Base gravy

For British Restaurant Style curries – a fragrant sauce that uplifts the normal ‘curry’; it creates the proper curry sauce! My secret of big batch cooking or making food in large quantities and it has a load of secret vegetables.

This recipe makes 4 litres of gravy, sufficent for 6-8 curries.

8 large onions

6 medium size carrots

3-4 tomatoes

1 green pepper

1 red pepper

Roughly chop these up and set aside

In a large stockpot, heat 1/2 cup veg oil and to this add one by one, stirring after each addition.

1 tbsp ginger grated

1 tbsp garlic minced

2 bay leaves

10 black peppercorns

1 inch piece cinnamon or cassia bark

4 cloves

6 green cardamoms

2 black cardamoms

1 tbsp fennel seeds

2 star anise

Add 1 cup water to prevent the spices from burning, and add the following:-

2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp curry powder (medium)

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

1.5 tbsp coriander powder

Mix this well and to this add a can of chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp tomato puree and 2 tsp salt.

Add the chopped vegetables and 2 litres water. Adjust water to how thick you would like the gravy sauce, as I like mine thicker so I can thin it out when I’m cooking the curry.

Cover the pot and let this boil till the vegetables get soft. When you press a carrot against the side of the pot, it should easily mash. Remove from heat, and sieve out the large whole spices like the bay leaves, the black cardamoms, star anise and cinnamon. Let the gravy cool down a little and then blitz, using a hand blender. The gravy will be shiny and smooth.

This gravy will transform your curries to make them restaurant style with all the goodness!

How to use?

Since this is like a finishing off sauce, you make your normal base of onions, ginger garlic as you would for your curry, add the spice and the meat or veg. As soon as the meat is cooked, stir in the base gravy and let it come to a boil, before checking the final seasoning of your curry.

For big batch cooking, I make an onion base, cook the vegetables/paneer/meat separately, a base gravy and a tomato puree base. I combine these with spices to create a number of curries, each one tasting different and it would be impossible to guess that the base gravy was the same. This base gravy brings that restaurant flavour and shine that you don’t normally get at home.

How to store?

It stores well in the freezer. I like to keep mine a little thick, so it takes less freezer space and I can always add water to thin it out. Stays in freezer happily for 3 months.

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