Curry Base Sauce - Learn To Make Indian Curry Base Sauce From Scratch (2022)

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Those of you who cook curries at home religiously know, that the curry base sauce is the key to mastering any curry recipe. I’ve been wondering for years how to make the perfect curry base sauce from scratch to make my curries as authentically delicious as possible.

Curry Base Sauce - Learn To Make Indian Curry Base Sauce From Scratch (1)

Finally, I can say that I have mastered this surprisingly easy recipe! Yes, with this base curry sauce recipe, you too can make your own restaurant-style curries at home! What’s best is that this base sauce actually works with all sorts of curries.

Trust me, you will never make the same mistakes I did when you make your curry recipes at home. From now on, you’ll always have this reference point which will lead you in the best possible direction when it comes to making amazing curries.

This BIR (British Indian Restaurant) curry base sauce is truly a life saver in many ways!

how to make curry base sauce from scratch

Ever since I mastered this curry base sauce, I’ve been cooking more and more curries. I find it really fun mastering the classic (British Indian Restaurant) BIR curry base sauce.

Naturally, when you master this base sauce, you’ll soon discover that all your curry recipes taste incredible and authentic. There’ll be no more need to go out to a restaurant to have a gourmet-style curry prepared in an authentic way.

You too can do the same in the comfort of your own kitchen and enjoy your own fakeaway.

At least, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll never purchase curry sauce out of a jar. Ever again! Basically, this concept is the same for all curries around the world.


For example, if you master your Thai curry sauce and know exactly the difference between red curry vs green curry, then you’ll never buy the jar stuff.

You’ll always want to make curry sauce or curry paste from scratch because you know it doesn’t taste the same at all!

base sauce recipe

So, I am just letting you know. Once you start making your own curry base sauce from scratch, it will be very hard for you to go back or do otherwise.

Trust me, I’ve learned from experience after mastering the ultimate korma curry paste. I’ve never been able to eat a korma curry out of a jar.

True story! So, in the end you will also become much more demanding when it comes to eating curries.

In either case, once you master this sauce recipe, it will save you tons of money on takeout and you’ll really enjoy making curries. No more takeouts at British Indian restaurants!

You will be forever known among your friends as the ultimate curry master. My guess is, you will in either case prefer to eat your own curry at home, instead of takeout. Indeed, making curry sauce from scratch has this effect.

BIR curry base sauce

So, what do you think about my BIR (British Indian Restaurant) style curry base sauce? As you know, each British Indian restaurant has its own curry base sauce.

This of course is what makes each restaurant shine. If they have a really good base sauce, then all their curries are delicious!

However, as I mentioned above, my guess is that you will prefer making your own sauce from scratch, simply because you can control the amounts of your favourite ingredients.

base sauce – small batch

Although, this curry base sauce recipe is quite appropriate when it comes to portion size (1 takeaway-style curry), you can easily scale up! If you a restaurateur, you can easily make 3-5 large batches with this recipe.

(Video) Curry Base Recipe | Curry Base for 80% of Curries | All Purpose Curry Base Masala Recipe

All you need to do is to scale up. In fact, I recommend that you, too, make a large batch, because this sauce can be used with almost any curry.

Just freeze and reuse when needed or when you feel like eating some Indian. Again, you won’t find any other substitute out there for a large batch of curry that has simmered and cooked to the utmost perfection.

Think of mastering a curry base sauce like a good chicken or beef stock recipe. They too make up some incredible sauces.

So, it’s always a good idea to have a fresh batch somewhere in the kitchen. You never know what you’ll need it for!

restaurant–style base curry sauce

For making a restaurant-style curry base, the hero ingredients are always the fresh spices! Most British Indian restaurants understand this very well, so they try to source as much fresh produce as possible.

So, before you give this base sauce a try, make sure you have some of the key spices in your kitchen cupboard. Some of the spices you might need to find in your kitchen include:

  • turmeric – or try these turmeric substitutes
  • smoked paprika – or try these smoked paprika substitutes
  • paprika – or try these paprika substitutes
  • coriander powder – or try these coriander substitutes
  • cumin powder
  • fenugreek seeds

Luckily, the substitutes for the key ingredients are quite effective, so if you haven’t got the key ingredients at hand, go for the best alternative.

