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Thick curry sauce

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  • Thick curry sauce

    I wish I could be the one telling everyone how to do it, but I'm actually asking:
    How do you make that very thick curry sauce like at restaurants? Starches just don't cut it; unless maybe you put in HEAPS. But it seems that when I follow the recipe exactly, my sauce is like slightly flavoured and thickened water. But what i'm looking for is:
    Mark's Daily Apple (not curry, but still thick sauce; i made that once following the recipe and it was like the ocean)
    Beef Rendang | A Glug of Oil
    Any ideas? thanks
    EDIT: could it be the desiccated coconut?
    Last edited by tibofox; 05-04-2013, 04:27 AM.

  • #2
    the secret to thick curry sauce

    Thick curry sauce is easy to make but takes a bit of time and a food processor. All explained in the book "The Curry Secret", and the basic curry sauce from that book is given in this blog: Deb cooks...: Basic Curry Sauce (The New Curry Sauce by Kris Dhillon)


    • #3
      The essence of a true thick curry sauce is cooking time and attention to the pot. The basis is the vegetables - onion, garlic, ginger - and the juices from the meat and any added (stocks, tomatoes etc). Cooked slowly and long, the juices will reduce until they meld with the onions, which will disintegrate, and any fat present to form a thick sauce. You know it's good when the fat starts to separate from the sauce. Let it go too long and it will stick and burn
      Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

      Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine


      • #4
        a little short cut to thicker sauce is onion. use an extra one (or 2 ) and dice it really small then precook it so its browned, this will cook into the sauce more quickly than the other ingredients. you can also add steamed and mashed cauliflower(don't boil in water as you don't want it wet and soggy. pat it dry before mashing). I use steamer over the pan while the curry is cooking. Cauliflower is awesome in curry- the flavours are so complimentary its unbelievable. i love curry.our dinner is already cooking for tonight or Id start one now. I think it'll be dinner tomorrow though.
        When I'd had enough of the grain and starched based 'diabetic eating for health' diet (eating for health, my ass!) my weight was 242.5 lbs. On starting primal- 18th April 2013 weight : 238.1.
        27th July 2013. weight after 100 days 136.9 weight lost 101.2lb ; that's 105.6lbs since I stopped the 'diabetic eating for health'
        new journal


        • #5
          As an Australian curry freak myself here's the lowdown on our Restaurant Curries:

          The reason they can crank out your order in 15 minutes as opposed to making you sit there for two hours while they cook your curry from scratch, is that they have a "base gravy" that they brew up a few times a week. They also have precooked meats such as chicken, lamb, beef, goat etc.

          When your order arrives in the kitchen they take spiced oil and cook up some extra spices and any ingredients necessary for the particular style, add the precooked meat and then add doses of the base sauce and cook to consistency, dress the finished curry with any necessary touches and send to the table.

          There is a basic difference between our restaurants and the "original" UK model. Names are similar (Madras, Vindaloo) but they do taste different between the two countries.

          British Indian Restaurants (BIR) use a single thin base gravy made with onions, garlic, ginger, some base spices which is cooked for hours then blended to a smooth "soup". In preparing your dish they add a "dry mix" curry powder that they prepare themselves. As they cook your curry it evaporates and they keep adding base gravy and let it thicken, and the curry gets richer and richer. This is the typical BIR gravy in that Kris Dhillon book above.

          Australian Indian Restaurants (AIR) use a few different thick "gravies" that are really more of a paste, depending on whether they are doing Vindaloo, Madras, Chicken Tikka Masala or Butter Chicken, veg curries etc. AIR gravies are made in bulk but are based on fried, not boiled, onions and are only cooked for about 25 minutes, not hours, and don't need blending with a stick blender or food processor, although you are free to do so if you wish.

          When they "assemble" your order they add the precooked meats then base gravy then DILUTE it to consistency using cream, stock, water, whatever the recipe calls for. So it's the opposite of BIR. The AIR taste is what you overwhelmingly get in Aussie restaurants.

          Another difference is that the main spices are in the gravy already, not added as a curry powder later on like BIR does.
          I have done a cooking course with a Brisbane Chef and here's how the AIR gravies are made, dead easy, and you can make your finished curries as thick or thin as you like. Couple of examples cut down to domestic size:


          If you find this difficult to read I'll post a better version.

          Now for example a simple chicken curry:

          Pre fry a kilo of cubes of chicken thigh fillet in ghee with a touch of garlic, garam masala and turmeric, until done. Set to one side

          In a large frypan, preferably a wok: add more ghee and a teaspoon of dried methi (these are fenugreek leaves available from Indian grocers) and chopped green chillies to your taste.

          Add the chicken pieces and juices and fry off till everything is like a paste. Don't burn.

          Add a further teaspoon of minced garlic and minced ginger (preferably make your own with fresh ginger and garlic and a blender plus some water and oil, keeps for weeks). Don't burn.

