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Base Curry Sauce

Really Really Simple Base Curry Sauce

When it comes to Base Curry Sauce this is as simple as it gets! A few ingredients that you should be able to memorise and it can easily be made from start to finish in 1.5 hours (I’ve done it in less!).

This is my go to recipe for base sauce these days. A great recipe as you can get this put on and by the time you’ve done your prep for the main dish for instance, your base is cooked and ready to add.

This recipe makes enough for 4 – 6 portions of curry, depending on how saucy you like it. If you want to make more to freeze, for convenience, just double or even triple up.

What Is Curry Base Sauce?

Curry base sauce or gravy is basically a stock. The predominant ingredient is onion.

Indian restaurants they have a base sauce which is added to fried garlic, ginger, different spices (adapted for various dishes) and other ingredients.

High heat is used to quickly reduce the base sauce which results in a caramelisation of the sauce, which is where the flavour comes from. This allows the restaurants to produce many different dishes, very quickly. If they were cooking from scratch they wouldn’t be able to do that and we would be waiting an age for our curry!

Of course most people aren’t cooking for 100s of people a night. It’s still nice to be able to recreate that Indian restaurant or takeaway flavour though, isn’t it? And that is why many people in the UK make their own base sauce because who wouldn’t want that authentic Indian restaurant flavour? Especially if like me, you don’t go out for an Indian meal very often.

I’ve Made My Base… Now What?

This base curry sauce is ideal for any Indian recipe that requires a base sauce.

A good place to start would be some of the basic curries I have given on my British Indian Restaurant blog.

If you’re looking for inspiration have a look on the Facebook group The Curry Secret. A friendly group where you can discuss all things curry related.

There are many authors and You Tubers that specialise in British Indian Restaurant style cooking. Why not use this base for their recipes too.

What About The Spice Mixes?

I make a number of curry masalas that are perfect for homemade curries. They are available to buy at

Of course you could always have a go at blending spices to make your own bespoke blend.

More Recipes From ‘Ome Made

Lamb Madras

Goan Pork Vindaloo

Chicken Pathia

Chicken Jalfrezi

Mutton Curry

Chicken Tikka Masala

Really, Really Simple Base Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 31 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 people


  • 4 tbsp of oil not a strong one so vegetable, rapeseed (not cold pressed) or sunflower oil.
  • 3 large onions sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 big fat cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch cubed piece of fresh ginger
  • 3 tsp mild curry Masala ('Ome Made B.I.R Curry Masala is ideal!) or you could use 1 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander and turmeric
  • 1.2 litres of water
  • A handful of coriander stalks
  • 400 ml tin of tomatoes they get blitzed so chopped or whole


  • Heat the oil in a large pan. Once hot add the onions and salt and gently fry for 10 minutes or until the onions are starting to soften.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a couple more minutes
  • Add the curry Masala or spices, along with a splash of water. Give a quick stir and mix and then pour in the water
  • Bring to the simmer and cook for 45 minutes, lid off
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and coriander stalks
  • Bring back to the simmer and cook for another 30 minutes
  • Take the pan off the heat and blitz with an immersion blender until you have a smooth sauce
  • Put back on a low heat ready for adding to your curry. If it looks a little thick add some water. It should be slightly thicker than full fat milk.
  • Use in a curry recipe as directed.


This is so easy to adapt. Feel free to add a small amount of peppers, carrot or any of the other usual base ingredients you find in different recipes.
I have made this sauce in less time than it says, giving it 30 minutes before adding the tomatoes and coriander and then cooking for only another 20 minutes. It was still good!
Of course you could fry your ingredients off and then add to a pressure cooker or soup maker along with all the other ingredients and it will still be just as good. Just follow the cooking times for a soup.
This base works really well in a curry when you use the method of adding diluted tomato paste to you cooked out spices. For 4 people use 2 tbsp of tomato puree diluted in 300ml of boiling water. Add this to your curry when you have fried your onion, garlic, ginger and spices and let it reduce down so you’re left with a thick paste. Then you can start adding your base sauce as normal.
Keyword Base Curry Sauce, British Indian Restaurant, Curry Gravy, Indian Style, Indian Take away, Indian Takeway style curry

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Mutton Curry

Rich & Spicy Mutton Curry Recipe

I do like chicken and lamb in a curry. Sometimes though you want a more traditional dish, cooked long and slow. Mutton is ideal for this. Mutton Curry is ideal if you’re looking for an Indian dish for a special occasion. We had this dish as part of an Indian meal.

