Base curry sauce (large batch)

Base curry sauce (large batch)

large batch

The Curry Guy
6 litres or enough for 22–24 servings

This smooth curry sauce ‘gravy’, more than any other ingredient, is what gives British Indian restaurant (BIR) style curries their distinctive flavour and texture. If you have a six-litre stockpot, it’s the perfect size for this large batch recipe.

I like to describe the base curry sauce as a slow-cooked onion and vegetable stock. It doesn’t have a lot of flavour, although it does taste good. Rarely are chillies or chilli powder added, as the base sauce needs to be used in everything from the mildest korma to the spiciest vindaloo. The finished sauce needs to be runny like a Sunday dinner gravy or full-fat milk; it will cook down and thicken quickly as each curry is prepared over high heat.


Quantity Ingredient
2kg spanish onions (about 15), roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
225g carrots, peeled and chopped
120g cabbage, chopped
100g red pepper, deseeded and diced
100g green pepper, deseeded and diced
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
9 tablespoons Garlic and ginger paste
750ml rapeseed oil
3 tablespoons Garam masala
3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons ground coriander
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground fenugreek
1 tablespoon ground turmeric


  1. Place the onions in a large 6-litre stockpot and top with the rest of the vegetables, tomatoes and garlic and ginger paste. Pour in the oil and about a litre of water. Stir to coat and place the pot over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer and then reduce to the heat to low and simmer gently, covered, for about 45 minutes.
  2. Now add another 2 litres water and stir in the spices. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes. When the oil rises to the top and your veggies are soft, you’re ready to blend. Carefully skim the seasoned oil off the top for use in your curries. It keeps indefinitely in an airtight container.
  3. Using a hand-held blender, blend for about 4 minutes until the sauce is super smooth, with no chunks and not at all grainy. This step can be done in a blender in batches, but it takes a lot more time.
  4. You will notice that the blended sauce, about 3 litres, is quite thick, perfect for storing in the fridge or freezing. When you use it in your curries, you will need to double the volume with water, or until it is about the same thickness as full-fat milk.
  5. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze in 750ml portions for up to 3 months.


  • The finished sauce ‘gravy’ is thin, just like those used at most restaurants. If your hob is not able to achieve really high heats, you might find that it is taking too long to reduce when cooking your curries. You can always add less water to your next batch if you find this to be the case, or reduce it before adding.
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