Masala Gravy – Indian Base Sauce

One of the challenges with Indian cuisine is the prep. However, with some planning, you can have amazing homemade Indian food, without too much work.

You can easily take this recipe and make it times four, to have masala paste or gravy left over. It stores well in the fridge or you can freeze it as well.

Note: A dedicated coffee grinder for spices is essential. I’ve had a Krups for 20 years.

Ingredients

Group 1
2 Tbsp. Coriander Seeds
2 Tbsp. Cumin Seeds
1 Tbsp. Black Peppercorns
1 tsp Cloves
2 Bay Leaves
1 Onion, chopped
4 inch piece of Ginger, peeled
3 Garlic Cloves
1 tsp Salt
4 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 Tbsp. Black Mustard seeds
6 fresh Curry Leaves
Group 2
1 Tbsp. Turmeric, ground
2 tsp Fenugreek, ground
1 tsp Cardamom, ground
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper, ground
1 14.5 oz can of crushed or chopped Tomatoes
Roast all whole spices from first group in 350F oven until just starting to omit fragrance. About 4-5 minutes max. Remove and set aside to cool.
In a small food processor or mortar and pestle, grind/pound the onion, ginger, garlic and salt into a puree.
Heat 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil in pan, and add black mustard seeds and cook covered until they pop open. Then add in fresh curry leaves and sauté until they slightly brown. 

Add the onion puree mixture and continue gently cooking until mixture is soft and very slightly browned.

While the onion puree mixture is sautéing, grind all of the roasted whole spices into a fine powder. Add in the second group of ground spices and then add all to the onion puree mixture and gently sauté. Do not let it burn. If it seems dry, add a little water.

Add in your tomatoes and you now have a masala gravy that can be used to create a multitude of different dishes. You can add any meat, seafood, or as I do, sweet potatoes, potatoes, okra or paneer.