British Indian Restaurant style base curry gravy

Hello all. So, I’ve been experimenting a lot with curry cooking the way it’s done in British Indian Restaurants. These dishes have a unique taste and texture of their own, distinct from traditional Indian and Pakistani cooking. I expect this has come about from a requirement to rapidly produce a wide range of dishes in as short a time as possible.

Using this “base gravy” as a stock allows you to produce a huge variety of curries just by changing the ingredients in the basic masala (spice mix) you start with. Anyhoo, here’s how the gravy is put together.

First bit:

  • 1.5kg brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • 100-125g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • Half of a large green pepper, roughly chopped.
  • 100g potato, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • 80g ginger & garlic paste.
  • 1.5 tsp salt.

In a large pan (a pressure cooker works well – you’ll need a minimum of 5 litres), heat 200ml oil on a medium high heat. Add all of the above to the oil and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover and turn down low. The aim here is to simmer gently for an hour, until everything starts to disintegrate. Stick your nose in it – it should have a gentle sweet smell.

Second bit:

Turn the heat up to medium and add:

  • 2 tablespoons of mix powder
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala

Cook in the spices for a minute or so, stirring constantly to make sure they don’t burn. Next add:

  • 160g double concentrated tomato puree
  • 40g creamed coconut block (or 80ml coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery or brown sugar
  • 2 litres of water

Bring to the boil then put the cover back on and turn down to low. Simmer for about an hour. 15 minutes before the end, add a handful (a generous one, in my opinion) of chopped coriander stalks. About 50g. Or the stalks and the leaves. Whatever, but DEFINITELY the stalks – that’s where the flavour is.

You have an immersion “gravy gun” style blender, yes? Stick it in there and blend until it’s as smooth as you can get it.

You now want to simmer for another 30 minutes. Yes, I know this is a long-ass recipe (2.5 hours cooking so far, never mind the prep), but it freezes well and you’re making enough for a good dozen curries.

This base gravy is double concentrated. Before use, you’ll want to dilute it a bit. I generally portion it up as is in takeaway sized tubs. When it’s time to use, I add another takeaway tub of water to the gravy to thin it. This generally makes two single portions of curry.





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