          Add a base gravy paste you made above, stir in then start diluting immediately, stirring constantly. With chicken you can use simple pure cream, a touch of greek yogurt if desired, or chicken stock. When you have reached your preferred consistency let it simmer slowly until everything all flavours are merged. A nice finishing touch is a couple of tablespoons of Maggi or Ayam coconut milk powder melted in.

          Happy pig out
          Last edited by MikeAtTaree; 05-04-2013, 07:10 PM. Reason: additional info


          • #6
            Couple of shots of some that I made for a mate's BBQ last year (Hostess, not my mrs ) to give idea of consistency.


            • #7
              Yea those curries look great!
              So wait- didn't quite get it, did you write up the recipe for the gravy in your post Mike?


              • #8
                I attached the recipe as a picture, I can see it but maybe it didn't get rendered on your browser
                so I'll type it out here:

                Butter Gravy (suitable for a chicken curry like butter chicken)

                3 TBS oil or ghee (in our case)

                1 cinnamon stick
                3 green cardmom smashed to release seeds
                6 cloves
                2 Bay leaves

                2 large onions finely chopped
                1 tsp salt

                3 tsp garlic (paste)
                2 tsp ginger (paste)

                1/2 tsp turmeric
                1 tsp garam masala
                3 tsp cumin powder
                1 1/2 tsp coriander powder

                red food colour if you like
                6 TBS thick tomato paste
                4 TBS almond powder (ground almonds or use ground cashews done in a blender)

                1/2 cup hot water.

                Heat oil on med - high heat
                Add and fry the whole spices till they darken/pop/expand

                Add onions and cook for 5 mins
                add salt
                reduce to low heat and continue cooking till onions caramelise and turn dark brown, stirring

                add garlic and ginger and fry a couple of minutes

                Add the dry spices and fry a couple of minutes

                Add the tomato paste and almond powder and hot water (may need up to a cup) and simmer for a few minutes on low heat till the oil glistens on the top.

                This will give you a fairly thick paste that you use as directed with the other ingredients, and dilute it down as much as you want to get the consistency.



                • #9
                  I made a curry once (I don't recall where exactly I got the recipe) that called for cooking the onion, garlic, spices, cilantro, tomatoes, etc. and then putting it in the blender. Then cook the chicken or what-have-you, add the sauce to the pan, throw in some yogurt if desired. Keep cooking if you want it even thicker. It was good 'n thick.


                  • #10
                    Like most good curries they taste better the next day, and thicken up overnight so the fork is just about standing up in them. A bit of stock or bone broth fixes that.


                    • #11
                      Thanks Mike, i will try the gravy sometime. One more question:
                      Beef rendang recipe : Food Safari : SBS Food
                      In this video, look at about 4:03, see it change from liquid to thick with just cooking time; and he has no gravy put in, it's from scratch. Is there something else i'm missing?


                      • #12
                        I watched food safari (of course ) and the "sauce" like you see is self generated from the long cooking time as it is indeed cooked from scratch.
                        In your OP you said you were interested in getting something like the restaurant curries, and they add a gravy.

                        However, indeed if you have a slow cooker / crockpot you can also do a curry in that with a lot of fried onions, meat etc - all those ingredients I listed in my post above can be put in with the meat and spices and let it simmer for six hours whatever. In the end it will also turn out nice and thick, but a different taste to the pan cooked version, less caramelised but quite smooth and rich.

                        The trick is not to add water as such, always use coconut cream, tomato passata, ground almonds, onions - allow all the liquid to come from the ingredients. Also as you cook it the meat or chicken will exude juice that blends in as well but it won't end up thin and watery.

                        Tell you what, I'm doing a butter chicken for din dins, starting right now so I'll take a few shots and post here for the "gravy" method.


                        • #13
                          OK, that went quite quickly. Start with frying the chicken thigh pieces with ghee and some garlic and ginger then set aside.

                          Get the ingredients assembled for the "gravy"

                          chickencurry 1.jpg

                          Spice the ghee first with the whole spices until they darken and pop.


                          Fry the onions until caramelised, add the garlic ginger (I did a fine-grated version as I'd run out of paste)


                          Run out of attachments, see next post
                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            Add the dry spices then fry off, add the tomato paste - I used passata that is a bit more runny, and you have the basic gravy, note the paste consistency.


                            Now add the cooked chicken pieces, cream, some cashews blended to a "butter" in a blender with some water, stir in and cook gently for about 10 minutes until flavours combined and a nice smooth consistency.


                            Mate this is better than anything from an Indian Takeaway. I did this without chilli as SWMBO can't eat it, but I dosed up my serve with some dry chilli powder.

                            Ate mine with a side of mashed sweet potato.


                            • #15
                              Thanks for all of the detailed instructions. This looks awesome! I can't wait to try it

                              Check out my blog to see how a family of four eats real, whole foods on $85/week