Also, if you want to really make a traditional base sauce, then use ghee instead of vegetable oil. You can easily make your own ghee at home.

Recipes using British Indian restaurant base curry sauce

You can easily use this sauce as a base for multiple curries. Some of these include:

  • chicken pasanda
  • beef madras
  • chicken dhansak
  • lamb pasanda
  • lamb korma
  • lamb tikka masala
  • lamb jalfrezi
  • beef korma
  • fish korma

Other curries you might like

  • simple chicken curry – just what you need to make an authentic Indian chicken curry
  • beef kofta curry – works very well here too
  • achar gosht – so delicious, try it!
  • lamb bhuna – if you want to add more spice
  • potato and egg curry – you can make this curry more creamy with the base sauce

So, as you can see, there is a lot this British Indian restaurant curry base can do for you. It has the undeniable ability to spice up your curry.

Plus, my favourite part being, it will help you whip up a quick and authentic curry in no time at all.

(Video) How to Make INDIAN CURRY BASE GRAVY British Restaurant Style (BIR)

What is your favourite British Indian Restaurant dish?


Curry Base Sauce - Learn To Make Indian Curry Base Sauce From Scratch (2)

Curry Base Sauce

★★★★★5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1.5L (6 cups), enough for 3 curries serving 4, respectively 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Master the making of a British Indian restaurant curry base sauce from scratch. After this recipe, you will never go back to the jar stuff again. Enjoy!

(Video) one curry base - 20 plus indian curry recipes | hotel style all-purpose curry base gravy recipe



  • 60ml (4 tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 5 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, all cloves peeled
  • 10cm (4in) fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 green pepper, washed and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, washed and chopped
  • 400g (1 can) chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml (2 cups) water
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) curry powder
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) ground cumin
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) ground coriander
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) ground turmeric
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) ground fenugreek
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) smoked paprika


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  2. Gently fry the onions for 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger and carrots. Stir. Fry for another 5 minutes.
  4. Place the rest of the ingredients in the pot, ensuring the water cover most of the contents. If not, top up slowly until it does.
  5. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked and tender.
  6. Place the contents in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  7. Use immediately in a curry, store in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze the curry base sauce in batches.


  • I prepared 4 times the above quantity in a huge pot and now have lots of sauce stored in batches in my freezer. This will definitely make my life easier in the future when I need a curry fix as soon as possible!
  • Roughly speaking, this recipe yields 1.65kg (6 cups) of curry base sauce. On average, you use 500ml (2 cups) of it in a curry, which means for 1 batch you’ll be able to prepare 3 different curries serving 4.
  • If you’re struggling to get hold of any fenugreek, check out these fenugreek substitutes!
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: Indian
(Video) Restaurant Style Easy Curry Sauce recipe | Basic Onion Tomato Gravy | Curry Sauce Recipe Hindi Urdu

Keywords: curry base sauce, curry base recipe, British Indian restaurant recipe, Indian curry recipe

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Curry Base Sauce - Learn To Make Indian Curry Base Sauce From Scratch (3)


What is base for curry made of? ›

🔪 How to make this Indian Base Gravy

Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, ground coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, pepper, cardamom and tomato puree and stir together. Add chopped red and green bell pepper, chopped carrot and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Stir and bring to the boil, then simmer for 1 hour.

What is Indian curry sauce made of? ›

Basic Indian Curry Sauce is an aromatic, flavorful and versatile base for many Indian curries, lentils and rice dishes. It is made from onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and spices, which are the base for more Indian dishes.

What is Indian cooking base? ›

Ginger and Garlic Paste – Curries are an integral part of Indian cuisine and at the base of these delicious meals is none other than ginger and garlic paste. Today, ready to use ginger and garlic pastes are available in the market which makes the entire cooking process more convenient.

How is Indian curry made? ›

Indian curry is largely considered a British fusion, and typically incorporates a blend of toasted spices ground into a powder, called masalas. These curries are water- or broth-based, sometimes thickened with yogurt or sour cream. Thai curry often calls for a wet curry paste and use coconut milk or coconut cream.

What is the main spice in Indian curry? ›

Curries, dal, and many other Indian dishes have coriander seeds as their base spice mostly because of the way it helps hold the gravy together. You can buy coriander seeds or in powder form.

