How to Make a Basic Curry

Rashmi's Recipes  » curry »  How to Make a Basic Curry

Indian cooking is famous for its classic, fragrant, spicy curry that lends flavor to meats, vegetables, and beans. I think curry makes everything taste better. The curried dishes available in Indian restaurants are drenched in fat, loaded with heavy cream. The dishes I grew up with were simple, low in fat, and almost always without any cream. Sometimes, whole spices, ginger, and garlic were all that was added to make a delicious, finger-licking chicken curry.

Once the curry sauce is ready, simply adding meat, vegetable, or beans to it and letting it simmer until it is cooked is all it takes for a delicious dish. I usually prepare a double batch of the basic curry and freeze some to pull out later and whip up a quick meal. Here is the recipe with some hacks and variations.


2-3 Tbsps. oil or ghee

1 1/2 tsps. salt

2 cups chopped onions (see notes)

2 tsps. minced ginger

2 tsps. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. Rashmi’s Blend (see notes)

1 Tbsp. Curry Powder (see notes)

1/2 – 3/4 cup tomato puree

1 1/2 cups of water

1 tsp. Garam Masala (see notes)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro


You can make the spice blends by clicking on the spices for the recipes or buy them by clicking here.

To speed up the onion frying time, watch this video.

You can also substitute half a cup of pre-fried onions available at Indian grocery stores. In that case, add only one tablespoon of oil to the pan, toast the spices, add ginger, garlic, then add onions, tomato, salt, and water.


  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom saucepan on medium heat.
  • Add onions and salt and saute until the onions are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. (see notes)
  • Add ginger, garlic. Stir.
  • Add Rashmi’s Blend and Curry powder, mix, and toast for 30 seconds until the spices turn fragrant. Do not overcook or they will burn.
  • Add tomato puree and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. If the onions have not completely broken down, they will when you add the meat or vegetable and continue to cook. If you prefer a smooth texture, you can blend the curry with an immersion blender.
  • Add Garam Masala, stir and remove from stove.
  • Your curry is ready! You can add cooked or raw meat and/or vegetables and simmer until tender. You can add cooked or canned beans such as garbanzo or kidney beans.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Add cilantro just before serving.


For a creamy curry, you can add 4-5 tablespoons of heavy cream just before serving.

Add either 1-2 tablespoons of almond butter/powder or cashew butter/powder and/or 1 tablespoon of coconut powder for a change.

You can use coconut milk instead of water.


Copyright © Rashmi Rustagi 2020. All Rights Reserved.



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