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Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

A "Quick Start" for members new to BIR style curry cooking - basic techniques and simple recipes to get you started on your BIR-style curry cooking adventures.
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Cory Ander
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Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Cory Ander » Wed Nov 18, 2015 2:12 am

Simple Curry Base
Curry Base.jpg
Simple Curry Base
Here is a very simple recipe for a relativity small quantity of curry base (otherwise known as "base gravy" or "base sauce" or "garabi").

This recipe produces about 1 litre of curry base which should be sufficient for about 3-4 single-portion curries (depending on the curry).

Background

A curry base is, perhaps, one of the main things that distinguishes British Indian Restaurant style cooking from traditional Indian style cooking. BIRs produce curries quickly, to order, in typically less than about 10 minutes. They therefore prepare many of the basic ingredients in advance of service; the curry base being one (and, perhaps, the most important) of them. A curry base is essentially a mildly spiced stock of boiled onions (as the main ingredient) plus other vegetables (as minor ingredients) such as garlic, ginger and tomatoes. This curry base is used to make most main dish curries. There are probably as many different curry bases as there are curry chefs. This is a simple recipe to get you started on your BIR quest. You will find many more curry base recipes in the Curry Base Recipes section of the forum.

Equipment you will need:
  • Weighing scales (with at least 1g resolution)
  • Chopping board and sharp knife
  • Measuring jug (with at least 25ml resolution)
  • A heavy-bottomed saucepan (or stock pot), of at least 1.5 litre capacity, with lid
  • A long-handled stirring spoon
  • A jug blender or a stick blender
  • Storage containers (of at least 350ml capacity) with lids
Ingredients:
  • 300g (about 2 medium) brown onions (coarsely chooped)
  • 15g (about 1 rounded Tbsp) carrot (coarsely chopped)
  • 15g (about 1 rounded Tbsp) green capsicum/bell pepper (coarsely chopped)
  • 15g (about 1 rounded Tbsp) potato coarsely chopped)
  • 20g (about 2 Tbsp) fresh garlic (chopped or puréed)
  • 10g (about 1 Tbsp) fresh ginger (chopped or puréed)
  • 15g (about 1 rounded Tbsp) tomato paste
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 60ml (4 Tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 450ml water
  • 6g (about 1 Tbsp) Simple Spice Mix
  • 10g (about 2 rounded Tbsp) fresh coriander roots or stalks (coarsely chopped)
Curry Base Ingredients.jpg
Curry Base Ingredients (from back to front & from left to right):
Onions, Vegetable Oil, Water
Tomato Paste, Coriander Stalks, Spice mix, Green Capsicum, Potato
Salt, Garlic, Carrot, Ginger
Method:
  • Peel, wash and cut the vegetables (the above weights are nett)
  • Add all of the ingredients (except the fresh coriander and spice mix) to a suitably sized pan (i.e. 1.5 litre capacity or bigger) with lid
    Ingredients in Pan.jpg
    Ingredients in Pan
  • Cover the pan and heat to a gentle simmer (stirring, occasionally, to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan)
  • Gently simmer (on a low heat setting) for about 60 minutes (or until the onions are translucent and all of the vegetables are soft enough to easily blend). Gently stir, occasionally, to prevent sticking and/or burning on the bottom of the pan. Add a little cold water, if necessary, to maintain the initial volume (mark the outside of the pan or use a "dipstick" to check)
    After 60 Minutes.jpg
    After 60 Minutes
  • Turn off heat, add coriander and spice mix, stir to mix and allow to cool sufficiently for blending
    Adding Spice Mix & Coriander.jpg
    Adding Spice Mix & Coriander
    Ready For Blending.jpg
    Ready For Blending
  • Blend, for at least 2 minutes, into a fine, soup-like, consistency (note: ensure that the mixture is sufficiently cool to blend and periodically let your blender rest to avoid it overheating)
    Blending.jpg
    Blending (transfer to another container if you prefer)
    Blending (Using Stick Blender).jpg
    Blending (Using Stick Blender)
  • Return the curry base to the pan, cover, reheat to a gentle simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add a little cold water, if necessary, to maintain the initial volume (mark the outside of the pan or use a "dipstick" to check)
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool (stir to homogenise the mix)
    Finished Curry Base.jpg
    Finished Curry Base
  • Use immediately, store in a fridge (for 3 days maximum) or freeze in suitable airtight containers in 3 equal portions of about 330ml in each portion (each portion will be sufficient to make a main dish curry to serve 1 - 2 people)
Notes:
  • You can use a commercial curry powder, or another "spice mix", if you prefer (but the result may be different)
  • The relatively long, gentle, simmer is to develop the sweetness of the onions. DO NOT simmer vigorously!
  • The resultant curry base should be a pale, creamy, yellow colour and should posses a nice, subtle, sweet, smell and taste. It should not be bitter
Weights & Measures:
  • All non-liquid spoon measures are level unless otherwise stated
  • A level teaspoon (tsp) contains 5ml of liquid
  • A level tablespoon (Tbsp) contains 15ml of liquid
Copyright © Cory Ander
Regards