How do you make curry taste like a restaurant? ›

A couple of suggestions that seem to work for me:
  1. Marinade the meat in spices before cooking.. ...
  2. Blend onions in a food processor until smooth(ish). ...
  3. Use lemon juice to taste. ...
  4. In addition to 2, and depending on the type of curry you are making fry chopped onions for a long time, until they are golden brown.

What are the 3 sauces at Indian restaurants? ›

The three sauces at Indian restaurants most commonly served are a green sauce, brown sauce and a red sauce. In order these are, mint cilantro chutney, tamarind chutney and garlic chutney. They cover the notes of a savory chutney, a sweet/sour chutney and a spicy chutney.

What makes Indian curry different? ›

Indian curry starts with dry spices whereas Thai curry starts with a paste. To make an Indian curry, most chefs will start by heating oil in a pan then adding a combination of dry spices and toasting them until fragrant. Most Indian dishes include cumin seeds, cinnamon, coriander powder, turmeric, and red chili powder.

What are the 7 Indian spices? ›

Spices are being used as staple dietary additives since long time in India. The study explores the seven spices that include cumin, clove, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, fenugreek, and cardamom on the basis of culinary uses as well as medical uses.

What are the 6 Indian spices? ›

6 of the Best Indian Food Spices to Use When Cooking
  • Turmeric. Turmeric is one of the most common Indian spices that you'll find in almost all Indian kitchens. ...
  • Coriander Seeds. ...
  • Cumin. ...
  • Cayenne Pepper. ...
  • Mustard Seed. ...
  • Cardamom. ...
  • Other Honorable Mentions.
16 Jan 2021

What makes a perfect curry? ›

The complex flavours of curries are governed by just three things: generous spicing; onion, ginger and garlic done just right; and something to give it body.

What gives curry its flavor? ›

A curry mix has a warm, robust spicy taste as a result of combining roasted and grounded coriander seeds, turmeric, cumin and chili peppers. Other spices commonly found within the blend are fenugreek, clove, mustard, black pepper, nutmeg or ginger.

What is a curry sauce? ›

Curry Sauces vs.

Curry paste is basically a mixture of various dry spices and fresh herbs all combined in a food processor or pestle & mortar to make a thick spice paste.

How do you make the best curry flavor? ›

Sizzle your spice:

Kick off your curry by heating whole spices in hot oil to unleash their flavor. Choose from cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and seeds for the perfect base to your dish. Fresh spices are the best choice and will keep for longer in the freezer.

What are the 7 curry? ›

A famed tradition Indo-Guyana is 7 curry. It is generally served in a water-lily leaf, and is rice with seven different curries, which are traditionally pumpkin, bagee (spinach), catahar, potato/ channa (chick peas), balange (eggplant), edoe, and dahl.

Which three spices are used by all Indians? ›

Pepper, turmeric, cardamom, and cumin are some examples of Indian spices.
  • Turmeric powder, mustard seeds, chili powder, cumin seeds.
  • Spices at a Goa market.
  • Indian spices with labels (garam masala components)

What curry is best for beginners? ›

Kang Keaw Wan Kai (sweet green curry with chicken) is a great starting point for beginners. Red curry is usually made from dried red chiles, along with spices like coriander, cumin, and turmeric. It's very versatile and can include a wide range of proteins and vegetables.

What makes Indian food taste like Indian food? ›

Indian food is always hailed for its colorful curries and complex flavors. With its use of cumin, tamarind, pepper, and other powerful spicy ingredients ensuing taste combinations unlike anything found around the globe.

What are the 5 essential sauces? ›

The five French mother sauces are béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomato. Developed in the 19th century by French chef Auguste Escoffier, mother sauces serve as a starting point for a variety of delicious sauces used to complement countless dishes, including veggies, fish, meat, casseroles, and pastas.

What is the most popular sauce in India? ›

Chutney. Chutney is probably the most popular of the Indian sauces. There are many combinations of the spicy or sweet condiment. You can prepare it as smooth and creamy or thick and chunky.

How do you make Indian curry taste better? ›

Kick off your curry by heating whole spices in hot oil to unleash their flavour. Choose from cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and seeds for the perfect base to your dish. Fresh spices are the best choice and will keep for longer in the freezer.

What makes Indian curry yellow? ›

Whether you make your own curry spice mixes or pastes, turmeric is often an ingredient called for. Many curry recipes use not only the prepared curry spice mix or paste, but additional fresh or ground turmeric powder. This results in the curry having that golden color that makes the dish so attractive.

