This curry house style base curry sauce will get you the results you’re looking for!
Visit the kitchen of any busy curry house and you are almost certain to see a large saucepan of curry sauce/gravy simmering away on the stove. This sauce is used as a base for most of the restaurant’s curries.
Each restaurant has their own special recipe but they are usually quite similar. The base sauce makes it possible for chefs to cook, plate and serve many different curries quickly and easily.
This smooth base curry sauce is just one of the things that give British Indian restaurant (BIR) style curries their distinctive flavour and texture that is loved by so many.
Cooking curries in a more authentic Indian style just wouldn’t be possible in most restaurants as it would be too labour intensive, overly time consuming and not cost effective.
What exactly is the base curry sauce?
I like to describe the base curry sauce as a fancy vegetable stock. It doesn’t have a lot of flavour though it does taste good. Add some chicken, cumin, garam masala, a large heap or two of chili powder, mango chutney and a few other ingredients and you’ve got yourself a chicken madras.
Keep the chilli powder to a minimum and add some cream, block coconut, rose water and a dusting of cardamom powder and voila… a fragrant chicken korma.
Stay tuned for all the upcoming recipes. Together with this sauce you will be able to create curries better than you’ll find at most restaurants. I guarantee it!
Here are a few curry house style recipes you can use this sauce in now!
Try my Chicken Tikka Masala recipe from my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy’
Chicken Tikka Masala
Lamb Rogan Josh
Chicken Chilli Garlic
I have now filmed two videos for you to follow. These are slightly different recipes to the one below but they are the recipes featured in my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy’ which you can order online here.
Of course you could always use my small batch version, but if you really want to achieve that authentic curry house and/or balti house flavour, you’ve got to go large.
Note: In the photographs below you will find two photos demonstrating adding ghee to this recipe. These are photos from an earlier version of this recipe.
It is done at many restaurants but I no longer add it. It is tasty though. Simply melt 250ml ghee and add about a tsp turmeric as in the photos. Pour this over the sauce and stir it in. This is of course optional but many chefs do it.
International & UK Orders
One thing I get asked often is whether or not you have to use a base curry sauce in your curry house style curries. The answer is yes if you want your curries to be just like you get them at your favourite restaurant.
That said, if you just want a good curry and don’t have time to whip up a batch of base curry sauce, you could do it the authentic Indian way. Finely chop two to three onions and fry them in about 3 tablespoons of oil.
Fry until the onions are soft and translucent. This should take about five minutes.
Then just follow any of the curry house style recipes on my website and add water, stock or chopped tomatoes to create a sauce. You really can’t go wrong. Taste as you go and your curry, though not just like those you find at curry houses will be delicious.
- 10 large cooking onions – finely sliced
- 250ml vegetable oil
- 9 tablespoons garlic/ginger paste (equal amounts garlic and ginger blended into a paste with a little water.)
- 1 carrot - peeled and chopped
- ¼ head of cabbage - chopped
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper) - diced
- 1 green capsicum (bell pepper) - diced
- 400ml (14 US fluid ounces ) chopped tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 tablespoon garam masala powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon fenugreek powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- Salt and pepper to taste (I usually leave this out and simply add it to the final dish)
- Pour the oil into a large heavy bottomed saucepan and heat over medium high heat until bubbling.
- Throw in the sliced onions and fry, stirring regularly for about 20 minutes until the onions are soft, lightly browned and translucent.
- Add the capsicums (bell peppers), carrot and cabbage and stir to combine.
- Fry for a further five minutes and then add the ginger and garlic purees and the all of the spices except for the turmeric.
- Now add the tomatoes and just enough water (about 2 cups/ 500ml) to cover the vegetables and simmer for about half an hour.
- 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. I usually do this for about three minutes per batch. If you have a hand held blender, this stage will be much easier.
- 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.
- 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
- Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to three days or freeze in 750ml (3 cups) portions for up to three months.
This base sauce freezes really well. It is great to have on hand for that last minute curry craving.