Where To Get Mutton?

It’s not something you’re going to get from the supermarket!

Ask your local butcher or get some direct from the farm yourself.

If you’re in the Sheffield area you could pay a visit to Whirlow Hall Farm Shop. It’s where we got ours from but it is advisable to give them a bell first to make sure they have some in.

Be warned though. I only went in for Mutton and make a delivery but came out with mutton and a hefty piece of Sirloin steak! It was calling me!

If you are struggling to get mutton you can use lamb, just cut down on the cooking time. You could even use chicken thigh but again decrease the cooking time further.

What Cut Of Mutton For A Mutton Curry?

This is entirely up to you. I just asked for a little over a kilo of diced. I think it was shoulder. To be honest any cut will be good enough for a mutton curry. As it needs slow cooking any fat will render down and give a lovely rich sauce. If you want a really traditional Indian dish you could of course cook the mutton on the bone. This way you will get even more flavour in your gravy.

How Spicy Is Spicy?

Most of the spice in this recipe comes from Kashmiri chilli. This recipe isn’t blow your head off spicy. It’s quite easy to adjust the spiciness by either using more chilli powder or adding more fresh chillies. I added some whole fresh birds eye chillies towards the end of cooking to give it an extra kick.

If you like the look of this curry you may want to have a look at my recipe for Lamb Madras

Rich Spicy Mutton Curry

Slow cooked diced Mutton with onions, garlic and ginger in a rich tomato & yoghurt sauce, thickened with cashew nut paste.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6



  • 1 kg mutton diced
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 3 tsp chopped ginger
  • 6 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder use 3tsp chilli powder and extra 3tsp sweet paprika if you can’t get hold of Kashmiri
  • 6 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp yoghurt


  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 onions pureed in a food processor
  • 6 cloves garlic finely chopped or grated
  • 1 inch cube piece of ginger finely chopped or grated
  • 4 tbsp of oil or ghee
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon or cassia bark
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 12 fresh curry leaves if you have them
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3 tsp tomato puree dissolved in 300ml of hot water
  • 140 g cashew nuts just covered with hot water and left to soak for 20 minutes and then blended
  • 1 tbsp of ‘Ome Made B.I.R Curry Masala (or other curry Masala)
  • 400 g tinned tomatoes pureed in a food processor with 3 red chillies (more if you like heat, or fewer for a milder curry)
  • 500 g natural plain or Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp of Kasoori methi or fenugreek leaf
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 2 tsp of ‘Ome Made Garam Masala or any other brand
  • 1 tsp of ground all spice optional
  • 1 tbsp of sugar jaggary or a dark sugar is better
  • 2 limes juice of
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Toasted almond flakes optional


  • Put the mutton to marinate overnight or for at least 3 hours.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan
  • Add the sliced onion and gently fry until brown and caramelised. Once the onion is browned remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve for later.
  • Add the curry leaves, cinnamon and star anise to the pan (careful they may splutter)
  • Add the onion puree and 1 tsp of salt. Continue to fry gently for 15 minutes
  • Add the garlic and ginger and fry gently for 30 seconds
  • Add the curry Masala and fry for 20 – 30 seconds
  • Add the mutton and any marinade, stir and let seal
  • Add the watered down tomato puree, stir and let reduce back down to a thick paste.
  • Add the blended tinned tomatoes and chillies. Bring back to a simmer
  • Add the yoghurt and cashew paste, stir and again bring back to the simmer.
  • Turn the pan down and cover with a lid. Either cook on a very gentle heat on the hob (use a heat diffuser if you have one) or cook in the oven on a low temperature around 140°C. It wants to cook for around 2 ½ – 3 hours. If the sauce is looking to thick after an hour of cooking then you can thin it with a little water.
  • After 2 ½ – 3 hours you can add all the other ingredients, including the caramelised onions from earlier (keep a few almonds and coriander leaves back to garnish if you wish). Cook for another 20 – 30 minutes on the hob, lid off, before serving with pilau rice & Indian style breads.
Keyword curry, Indian, Mutton, spicy