This has to be the best curry base gravy (sauce) I’ve ever made!
One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard over the years since starting my blog is that you have to make the curry base gravy before starting to cook an authentic curry house style curry.
Really? It only takes about an hour and most of the work is passive cooking so it isn’t a lot of fuss.
That said, this delicious base sauce recipe might be more convenient for those who like to cook on the barbecue.
You wouldn’t find the following method of cooking curry base gravy in any restaurants but it works magnificently well!
This curry base gravy is so convenient.
You can make this curry base sauce anytime you light up your barbecue. You don’t even have to be cooking a curry though they are better when cooked over hot coals.
Just place the onions and other veggies in the embers while you cook up whatever it is you’re cooking and then add water or stock, the spices and blend. Easy!
The idea behind this curry base gravy recipe…
I’m currently writing a barbecue cookbook which will be our in April 2022. So I have been grilling and barbecuing a lot in order to test recipes.
The reason the base sauce ingredients are normally simmered in water or stock for a long period of time is to bring out the natural sweetness of the vegetables. This you can only achieve with a long, slow cook.
Onions and vegetables cooked in the embers of your fire get the perfect flavour. In fact, they are slightly smoky, just like the sauces you get at restaurants that cook over coals or in a charcoal fuelled tandoor.
When you go to blend these ember cooked ingredients, they are already cooked to perfection.
That’s not the only benefit of cooking outdoors.
Normally when you make a curry house style curry, you need to prepare not only the base gravy but also cook up some pre-cooked meat.
When you cook your curries outside, you can grill your tandoori meats and/or vegetables at the same time you are making your different curry sauces.
Then just add these grilled ingredients to your sauce and it’s ready to serve. The cooking heat over fire is much closer to those at restaurants than you can normally achieve on your stove too.
Please don’t use quick light charcoal or petroleum fire starters for this curry base gravy recipe!
Yes it’s convenient but it will ruin the flavour. Think of your charcoal or wood as an ingredients. Only the best will do.
I use restaurant grade lumpwood and natural wood charcoal briquettes from Big K. Build the fire using natural fire starters and you will be amazed at the superior results.
Step by step photos.
Other uses for these cooked onions…
Even if you’re not making curry base gravy, these fall part soft, sweet and buttery onions are great served as a side dish too. Fry them whole in a little butter and herbs and serve them with whatever you’re cooking.
Here are curry house curry favourites you might like to try with this curry base gravy!
- 4 large onions
- 15 garlic cloves in their skin
- 1 x 5cm (2 inch) ginger, sliced thinly
- ½ carrot, sliced thinly
- ½ yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
- ½ red bell pepper, sliced thinly
- 3 medium tomatoes
- ½ tsp salt
- 125ml (1/2 cup) rapeseed (canola) oil or ghee
- 1 tbsp each, paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- Build a fire for direct heat cooking. When the coals have ashed over and are really hot, place the onions, in their skins directly on the coals. They will take about 40 to 60 minutes to cook and you will need to turn them from time to time.
- The onions are ready when they are totally black on the exterior and so soft you can stick a fork in without any resistance.
- Meanwhile, place the remaining vegetables on a large piece of foil and mix them with half of the oil/melted ghee and sprinkle with salt.
- Wrap tightly with the foil and then wrap it all up again with two pieces of foil so that it is three sheets thick. Place the vegetable pack right down in the embers with the onions. It is important that you watch this and put out any big flames as these will penetrate and burn the vegetables.
- These vegetable will take about 40 minutes to cook and yes, you can cook other things while the onions and packet vegetables are cooking.
- When the onions and vegetables are soft and cooked through, remove the onion skins and shop the onions up some.
- I like a bit of smoky char in my sauce but you can always wash the cooked onions if you don’t.
- Pour the remaining oil into a large saucepan and add the cooked onions and veggies along with the ground spices and kasoori methi and stir well.
- If using immediately, add a litre of water and bring to a rolling simmer right over the fire. Blend it all until smooth with a stick or countertop blender.
- It will probably still be quite thick. To add to your curries, it needs to be thin like full fat milk so add more water or stock as required.
- This sauce will keep in the fridge for about 3 days and it can be frozen in small portions for 6 months.