curry sauce curry

Curry Sauce Recipe (Instant Pot and Stovetop)

By Swasthi on September 16, 2023, Comments, Jump to Recipe

This homemade Curry Sauce is delicious, full-flavored and easy to make! Use it in stir fry dishes, curries, stews, marinades, pilafs or simply spread it on your pizza base, in your wraps, sandwiches & rolls. This restaurant style Curry Sauce also makes a great dip & it’s finger-licking good! It is vegan, nut-free, soy-free and gluten-free, making it an apt dish for most of us. It can be made ahead, refrigerated and even frozen. Make it in the Instant pot or on the stovetop, instructions included for both.

curry sauce with grilled vegetables

Curry Sauce is not traditional to Indian Cuisine, but is very much made in the Indian restaurants and street food places. It is nothing but a puree of Indian onion tomato masala.

During the pandemic, this sauce has become one of the staples in many Indian restaurants & eateries. It is very common to taste this in every other North-Indian curry like kadai dishes, tawa dishes and many more.

What is Curry Sauce?

Curry Sauce is a puree of sauteed and simmered masala made with onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, sometimes carrots and plenty of spices. Some times even the stalks of coriander is added.

The method to make curry sauce is same everywhere but the vegetables used vary depending on the availability and season. To cut-down the costs, a lot of places use veggies that are cheaper and in season.

So the flavor and taste of this curry sauce is not the same always and it tastes different in every place. Onions, tomatoes and bell peppers are the 3 standard veggies used.

Curry Sauce is also popular in the British-Indian restaurants in UK and it is added to a lot of dishes like Jalfrezi, Bombay Potatoes, Rogan Josh and many more. Basically it is a pre-made sauce which is just thrown into these dishes to add body.

The basic difference between the Indian and British-Indian versions is the usage of carrots. In India, carrots are not used while in the British version, they are added for a natural sweeter flavor.

In the past, bell peppers were never added to make the onion tomato masala in India, but in the recent years, green bell peppers are used for a unique flavor.

Curry Sauce

About this Recipe

My recipe will give you a delicious Curry Sauce that is flavorsome and creamy, even without the use of cream or nuts. The use of whole and ground spices impart deeper flavors to the sauce.

I also share how to make a delicious curry with this homemade sauce. You are free to use coconut milk, cashew cream, nut milk, yogurt, heavy cream or even cooking cream for a flavor variation. I also share the tips and tricks on how to use them in this sauce.

How to Make Curry Sauce (Stepwise Photos)

If you want to make this in the Instant Pot, prepare the ingredients from this preparation section and head over to the Instant pot curry sauce section below.

Preparation

1. Here are the spices you will need. You can leave out the whole spices and add more ground to suit your taste. But whole spices impart deeper flavors.

  • ⅓ to ½ tablespoon Kashmiri red chilli powder (reduce for low heat, I use ½)
  • ½ tablespoon garam masala (adjust to flavor per choice)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • ½ tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon fennel powder (optional)
  • 1 medium bay leaf
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 to 3 inch cinnamon piece
  • 1 star anise
whole spices to make curry sauce

2. You will also need the following

  • 2 cups (200 grams) onions sliced
  • 1 inch (8 grams) ginger (peeled and sliced)
  • 6 medium (15 grams) garlic cloves, sliced if large
onions ginger garlic

3. Here are more veggies required to make the curry sauce:

  • 3½ cups (400 grams) tomatoes sliced or diced
  • ¾ cup (70 grams) carrots diced
  • ¾ cup (70 grams) red bell pepper sliced or diced
tomatoes, bell peppers to make curry sauce

4. Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons oil in a large pan or pot. Add the whole spices, followed by onions, ginger and garlic. If you let the spices cook too long in the oil, they will splutter, so add the onions immediately.

whole spices in oil

5. Saute onions on a medium heat until golden, for about 10 to 12 mins. Avoid sautéing on a high heat as the onions can taste bitter.

saute onions in oil

6. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the ground spices – Kashmiri chili powder, garam masala, coriander, cumin and fennel.

add ground spices

7. Immediately add the tomatoes, bell peppers and carrots. Saute for 3 mins, on a medium heat.

add tomatoes and veggies

8. Pour 2 cup water or broth.

pour water

9. Mix well and cover the pan. Bring it to a boil on a high heat and let simmer on medium heat until the veggies are tender and fully cooked. During this step, if the veggies require more liquid, add more. You can use up to 3 cups, depending on the veggies.

