Oct 18, 2012

Basic Tomato Gravy for Indian Curries

This one is kind of a rushed post. I wanted to do a vegetable chutney two ways but the sun has set in this part of the world and I won't be able to click pictures of it.So I thought I would instead let you in on my never-fail recipe for Indian gravys. I usually use this for curries that are made with pulses and lentils like Chana Masala/ Chole, sprouted mung beans or any other sprouted pulses, or even if I want a wet curry using only one or a mix of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beans, cauliflower, peas and the like

Before that, today's find of the day on my Vegan MoFo journey is Life Up North. Fanny from Sweden has a neat blog and is writing about very interesting Swedish cuisine. I love the look of the lingonberry jam! Do not forget to check out her virtual fish tank at the bottom of the page and feed some fish!

I'm not so much an onion person specially if it is raw. I would rather eat a raw chilli than a raw onion. I have spoken about why so many Indians like Jains and some South Indians do not eat onions and garlic in my post about Chana Masala or Chole. So this particular recipe is what I usually make at home on a regular basis.

There are two ways to do this, with raw tomatoes or blanched and peeled tomatoes. Both give very different results. The raw tomatoes are less watery and will, for obvious reasons, take longer to reach the deep red colour. Sometimes I am lazy to blanch tomatoes (yes I have taken laziness to another level) so I just blend them up raw. But ever since I bought an immersion blender, blanching and pureeing has become a little easier.

This recipe is oil free too!

For a curry enough for about 4 people you need

6 tomatoes (or 4 if using onions)
1 Big Onion (totally optional, I usually avoid this)
1-2 cloves or garlic (again something I avoid most of the time)
1 Green Chilli (if you like it spicy)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp Cumin seeds or Cumin powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp of raw mango powder (Amchoor in hindi)
1/2 tsp of Black Salt (Kala Namak in hindi)
2 Bay leaves or Indian Bay leaves (optional)
2 cloves
2 tsp Garam Masala or Chole Masala (I have a big jar of Chole Masala which I use for everything!)

If you plan to add onions and garlic, cook them with a little water and then blend them with the tomatoes.

If you plan on cooking the tomatoes, blanch and peel them. Then follow the directions below.

Blend the tomatoes, green chilli and ginger to a smooth paste. Put the Cumin seeds in a hot heavy bottomed vessel. When they begin to splutter put the tomato purée. Be careful because the purée will jump all over the kitchen. Now add the rest of the dry powders, spices and salt. Let it cook away for 15 minutes till it becomes thick, dark and spews bubbles all over the place.

This one was made by blending raw tomatoes

This is how dark it should look

Add your pre-cooked/steamed vegetables or pulses. Let it come together for another 10 minutes or so.

Chana Masala anyone? 

Garnish with fresh coriander and add a dash of lime or lemon after it's cooked. The addition of fresh coriander makes a lot of difference. So if you can get your hands on some, do it.

Enjoy your gravy!


  1. Haha, another 'lazy' person here. I *always* just blend raw tomatoes for all my sauces (even the ones for pizza and pasta). :D

    To be honest, I don't see any big difference in taste when tomatoes are blanched, peeled, puréed and cooked as compared to just puréed and cooked. If anything, I think the presence of the peel would make the sauce more flavourful. So why complicate things when simple works just as good? :)


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