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Saag Sauce

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You can add the main ingredient of your choice to this saag sauce.

I featured a saag curry sauce recipe in my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy’.  Although in the book it is made with lamb, you can use the same sauce with other ingredients too.

In the book, the recipe serves four. Here I’m giving you the downscaled version that serves 1 – 2 people just as they serve at Indian restaurants.

saag sauce

This saag sauce can be used with the main ingredient of your choice.

The curry house style saag sauce.

The saag curries we get when we go out for a curry at a curry house are made quite a lot quicker than the slowly cooked authentic saag sauce curries.

At restaurants, the chefs don’t know how many of each curry will be ordered every day so they need to be made to order. This is where curry house style techniques come in very handy!

Pre-cooked meat is added to a prepared base sauce meaning you can get all the delicious flavour of a slowly cooked curry in minutes. 


Working ahead.

If you are planning a curry feast, large or small, it is often a good idea to do as much forward preparation as possible.

You could make this saag  sauce a day or two before serving.

It will even get better as the flavours develop.

If you are just making the saag sauce, you could ask people which meat or even paneer they would like in their curry and simply add it last minute.

The base sauce (gravy)

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

A prepared base sauce is used in all BIR curries. It’s mild and it needs to be. The base sauce is used in every curry from the mildest
chicken tikka masala to a spicy vindaloo.

My ‘go to’ recipe for the sauce is here.

Although it does take some time to make, it is the best way to get that famous curry house flavour and texture.

The base gravy can be made a day or two ahead of time and also freezes well.

I suggest making a big batch and freezing what you don’t need. Do that and you can whip up your favourite Indian restaurant curries on a whim whenever you want.

How long with this saag curry sauce last?

You can keep it in the fridge for a few days before serving. It also freezes well. 

Flavour tip!

You will get an amazing tasting saag sauce with this recipe just as it is.

There are things you can do to get even more delicious flavour into the sauce. Try adding pre-cooked tandoori meat and some of the meat juices for example.

You could also add a little stock from pre-cooked chicken or spice stock.

This is not essential but very nice.

saag curry sauce

As the spinach cooks into the sauce it becomes darker.

Saag curry

Delicious! Dig in!!

If you like this saag 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
Chilli garlic sauce
Pathia sauce
Jalfrezi sauce
Keema sauce
Bhuna sauce
Methi sauce
Madras sauce
Vindaloo sauce
Phaal sauce

Yield: 1 - 2

Saag Sauce

saag sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 110g (1/4 lb) baby spinach leaves
  • 3 green bird's eye chillies - roughly chopped
  • 1 handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 2 tbsp ghee or rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1/2 onion - finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp coriander (cilantro) stalks
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp mixed powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) tomato puree
  • 250ml (1 cup) base sauce
  • 1 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste


  1. I start by preparing the spinach.
  2. Place all of the spinach, chillies, coriander and lemon juice in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. You may need to add just a bit of water to do this. Set aside.
  3. Now heat the ghee/oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium heat.
  4. When hot, add the chopped onions and fry for about 15 minutes until translucent and soft but not overly browned.
  5. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and allow to sizzle for about 30 seconds.
  6. Pour in the cumin, coriander powder, garam masala and red chilli powder and stir to combine.
  7. Remove the fried onions from the pan and blend until smooth with the tomatoes.
  8. Pour the onion sauce back into the pan and add the lamb pieces.
  9. Cook for about 40 minutes until the meat is nice an tender. Ad the base sauce gradually, stirring in the caramelized parts on the side as you go. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  10. To finish, add the spinach puree you made earlier and stir it into the red curry. I love watching the green and red ingredients blend. It makes me hungry!
  11. Cook for a further two more minutes minutes.
  12. Check for seasoning and add the salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Just before serving, add the yogurt one tablespoon at a time stirring it into the sauce.
  14. Stir in the lime juice and serve.

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


Saturday 19th of March 2022

Hi - You're a Curry Master for sure! :-D Just a couple of Q's please...the ingredients say "lemon juice" but the recipe says "lime juice"...which one! Also, the ingredients list has leaves and stalks of fresh coriander but I'm just wondering if they BOTH go in with the spinach blend? Thanks Chef.

Dan Toombs

Saturday 19th of March 2022

Thanks for your message! You could actually use lemon or lime juice but thanks for noticing, I will change the recipe to lemon juice. You can use the stalks and leaves of the coriander in the spinach blend. Thanks again Dan


Saturday 18th of September 2021

Excellent recipe. Made with swiss chard and some chicken breast chunks but would be excellent with lamb, paneer or even tofu or cashews for vegans. The flavour is vey good and it will be handy to have the sauce base frozen in 1 C portions for future dishes. Will be back to browse your other recipes. Cheers!

Dan Toombs

Friday 24th of September 2021

Thank you very much for your feedback. I agree with your suggestions, all sounds good. Dan


Saturday 21st of August 2021

Hi, I can't see how much meat goes into this recipe?

Dan Toombs

Sunday 22nd of August 2021

This is just the recipe for the sauce. You can add whatever meat or paneer cheese you choose. Here is my recipe for chicken saag if that helps:

Thanks Dan


Thursday 8th of April 2021

Can’t wait to try this as I love several of your other recipes, but in what step do you add the base sauce? I couldn’t see it in the instructions. Thanks!

Dan Toombs

Friday 9th of April 2021

Sorry about that, I have amended the recipe. Add the base sauce in step 9 after you have cooked the meat for 40 minutes. Thanks Dan


Sunday 7th of February 2021

Preparing spinach . What exactly does that mean .? I’ve got a mixture of fresh baby spinach and tin of spinach purée. I’ve used many of your recipes over the years and am a great fan of the curry guy

Dan Toombs

Monday 8th of February 2021

Hi Just put your fresh spinach and you tinned in the food processor as instructions in step 2. I am glad you are enjoying my recipes. Thanks Dan

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