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Jalfrezi Sauce

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You can add the main ingredient/s of choice to this jalfrezi sauce.

I have a delicious chicken jalfrezi sauce recipe in my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy’. That recipe for Jalfrezi sauce serves four. 

In this jalfrezi sauce recipe, I will show you how the famous BIR (British Indian restaurant) curry is made at most restaurants. This recipe is for a curry house portion to serve 1 to 2 people. 

Or even more if you’re sharing a selection of BIR curries. 

Jalfrezi sauce

You can add the main ingredient of your choice to this jalfrezi sauce. I added pre-cooked chicken.

What main ingredient should go into the sauce?

That is completely up to you. Just like when you go out for a curry at your favourite curry house, where you have a selection of main ingredients to choose from, that’s what you can do with your homemade jalfrezi sauce too. 

Popular options are chicken tikka, lamb tikka, king prawns and paneer. 

The main thing to consider when deciding which main ingredient to use is the time it takes to cook them. 


Use this jalfrezi sauce recipe with pre-cooked ingredients…

At curry houses around the UK and the world for that matter, pre-cooked ingredients are used. The reason for this is simple… you want the ingredients to be deliciously tender when served.

If you were to add raw lamb or beef to this recipe, for example, it could take up to an hour for the meat to become tender. 

So at curry houses, they pre-cook their chicken, meat and harder vegetables such as potatoes so that all they have to do is heat them up in the sauce. 

Some ingredients cook quite quickly so you could actually cook prawns and even chicken from raw but you will be missing out on the amazing flavours you get from using tandoori marinated ingredients. 

That said, pre-cooking your main ingredients can add amazing flavour to your curry.

Base Sauce (gravy) is used to speed up the cooking process too.

The base sauce idea was developed by curry house chefs to speed up the process of cooking their different sauces.

From the mildest korma to this mildly spiced jalfrezi sauce, right up to the spiciest phal, the base sauce is used to speed up the cooking process.

One of my ‘go to’ recipes for base sauce is right here and it is exactly as I’ve seen it made at hundreds of curry houses. 

Do I have to make and use a base sauce to make this recipe?

The answer is yes and no. If you want your jalfrezi sauce to be exactly as you would expect from the best curry houses, then please make the sauce!

If you don’t have time or the will to make the base sauce, you could try this jalfrezi sauce recipe without the base.

Simply fry up the onions, peppers and other ingredients and add water or stock. 

Jalfrezi curry with chicken

Dig in!

If you like this jalfrezi sauce recipe, you might like to try some of these curry house recipes too…

Tikka masala sauce
Korma sauce
Pasanda sauce
Chasni sauce
Chilli garlic sauce
Ceylon sauce
Pathia sauce
Keema sauce
Bhuna sauce
Methi sauce
Madras sauce
Vindaloo sauce
Phaal sauce

Yield: 1 - 2

Jalfrezi Sauce Recipe - BIR Curry Hour Style

Jalfrezi sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes 5 seconds
Total Time 20 minutes 5 seconds



  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. When hot, add the curry leaves (if using) and fry for about 20 seconds to infuse the curry leaf flavour into the oil.
  2. Now add the onion and bell peppers and fry for about three minutes. You want the veggies to still have a bit of crunch to them.
  3. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further 30 seconds and then add the green chillies, chilli powder and mixed powder.
  4. Stir well and then add the tomato puree and about half the base sauce. Let this come to a simmer. Do not stir unless the sauce is sticking to the pan.
  5. This is a good time to add the main ingredient of your choice. If you are making the sauce for later, no need to add it now. You can always add it later.
  6. Add the remaining base sauce and let the jalfrezi sauce cook down until you are happy with the consistency.
  7. Garnish with the chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves and season with salt to taste.


A nice squeeze of lime juice is a nice addition.

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I hope you enjoy this jalfrezi sauce recipe. This is the real deal! If you do try it, please leave a comment and let me know how it went. I’d love to hear from you. 


Tuesday 27th of June 2023

Hi, does the recipe double up okay, to make it for four people? Is it just a case of doubling everything?

Dan Toombs

Sunday 9th of July 2023

Yes just double everything but be a bit careful with the hot spices, add those to taste. Thanks Dan


Thursday 7th of July 2022

Could I freeze the base sauce if I make a batch?

Caroline Toombs

Monday 11th of July 2022

Yes, the base sauce freezes really well. Thanks Dan


Monday 24th of August 2020

Hi, in your book you use slightly different ingredient labels to this. Also in the book a few recipes such as the jalfrezi it says to add cooking stock from the pre made chicken. Is their a substitute that could be used instead? Such as normal supermarket chicken stock or the equivalent amount of base gravy. Also I’m making a small batch of base gravy from the book. Heating it ina. Big Saucepan with a lid. How long would you suggest cooking it for? Thanks

Dan Toombs

Thursday 27th of August 2020

Hi Adam You can certainly use a chicken stock cube if that is all you have on hand. You can also use the base gravy. I cook my base gravy in a large pan for around 1.5 - 2 hours. Thanks Dan

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