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Indian Inspired Spicy BBQ Sauce

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This spicy BBQ sauce is so good!

With a few exceptions, this is the spicy BBQ sauce I have been making for three decades.

The original recipe ticked all the boxes so I never saw the need to change it. While working on my latest cookbook, however I decided to move away from my comfort zone a bit and did just that.

Good news is, I was very happy with the results!

spicy bbq sauce

Try this! You can serve it as is or blend it for a smoother bbq sauce.

How to use this spicy bbq sauce…

You can use this spicy BBQ sauce with any recipe that calls for barbecue sauce.

It can be used to marinate chicken, meats, seafood and vegetables and also served as a dipping sauce.

How is this different to other popular spicy bbq sauce recipes?

Not a lot really. I did add some popular ingredients that are used a lot in Indian barbecue such as curry leaves, tamarind and mustard seeds.

The thing is, so many of the ingredients used in Indian cuisine are also popular in the west. In fact, chillies, tomatoes, and bell peppers, now common in Indian cuisine and spicy bbq sauce recipes originated in the Americas.

Coriander, a must in many Indian recipes originated in Italy.

Forward preparation

I always have some of this spicy bbq sauce on hand these days.

You can make it and forget it. Just place it in the fridge as it will last for months.

It’s great to have at the ready for that last minute barbecue.

Step by step photos…

Infusing spices in oil

Add the mustard seeds to the hot oil. When they begin to crackle, reduce the heat a bit and add the cumin seeds and curry leaves.

Frying vegetables

Stir in the onions, bell peppers and chillies of your choice.

adding mustard and ketchup to sauce

Add the remaining ingredients.

Adding tamarind concentrate

I add the tamarind to taste. It gives a nice, sour flavour. Simmer for about 15 minutes to thicken and use as is or blended for a smoother sauce.

While you’re here, why not check out some of my barbecue recipes?

Lamb seekh kebabs
Chicken seekh kebabs
Chicken and lamb seekh kebabs
Cheesy lamb seekh kebabs
Spicy lamb burra kebabs
Stuffed potato kebabs
Homemade karahi naans

Yield: 1.5 liters (6 cups)

Indian Inspired BBQ Sauce

spicy bbq sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 70ml (1/4 cup) rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 30 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 2 brown onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, very finely chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 green bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped, more or less to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger, finely chopped
  • 800g (2 ½ cups) tinned (canned) plum tomatoes
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) Dejon mustard (optional)
  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • 200ml (3/4 cup) Worcestershire sauce
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) hot pepper sauce, Any, I use Frank’s
  • 2 tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) molasses
  • 100g (½ cup) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder (choose one you like), more or less to taste
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 ts ground coriander
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 15g (1/4 cup) coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When visibly hot, add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves.
  2. Swirl it all around in the oil and then add the chopped onions and bell pepper. Sprinkle with the salt and fry, stirring regularly for about 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and lightly golden in colour.
  3. Add the chillies, garlic and ginger and fry for a further minute. Then add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Taste it and add salt and pepper to taste. It should be sweet, sour and a little spicy.
  5. This is the time make this recipe your own by adjusting the flavour by adding more of the sour, sweet and spicy ingredients if you like. Just be sure to keep the savoury, sweet and sour flavours in balance.
  6. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use. It keeps indefinitely in the fridge.


Throw in a few minced habanero chillies to taste. These are good not just for spicing it up but also add an amazing flavour.

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