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Indian Herb & Spice Stock

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Using herb and spice stock is a fantastic way to add flavour to your curries!

There really isn’t much you can do with this herb and spice stock on it’s own. It doesn’t taste of much but it sure can make a curry go from good to fantastic.

This is especially so with curry house style dishes where curries are usually cooked over high heat. Spices that are added to hot oil to make curries can easily burn if the chef isn’t careful.

In an effort to ensure the spices don’t burn, many chefs will spoon in a ladle or so of water to cool the pan.

Herb and spice stock

A great way to liven up a good curry!

There is an easier and equally delicious way to add these flavours to your curries.

I have witnessed many great chefs substitute something like this herb and spice stock.

The flavour if subtle but when added to a curry instead of water it just seems to lift the flavour and make the end dish so nice.

I like to look at this herb and spice stock as that little bit extra which isn’t necessary but well worth the effort.

Working ahead…

Indian herb and spice stock freezes well. It can also be kept in the fridge for at least a week.

It only takes about a half an hour to make.

So why not make some spice stock when convenient and use it as required.

I like to freeze this spice stock in ice cube trays and add it like a stock cube. It takes the flavour up and makes the curry that little bit better.

Make this herb and spice stock your own…

You could experiment depending on the curries you are making. You might like to throw in a few fenugreek seeds or perhaps a spoonful of garam masala.

Use it like you would chicken or vegetable stock and the possibilities are endless.

It’s worth noting that you could use a stock like this for any cuisine. It’s not just limited to Indian cuisine.

Vary the spices depending on what kind of food you are making.

How to use spice stock in you BIR curries…

You don’t need a lot. If you have my book ‘The Curry Guy’, you will know that the spice stock is and added bonus that can be added like you do the base sauce to a curry.

This is a really good idea, especially if you are making a curry sauce and using a vegetarian main ingredient.

Where you might add a little chicken stock to a chicken tikka masala or some lamb stock to a rogan josh, this spice stock can be added in the same way to any curry house style curry.

Add it to taste and then cook the sauce down to your preferred consistency.

If you add to much, it will cook down and taste amazing. If your curry is too dry, you could add more base sauce or a combination of base sauce and spice stock.

Want to give it a go? Try this spice stock in one of these famous curry house sauces.

Tikka masala sauce
Chasni sauce
Pathia sauce
Pasanda sauce
Chilli garlic sauce
Jalfrezi sauce
Keema sauce
Madras sauce
Vindaloo sauce

Herb And Spice Stock For That Perfect Curry

Herb And Spice Stock For That Perfect Curry


  • 1 handful of green cardamom pods
  • 20 cassia bark leaves (Indian bay leaves)
  • 1 two inch cinnamon stick or cassia bark
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 large bunch coriander - stems and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 or more green chillies - cut lengthwise (optional)


  1. Bring a 3 litre pot of water to a rolling boil
  2. Throw in the herbs and spices and stir to combine.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about 30 minutes
  4. Strain through a fine sieve and store in air tight plastic containers.

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Wednesday 22nd of February 2023

I notice that this recipe and the one in the curry bible differ in water quantity. this being 3L and the book 1L - will this make the book version more concentrated and needs less time to reduce ?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 7th of March 2023

Yes, that’s right. The one in the book is just more concentrated so will take less long to reduce. Thanks Dan

Deena Kakaya

Friday 13th of September 2013

I've never seen such a stock before, interesting!

Dan Toombs

Monday 16th of September 2013

Thanks. Hope you give it a try. I don't have it on hand often but it sure makes a difference when I do.

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