Why is Indian curry so good? ›

Indian food is lauded for its curries, mouth-burning spices and complex flavor pairings. With its use of cardamom, cayenne, tamarind and other pungent ingredients, the resulting taste combinations are unlike anything found elsewhere around the world.

What spice gives curry its smell? ›

Fenugreek (Methi)

This Indian spice is what people say "smells like curry." Of all Indian spices, this spice may be the most essential. You may use up to a few tablespoons in a family size dish near the end of the cooking process, but start with a teaspoon.

What is the 9 Indian spices? ›

9 Indian spices you should use in your cooking
  • HALDI (TURMERIC) This golden spice is known for its anti-oxidant and antiinflammatory powers. ...
  • LONG (CLOVE) ...
  • AJWAIN (CAROM) ...
6 Dec 2015

What is the base of curry powder? ›

Curry powders usually consist of turmeric, cumin, ginger, and black pepper. Some blends also incorporate garlic and cinnamon.

What is the base of Thai curry? ›

As you can see in the image above, most Thai curries start out with a similar flavor base consisting of lemongrass, galangal, shrimp paste, and other aromatics pounded into a smooth paste. Layered on top of those ingredients are the flavors that make each curry unique.

What should curry base taste like? ›

The base of most curry mix is a blend of spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric, which gives it a warm, earthy flavor. The spice mix can make it quite fiery, or it can be milder and more fragrant. Then, depending on the region and the ingredients you use, you can add different layers of flavor.

What is the liquid part of curry called? ›

I use both 'gravy' and 'sauce' when refering to the liquid component of curries. Since gravy has such a strong association with meat/poultry (and flour) I would say sauce might be a better choice for vegetable curries.

What is the secret to a good curry? ›

Sizzle your spice:

Kick off your curry by heating whole spices in hot oil to unleash their flavour. Choose from cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and seeds for the perfect base to your dish. Fresh spices are the best choice and will keep for longer in the freezer.

What is all base seasoning? ›

Often made with a combination of salt, pepper, dried garlic, dried onion, dried herbs, and savory spices, these blends can be used to season everything from burgers and chicken breasts to potatoes to shrimp.

What are base spices? ›

  • Bay leaves. These aromatic, woodsy-tasting leaves are typically sold dried. ...
  • Black peppercorns. A must-have for their slight pungency. ...
  • Cayenne pepper. Made from a small, spicy red pepper, this is the foundation of many bottled hot sauces. ...
  • Chili powder. ...
  • Cinnamon, ground. ...
  • Cloves, ground. ...
  • Cream of tartar. ...
  • Cumin, ground.
10 Sept 2022

What is the difference between Thai curry and Indian curry? ›

Thai curries have a brighter flavor and soupier consistency, because they use lots of fresh herbs and are cooked for less time than Indian curries. It's worth your time stocking up on some of the unique ingredients — you can freeze herbs like lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves for multiple future uses.

Is Thai curry same as Indian? ›

While Thai curry and Indian curry share some common ingredients such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, cilantro, they are quite different apart from that. Thai curry heavily relies on the usage of coconut milk, whereas the Indian curry is about the sauciness and spiciness.

What are the three types of curry? ›

There are three main types of Thai curries—red, yellow, and green—which are categorized by the color of the curry paste. The color of the chilies and other ingredients gives each curry its distinct hue. Traditionally, all Thai curries were made with the same ingredients except for one thing: the chilies.

What makes curry sauce bitter? ›

Your curry can taste bitter if the spices and garlic are burnt or if you've added too much fenugreek to the dish. You see, the secret to cooking a delicious curry recipe is to create a spicy paste and slowly cook it before adding your meat.

What is traditional curry? ›

In its simplest form, curry is an Indian gravy or sauce that is used in tandem with meat, tofu, or vegetables. It's served rice, most popularly Basmati rice, and contains many different kinds of spices. Depending on what your recipe calls for, you could have a mild curry or a curry that's super spicy.

What Herb is sprinkled on curry? ›

Coriander, whether fresh or ground, is one of the most essential herb ingredients for Indian cooking. It's used in everything from curries, stews and stir fries, to spice blends, marinades, dressings and even Indian sweets.


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