Curry base/curry paste

Today’s post is going to be more of a cooking 101 rather than an individual recipe.  Some Indian recipes can take quite a bit of prep before you can start getting the dish going. I like to read Indian recipe books in my spare time and I’ll be honest, some of the elaborate recipes with their blanching, toasting, blending, tempering, dry roasting etc. just make me want to have a bit of a nap after just through mental exhaustion!

I have lazy days often even when I am not working – so I’ll do anything for an easy life. I might either want to spend more time with the children or the hubster or even watch TV or read a book! When those days come around, I find myself still somewhat reluctant to compromise on the taste just because I can’t be arsed to do the prep!

A Greek philosopher once said, “necessity is the mother of invention”. This is true for me in many cases. Out of necessity was born this particular bit of a cheat (one of many) I regularly use to speed up the cooking process when I have hardly any time left to put food on the table.

I generally like to make this curry paste in bulk and use it as a base for my cooking – you can build on this and get various different tastes and textures going which I will elaborate on below. This freezes really well too, so when I make it in bulk, I tend to free them in little tubs (last for a good 6 months in the freezer) to use on said lazy days!

So what’ll you need?

8 medium sized onions, chopped – I’ve used Indian pink onions because they have a bit of a sweeter taste than brown onions

10 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 green chilli, chopped

2X400g tins of chopped tomatoes

1tbsp oil or Frylight


In a heavy bottomed pan, pour the oil or coat the bottom with Frylight spray. Turn to a medium flame.

Add the onions, chilli and garlic and fry until translucent and the raw smell disappears, for a batch this size, it’ll take around 8 – 10 minutes.

Now add the tomatoes and cook on low heat for a further 10 minutes.

Allow to cool completely and then blitz in a blender until you have a smooth paste. Either use immediately or store in jars in a freezer.

I’ve deliberately not added any salt at this stage. When you make your final dish, you can add salt at that stage.

Tip: You can store this in a fridge, depending on how fresh your ingredients are, you should store it in an air tight container for no longer than a week.

If you are freezing, freeze immediately and use within 6 months. You’ll only need one cup of paste each time you cook so batch freeze where possible for ease of use.

How to use:

This same paste can produce different flavours – when cooking your dish, add a tsp oil, ghee or fry light, fry your meat or veggies, then add this paste and build on it either using coconut milk, yoghurt, stock, cream, cashew paste etc. and whatever spices the recipe calls for, and wallah, you’ve eliminated the time-consuming part altogether and not compromised on taste!

For a different texture, you can boil and mash Toor dal and mix it with this curry paste when making your dish or even spinach – just blanch and add and your are on your way to a tasty new dish!

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