simmering veggies for curry sauce

10. Later add ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ t teaspoon sugar (optional). Mix well and turn off.

salt and sugar in curry sauce

11. Cool the ingredients and remove the spices – cinnamon, bay leaf, black cardamom and star anise. Blend to a puree.

12. If you want to use this as a multipurpose sauce, it is good to keep it thick. The thicker sauce is great on pizza, in marinades, sandwiches, rolls, wraps or to use as a dip. Scroll down to find the consistency of the same curry sauce for curries.

pureed curry sauce in a blender

13. Optional – For better shelf life, add the puree back to the pan and saute on a medium heat for a good 5 minutes.

thick sauce in a pan

Cool down and store it in a glass jar. Refrigerate and use up to 2 weeks or freeze and use up to 2 months.

curry sauce recipe

Make Curry with the Curry Sauce

You can find the details on how much curry sauce to use in the Pro tips section below.

14. If you intend to make curry with this sauce, blend it to a thick but of pouring consistency. For this you may add more liquid while blending.

15. Pour more liquid as you cook, depending on how thick or runny you want your sauce to be. Mix well.

16. To make the curry, you can use vegetables of choice or meat of choice. You will saute or grill the veggies or meat until partially tender (not fully cooked). Do it in a separate pan/wok or in the oven or air fryer. You need to season the veggies with spices like chili powder, garam masala and salt before you grill or during the saute. Add them here.

grilled veggies in the curry sauce

17. Mix well and if required add more liquid. Cover and cook on a low heat until the veggies/ meat is fully cooked to your liking.

18. Crush 1 tablespoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) in your palms and add it. You may leave out if you do not like it.

kasuri methi leaves over curry sauce

19. This is the consistency we prefer. It will thicken as it cools. Taste test and adjust salt as required. If you want more flavor, add more garam masala at this stage.

consistency of curry sauce

20. Garnish with 2 tablespoons thick coconut milk, heavy cream or cashew cream.

vegetables in homemade curry sauce

If you want you can also add more coconut milk or cashew cream during the last few minutes of cooking. Note that adding too much coconut milk will diminish the flavors of the curry. If you want to add a lot, then add more spices for flavor.

curry sauce with coconut milk

Pro Tips – How to use Curry Sauce

This recipe makes about 3 cups of curry sauce and it serves 8. Adding coconut milk or cashew cream is optional and will make more servings.

Here is a brief guide to use this sauce for 4 servings

  • 1½ curry sauce
  • ½ cup coconut milk or cashew cream (optional, 14 cashews, soaked & pureed)
  • More liquid as needed
  • 1 lb. (400 to 450 grams) veggies like carrots, peas, potatoes, cauliflower, bell peppers, baby corn, zucchini, broccoli, sweet potatoes, mushrooms.
  • More spices to season the veggies.

Instant Pot Curry Sauce

  • Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons oil to the steel insert and press saute button. Add all the whole spices, followed by the onions, garlic and ginger. Saute until transparent.
  • Turn off the IP and stir in the ground spices, followed by all the other veggies. Pour 1.5 cups water and mix well at the bottom.
  • Secure the lid and pressure cook for 16 minutes on high pressure. Let pressure drop naturally and then discard the bay leaf, black cardamoms, cinnamon and star anise.
  • Blend this to a smooth puree and pour back to the Ip. Add salt and sugar. Mix and taste test. Add more garam masala if you want. If your sauce is too thick, you may pour little more water.
  • Cook on a saute mode until you see traces of oil over the curry sauce, for about 5 mins. It should be thick, yet of pouring consistency.
curry sauce recipe

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

curry sauce recipe

Curry Sauce Recipe (Instant Pot and Stovetop)

