Staple Curry Sauce

    45 mins

    Better than a takeaway - this fragrant, rich and versatile sauce includes spices like coriander, cumin and turmeric, along with the requisite garlic and ginger, all stirred with a purée of tomatoes, chillies and yoghurt. Mix with your favourite meat or vegetables, and serve with basmati rice and naan.

    48 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 30 ml peanut oil
    • 15 g margarine
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 6 g minced fresh ginger root
    • 15 g minced garlic
    • 2 g ground cinnamon
    • 2 g ground black pepper
    • 10 g ground coriander
    • 10 g ground cumin
    • 0.6 g ground turmeric
    • 2 g cayenne pepper
    • 2 tomatoes
    • 2 serrano chile peppers, seeded
    • 25 g fresh cilantro
    • 120 ml yogurt, whisked until smooth
    • 710 ml water

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:45min 

    1. Heat oil and butter in a small frying pan or wok over medium high heat. Add onion and stir fry until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. (Note: This is an important step; if onion is not cooked well, sauce will taste funny.)
    2. Add ginger and garlic to onion and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Blend onion, ginger and garlic in food processor until smooth. Do not rinse food processor.
    3. Place onion mixture in a large saucepan. Stir in the cinnamon, black pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper, and cook over low heat until mixture is thick and has the consistency of a paste.
    4. Purée tomatoes, chillies and coriander in food processor until smooth. Add to onion mixture and stir well over low heat, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Gradually add yoghurt, stirring constantly to avoid curdling.
    5. Purée the mixture in the food processor for a velvety smooth sauce. Return to saucepan, add water and increase heat to high; bring sauce to a gentle boil. Cover saucepan and boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer until desired consistency is reached.
    6. This sauce can be served with meat, vegetables or a combination of both. To serve with meat, add pre-cooked meat of your choice and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes in the sauce before serving over basmati rice or with naan bread.
    7. To serve with vegetables, steam raw veggies first for 4 to 5 minutes, then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes in the sauce before serving.

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    Reviews in English (55)


    Tasty sauce. Definitely an undertaking, both in terms of time and mess, but worth it. I finished in about 90 minutes, but the majority of that was simmering time, including 30 minutes at the end. I used canned tomatoes and prepared ginger and garlic to save chopping time. The tip about cooking the onions for a LONG time is right on target; the first time I made this recipe I didn't brown them enough, and the sauce tasted like raw onions. The second time I browned the onions VERY well and was rewarded with a very mellow flavor. As for additional seasoning, while there IS a curry plant with leaves that are used in Asian cooking, "curry powder" is simply a mixture of many of the spices already used in this recipe (cumin, coriander, turmeric, etc.) I didn't add any salt to the sauce, but I served the meal with the salt shaker so everyone could salt to taste.  -  07 Dec 2002  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    Shouldn't a curry recipe contain curry? It's not on the list of ingredients; maybe this is what others sense is 'missing'. I have toyed around with this recipe several times & I have always added about 1T of curry powder (as well as salt) with a very good result, it's even better the next day.  -  11 Nov 2002  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    This sauce is excellent! It is the same recipe my boyfriend, who is Pakistani, uses. I'd recommend adding a teaspoon of salt. I left in the seeds from the chiles, and it is really spicy.  -  07 Jun 2001  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)