom (smashed)

Other Ingredients used for this Indian Curry Paste Recipe:


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