CA (aka Admin) :)

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by leejones » Sat Nov 28, 2015 4:14 pm

When making some of the other Base Gravies on this forum, it can take a lot of time and ingredients to get it right !

which is why I chose to have a go at this one, which lends itself to making dishes such as a Korma that only requires
mild flavours coming through from the base, being quick and simple to make with very few ingredients.

Here is my effort
Simple-Base-Gravy.jpg
Lee

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Ishindar » Sat Dec 05, 2015 1:34 pm

looks great, i cant wait to try it.

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by walleye12 » Sat Dec 05, 2015 5:47 pm

I might try this one in the soup maker when wifey has gone out for the evening :whistle:

GreenyLFC

Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by GreenyLFC » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:25 pm

For some reason I always thought there was a lot more oil involved. Looking forward to trying this out, never made base gravy before.

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by leejones » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:41 pm

A Base Gravy is a fundamental part/ingredient in making any BIR curry, so why not start with this one !
Lee

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by MonsieurBadgerCheese » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:47 pm

Have you started with it then, leejones?

MBC

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by leejones » Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:53 am

If you mean have I used it yet, then yes, see above
and Yes, I would have started with this one if I were a beginner

It's a very good base for the beginner, quick and simple.
Made 2 Chicken Korma's to try it out as shown here in the beginners guide MonsieurBadgerCheese!


Lee Jones
Last edited by leejones on Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lee

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by MonsieurBadgerCheese » Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:24 am

Excellent, Lee. Keep up the good work!

MBC :):

boomshanka

Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by boomshanka » Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:41 pm

Have made this base sauce and the spice mix and I am really impressed with the results and how easy it is when you know how.

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by 1584cc » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:13 pm

I think I'll try this one next weekend.

Been using the Kris Dhillon recipes in my efforts thus far.

Be very interesting to see what the difference will be.

Mark :):

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Cory Ander » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:05 pm

Please bear in mind that the recipes in this "Beginners' Guide" section are intended to be a simple introduction to a British Indian Restaurant (BIR) curry cooking, primarily for members who are new to BIR curry cooking. There are no pretensions to them being the best available. Undoubtedly, there are better curry bases in the Curry Base Recipes section of the forum (for more experienced members to consider).
Regards

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by korbycat » Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:30 am

That looks like a very good start, I will definitely give this a try.
Time Flies Like an Arrow; Fruit Flies Like a Banana!

boomshanka

Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by boomshanka » Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:14 pm

It may be my imagination but I think it is even better to use after it has been in the freezer. :yes:

tailwheeljockey

Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by tailwheeljockey » Wed Dec 16, 2015 5:26 pm

Turned out well, now to use it in a recipe.

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Westy » Wed Dec 16, 2015 5:48 pm

Well done - you could try it out on these if you like tailwheeljockey

Basic Madras

Or even

Basic Korma

Both recipes were designed for this simple base and cook beautifully. :D
A curry can never be ‘too garlicky’ or ‘too hot’ .....

Martyn

Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Martyn » Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:28 pm

This sounds great for a first timer, I will be giving this a go this week, thanks for the recipe.

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by DaveC » Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:28 pm

Straightforward enough I'll give it a bash tomorrow.

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Alchemist » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:03 pm

Here is a photo of my attempt at this. Making the Curry Club Dish of the month tomorrow with it, the Simple Madras.
Attachments
image.jpeg
Is it all about the base...?

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Tabs » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:05 pm

Behold the elixier :) :thumbup:

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