Makes about 600–800ml sauce (enough for 4-6 curries)
The Base Curry Sauce is your key to making most of your favourite restaurant-style curries, including Madras, Vindaloo, Tikka Masala, Dopiaza, Dhansak and Bombay Potato. Restaurant chefs make a huge pot of it every night and when the orders start coming in they turn to the pot and with a few additions – a bit of spice here, some onion, some pepper, a bit more spice there – your favourite curries are created. Think of the Base Curry Sauce, also called Base Curry Gravy or Basic Curry Sauce, as the essential building block to all those delicious curries.
What you need…
• 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 Tablespoon garlic paste
• 1 Tablespoon ginger paste
• 500g onions, finely chopped (about 2 large onions)
• 200g chopped tomatoes (fresh or tinned)
• 1 small handful chopped coriander
• 1 teaspoon salt
• Water, as required
• 1 Tablespoon mild curry powder
• 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon vinegar
How to make it…
1. Heat the oil in a pan. While it is heating up add the vinegar and little water to the Spice Mix to create a sloppy paste.
2. Add the cumin seeds to the ghee and fry for 10 seconds. They should sizzle immediately. You can test it is hot enough by adding one seed.
3. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for two minutes on a lower heat. You may have to remove the pan from the heat initially to stop the paste burning. (If it burns throw it away and start again.)
4. Add the Spice Mix and stir fry for another 3 minutes. It should now be thick and gloopy.
5. Add the onion, some water and cover the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Add the tomato and coriander and stir well. Use a hand blender to mash the mixture into a creamy puree. It should be the consistency of an apple sauce.
7. Add the salt and cook for another 10 minutes. Add enough water to keep the sauce the correct consistency.