This is a recipe adapted from “Classic Indian Cooking” by Julie Sahni. I love the flavors of this recipe. I love the flexibility of this recipe. It makes a great curry base which you can easily make lots off, freeze and bring out later for easy home made meals. I modified it to fit with our criteria for the “Fast and Easy – Meals in 30 minutes“. It is so versatile that you can add just about any type of protein, vegetable to it. I will list variations in the “Substitutions and Alterations” section at the end of the recipe.
You will need to buy or have access to ready-made curry powder for this recipe. I grew up in a household where curry was an everyday staple but curry powder was unheard off. My mum was an excellent cook and her curries were always made from scratch. Although I wouldn’t qualify myself as a purist of any type, I much prefer curries from scratch than from a curry powder. However, if you have ever looked at an Indian curry recipe, 5 ingredients is only half the mixture. So, if you have to start someplace, a curry powder that’s got a good balance of flavor, spice and heat, is worth it’s weight in gold. I’ve experimented with many different brands and have finally found the one I like. It’s made by a company called Dion and is sold in most grocery stores. You can use your favorite brand, but this is my new favorite base curry powder. Intensely flavorful and fragrant, it is an addition to almost any Indian dish I cook (from scratch).
Give this a try for a variation to your weeknight meal. It goes well with rice, naan – really any type of bread, even pasta. As Martha would say, and I quote – “it’s a good thing”! One last thing, let me know if you want to see anything specific in this section, I’ll try my best to accommodate you. As always – enjoy!
- 2 cups passata (sold in bottles, sometimes in cans, in the canned tomato section)
- 2 onions, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, grated or mashed
- 2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 3 tsp curry powder – your favorite brand
- 1 – 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup boiling water
- 3 tablespoons ghee, butter, coconut oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil
Heat ghee (or whatever oil you are using) in a medium skillet over medium high heat
Stir in onions and cook until deeply golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes –- stirring constantly to brown – this is critical to any Indian curry you make, I’ve pictured it below
Stir in garlic and ginger – cook about 2 minutes
Stir in curry powder, stir – about 1 minute, then add tomato purée
Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is thick and oil begins to separate, about 10 minutes – you should see little bubbles of oil breaking through the surface
Stir in 1 tsp salt and boiling water – reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until sauce is thick – 7 to 12 minutes
Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for another 20 minutes to let flavors meld
Serve as is with rice or naan, or see below for options
Substitutions and Alterations
- Hard boil 4-6 eggs, let cool, peel and add to the warmed curry. You can slice them in half or add them whole. You could also cook them shakshuka style, by breaking them into the curry base, covering and cooking until set to your liking.To easily peel hard boiled eggs, crack all over, immerse and peel under water. Perfect peeled eggs every time.
- Make extra and freeze what you don’t need for dinner. Bring it out another day and add fish or really almost any type of seafood – mussels, shrimp etc. You could also add meatballs (please make these from scratch and don’t buy them) etc.
- Want to stay vegetarian, pan fry/sear squares of paneer or firm tofu and add it to the curry. Make sure you salt and pepper the paneer or tofu before frying – or after. You could also marinate with a bit of curry powder before searing
- Top with cilantro and serve with yogurt and rice or flatbread if desired