Restaurant Style Curry Sauce

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This is the basis for many of the restaurant-style curries you'll find. The recipe makes between 8 and 9 fl oz of Sauce which is enough for 2 main course curries or a main course and some side dishes. The recipe doesn't work as well if you try to make a smaller portion. It will double nicely if you're making a number of curries but you will need to extend the cooking time a bit. If you have some sauce left over it will keep in good condition in the freezer but only for a few weeks. Even small amounts are useful for making a quick one-portion curry, it goes a long way. Remember to wrap it up well or your ice-cream may take on a strange taste!

Preparation Time: 
5-10 mins.
Cooking Time: 
50 mins.
see description

3 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter)
1 medium onion - finely chopped
4 cloves garlic - peeled and sliced
1.5 inch piece root ginger - peeled and thinly sliced (it should look about the same volume as the garlic)
(optional) 2 mild fleshy green chillies - de-seeded and veined then chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
half teaspoon turmeric powder
half teaspoon ground cumin seed
half teaspoon ground coriander seed
(optional) chili powder to taste
5 tablespoons plain tomato pur?e or 1 tablespoon tomato paste mixed with 4 tablespoons water


1. Heat the oil in a heavy pan then add the chopped onion and stir for a few minutes with the heat on high.

2. Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli (if using). Stir for 30 seconds then put the heat down to very low.

3. Cook for 15 minutes stirring from time to time making sure nothing browns or burns.

4. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, curry powder, and chili powder (if using) and cook, still very gently, for a further 5 minutes. Don't burn the spices or the sauce will taste horrid - sprinkle on a few drops of water if you're worried.

5. Take off the heat and cool a little. Put 1/2 cup cold water in a blender, add the contents of the pan and blend until very smooth. Add the tomato pur?e (or paste) and stir.

6. Put the pur?ed mixture back into the pan and cook for 20 - 30 minutes (the longer the better) over very low heat stirring occasionally. You can add a little hot water if it starts to catch on the pan but the idea is to gently ""fry"" the sauce which will darken in colour to an orangy brown. The final texture should be something like good tomato ketchup. Warning - it WILL gloop occasionally and splatter over your stove, it's the price you have to pay!

*NOTE* Try experimenting with different kinds of curry powder until you find the one you like and add chili powder to make it as spicy as you wish.

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