A method used by many British Indian restaurants to speed up the process of making curry. This curry base gravy can be used for many different types of curry to give a luscious sauce and an instant hit of flavour.
Store this curry base in portions and if you use ready-cooked chicken, you can have any number of curries on the table in 10 minutes!

Ladle being dipped into a red cast iron pan filled with curry base gravy.

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I usually make most of my curry sauces from scratch, but I’ve been aware of the ‘base curry sauce gravy method’ for a while.

It’s a bit of secret in many British Indian Restaurants that a big pan of curry base gravy/sauce is always on the go to seriously speed up the process of making the high number of curries that go out the door.

Lots of you were asking on my YouTube channel for me to try the curry base gravy method. So I’ve been busy testing it out and refining it. And I’ve got to say, I love it! This curry base works.

I even did a taste and timing test using my original Chicken Jalfrezi recipe, and found that I could reduce the time it takes to make the jalfrezi from 30 minutes, down to 14 minutes!

I’ve included the recipe for the quick jalfrezi in the recipe notes sections of the recipe card.

📋 What do we need?

Ingredients for curry base gravy on a wooden table

🔪 How to make this Indian Base Gravy

Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

  1. Heat plenty of oil in a large casserole pan, then add in 6 roughly chopped onions. Cook for about 20 minutes, over a medium heat, until softened.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, ground coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, pepper, cardamom and tomato puree and stir together.
  3. Add chopped red and green bell pepper, chopped carrot and a tin of chopped tomatoes.
  4. Stir and bring to the boil, then simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Turn off the heat, leave to cool slightly, then carefully blend using a stick blender.
Overhead of curry base gravy in a red cast iron pan next to a blue napkin.

👩‍🍳PRO TIP Once cooled, you can separate it into portions and freeze, so you can whip up a curry in extra quick time!

Personally, I think it tastes so good, you could serve it as a soup. Perhaps with some garlic naan for dipping!

Ladle of curry base gravy being poured into a red cast iron pan.

🍽️ How to use it

These are the steps I take when converting a regular curry recipe to one that uses a curry base. I haven’t tested all of my curries yet of course, but this is what i’d do:

  • Take a look at the recipe ingredients and figure out what the key spices in it are. Then compare that list of spices to the spices that are in the curry base.
    • If any of those spices are already in the curry base, then halve the amount to use in your recipe.
    • If any spices in your recipe don’t appear in the curry base, then add them in as per the recipe.
  • You generally won’t need to add ginger, garlic, stock or tinned tomatoes or salt to your curry – as the curry base already as that in (unless the recipe calls for a lot of something – like garlic or tomatoes).
  • Continue to add the other ingredients that appear in your curry recipe – such as chillies, vegetables and tomato puree (tomato puree appears in the curry base, but there’s only a small amount, so add the full amount of tomato puree that the recipes calls for).
  • If the recipes calls for coconut milk, cream or yogurt, I would still use it, but you may need a little less – otherwise you may end up with too much liquid after adding the curry base.
  • I would usually add the curry base once the meat, vegetables and spices are cooked – then you only need to simmer for 5 minutes or so.

You can check out my recipe video to see how a chicken jalfrezi using my regular recipe compares to my adapted recipe with the curry base. I do a taste test at the end of the video.

Here’s a sneak peek of how they look.
This is the Chicken Jalfrezi using the base gravy:

White bowl filled with chicken jalfrezi that has been made using curry base gravy. Bowl is on a wooden table.

This is the jalfrezi using my regular recipe:

White bowl filled with chicken jalfrezi on a wooden table.

So the question is, do you want me to share more quick curries with you that use the curry base gravy method?
Let me know in the comments below.

📺 Watch how to make it

🍲 More fantastic Curries

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4.95 from 19 votes

Curry Base Gravy

Use curry base gravy to speed up the process of making many different curries. It ensures a luscious sauce and an instant hit of flavour.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 24 portions
Course: Sauces
Cuisine: British-Indian


  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) sunflower oil
  • 1 kg (2.2 lbs) onions about 6 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree paste for US
  • 1 red bell pepper roughly chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and chopped
  • 400 g (14 oz) tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 litres (8 1/3 cups) chicken or vegetable stock (water plus 4 stock cubes is fine)


  • Heat the oil in a large casserole pan over a medium heat.
    120 ml (1/2 cup) sunflower oil
  • Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, until they start to brown and caramelise slightly.
    1 kg (2.2 lbs) onions
  • Add the garlic, minced ginger, garam masala, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, ground cardamom, and tomato puree.
    8 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp minced ginger, 2 tbsp garam masala, 2 tbsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp paprika, 1 ½ tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, ¼ tsp ground cardamom, 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Stir to coat the onion and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the red pepper, green pepper, carrot, tinned tomatoes, and stock.
    1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, 1 medium carrot, 400 g (14 oz) tinned chopped tomatoes, 2 litres (8 1/3 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer for 1 hour.
  • Turn off the heat, allow to cool, then blitz to a smooth liquid using a stick blender.



How to Portion:
I use about 120ml (1/2 cup) per person when making a curry. So if you often make curries for two people, freeze in portions of 240ml (1 cup). If you often make curries for four people, freeze in portions of 480ml (2 cups).
Once cool, pour the curry base into airtight containers and freeze. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then you can add to your curry once defrosted.
Be sure to heat it through, with your curry until piping hot.
Try using this gravy to make a Chicken Jalfrezi:
I found it took 14 minutes to make this curry using the curry base gravy method. Here’s how to do it:
You’ll need:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red chilli sliced
  • 1 green chilli sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 480ml (2 cups) curry base gravy
  • Small bunch chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • Fresh coriander and chilli flakes to serve
Here’s how to make it:
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan and add the chicken and onion. Cook on a high heat for 4-5 minutes until the chicken is sealed.
  2. Add the red and green chilli and the red and green bell peppers and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the garam masala, turmeric, salt, cumin, ground coriander and tomato puree. Stir to coat the chicken and peppers, and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add in 480ml (2 cups) of curry base.
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Stir in the fresh coriander and serve with pilau rice, topped with fresh coriander and a few chilli flakes.
Nutritional information for the gravy base is per serving. This gravy base recipe makes approx 24 servings (approx 1/2 cup or 120mls per serving).


Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 283mg | Potassium: 170mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 797IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. 5 stars
    The curry gravy mix is brilliant, we’ve used it for korma and masala sauces, today trying the jalfrezi sauce, we don’t add the meat as we’re making in bulk and freezing as portions for 2, ready to use whenever we want