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Chilli Garlic Sauce

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You can add the main ingredient/s of your choice to this chilli garlic sauce.

Chilli garlic sauce is one of the most popular curries ordered at Indian restaurant. I have a recipe for chicken chilli garlic curry in my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy’ which serves 4.

Here I have down scaled the recipe to a curry house portion that will serve 1 – 2 people.

The chilli garlic sauce is delicious served with different main ingredients such as chicken, lamb, beef, prawns and paneer.

chilli garlic sauce

Add the main ingredient of your choice to this chilli garlic sauce.

This chilli garlic sauce is one for garlic and chilli fans!

If you like your curries spicy hot and loaded with delicious garlic, look no further. With this recipe you will be in curry heaven.

Although it tastes a lot of garlic, it is not as strong as many people think. The garlic flakes are cooked in the sauce at a high temperature which tends to mellow it a bit.

As with all curries, you can adjust how spicy you make the sauce. Use as many or as few chillies as you like.

Pre-cooked meat and chicken

At curry houses, pre-cooked meat and chicken are used not just to speed up the cooking process but also to flavour the curry.

Here I used pre-cooked chicken but tandoori lamb, tandoori chicken, grilled paneer and tandoori prawns are all popular.

Although you could cook many ingredients such as chicken and prawn from raw, you will definitely want to pre-cook red meat as it takes longer to become tender.

You can also use the juices and/or cooking stock from your pre-cooked meats to flavour the curry. Just add it as you do the base sauce.

The essential base sauce (gravy)

One of the secrets to getting curry house style curries right is the base sauce.

One of my ‘go to’ recipes for it is here.

This smooth sauce doesn’t have a lot of flavour but it does taste good. Think of it as you would a chicken or vegetable stock.

You add it to the curry to make the sauce but it is the other ingredients in the recipe that actually make it a chilli garlic sauce.

Do you have to use a base curry sauce?

To make this sauce the way it would be done at a curry house, yes. That said, I have a large selection of curry house style curries which you can make without a base sauce. It’s cheating a bit but the flavour is there!

garlic and chilli sauce

Ready to serve!

Working ahead

Curries actually get better if you allow the flavours to develop. You can make this chilli garlic sauce with or without the main ingredient one or two days ahead of serving.

Then all you have to do is heat it up and serve.

The chilli garlic sauce also freezes very well.

chilli garlic curry

I added chicken to my chilli garlic sauce. You can add whatever you like.

If you like this chilli garlic sauce recipe, you might like to try some of these curry house favourites too…

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

Yield: 1 - 2

Chilli Garlic Sauce

chilli garlic sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 8 cloves garlic - cut into slivers
  • 1/2 onion - finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 green bird's eye chillies - cut into thin rings
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp mixed powder
  • 1 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) tomato puree
  • 300ml (1 1/4 cups) base sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried methi leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
  • Dried garlic flakes to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. When hot, add the garlic slivers. Fry these for a couple of minutes being very careful not to burn the garlic.
  2. Add the onion and fry for a couple of minutes and then stir in the garlic and ginger paste and the chillies. Continue cooking for about 20 seconds and the add the ground spices and tomato puree.
  3. Stir this into a thick paste and then add about half of the base sauce. Bring this to a simmer only stirring if the sauce is obviously sticking to the pan.
  4. This is a good time to add your main ingredient of choice or if you are just making the sauce, continue on.
  5. As the sauce simmers, you will notice that it is caramelising around the edges. Scrape this into the sauce. Add the remaining base sauce and simmer until you are happy with the consistency.
  6. To finish, add the dried methi leaves by rubbing them between your fingers. Then season with salt to taste and garnish with the coriander (cilantro).
  7. You can also garnish with dried garlic flakes if you like.

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I hope you enjoy this chilli garlic sauce. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Nick Waller

Sunday 28th of April 2024

How would you update this for 6 people?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 30th of April 2024

Just scale up accordingly but be careful with the hot spices, add those to taste. Thanks Dan

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