Make delicious curry sauce with this easy recipe! 1 sauce and multiple uses! Stir it into your stir fry dishes, curries, marinades, pilafs or serve it as a dip.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings8 – makes 3 cups
AuthorSwasthi
Diet : Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 2 cups (200 grams) onions sliced
  • 3½ cups (400 grams) tomatoes sliced or diced
  • ¾ to 1 cup (70 to 100 grams) carrots diced
  • ¾ to 1 cup (70 to 100 grams) red bell pepper sliced or diced
  • 1 inch (8 grams) ginger (peeled and sliced)
  • 6 medium (15 grams) garlic cloves sliced
  • 2 cup water or broth (divided, + more as required)
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ⅓ to ½ tablespoon Kashmiri red chilli powder (reduce for low heat)
  • ½ tablespoon garam masala (adjust to flavor per choice)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • ½ tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon fennel powder (optional)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • ⅓ to ⅔ cup cream (optional, heavy cream, cashew cream, coconut milk)

Optional Whole Spices

  • 1 medium bay leaf
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 to 3 inch cinnamon piece
  • 1 star anise


Instructions

How to Make Curry Sauce

  • Heat oil in a large pot. Add the whole spices, onions, ginger & garlic.
  • Saute/fry them on a medium heat until transparent. For deeper flavors saute them until light golden brown on a low flame,
  • Stir in red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, cumin powder & fennel powder.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, carrots and bell peppers. Stir fry for 2 to 3 mins on a medium heat.
  • Pour 1½ cups water or broth. Bring it to a rolling boil.
  • Cover and cook on a medium heat until all the veggies are mushy. Add more water/broth at this stage, as you cook.
  • Add salt and sugar when they are soft.
  • Cool this and remove the bay leaf, black cardamom, star anise and cinnamon. Blend to a smooth thick sauce, adding more liquid as required. To use the sauce as a dip or on pizza, in sandwiches and marinades, keep the consistency thick.
  • Taste test and more garam masala if you want. Your curry sauce is ready. Transfer to a glass freezer safe containers.

How to use Curry Sauce

  • Vegetable Curries: Grill, roast or stir fry your favorite veggies until tender. Season with salt and spice. Add the required amount of sauce and simmer for 2 to 3 mins. For a loose consistency, add some broth, coconut milk or cashew cream or heavy cream and bring it to a gentle boil.
  • Meat Curries: Marinate prawns, chicken or lamb with spices, yogurt/buttermilk & herbs or with the curry sauce itself. Grill, roast or stir fry them until tender and add to the hot curry sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add some broth/coconut milk or cashew milk. Simmer for a few minutes until the flavors are absorbed.

Instant Pot Curry Sauce

  • Perform the steps till you saute the onions on a SAUTE mode. Turn off the IP. Stir in all the ground spices, followed by the veggies and 1½ cups water.
  • Pressure cook on high pressure for 16 minutes. Let pressure drop naturally, discard bay leaf, cinnamon, star anise and black cardamom. Blend the ingredients & pour back to the IP.
  • Add sugar (optional) and salt. Taste test and add more garam masala if required. If the sauce is too thick you may add little water. Cook on a saute mode until you see traces of oil/fats on the sauce and the curry sauce turns thick. This takes about 5 minutes.


Notes

  • If your garam masala has chilli included, cut down the amount of chilli powder in this recipe.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

Video

Watch Curry Sauce Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Curry Sauce Recipe (Instant Pot and Stovetop)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 367 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 15g
Cholesterol 30mg10%
Sodium 470mg20%
Potassium 752mg21%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 8579IU172%
Vitamin C 74mg90%
Calcium 121mg12%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

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Curry Sauce Recipe (Instant Pot and Stovetop)

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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Hello! My baby siblings love the Curry Quest episode of Bluey, so I thought it would be fun to make some with them, and this recipe looks wonderful.
That being said, my little brother is allergic to tomatoes. Can I omit them, or is there a recommended sub?

5 stars
Hi, I made this for 4 people and it was delicious. I am making lunch for a Senior luncheon in a few weeks for about 60 people. How would I adjust spices as I don’t think what the recipe calculator shows would be correct. Thank you for your consideration. Warm regards, Kimber

I don’t have a blender, will a food processor or an immersion blender work? Thank you

This sauce looks fantastic!!! I can’t eat bell peppers, would the recipe be okay to omit them? Also would curry powder make a good substitute for garam masala and how much can I use here?

5 stars
This curry sauce is absolutely delicious! Love the depth of flavors. I made a large batch of the thicker paste to gift my parents and in-laws. It is easy to make any meal with it. I used to buy jars of curry sauce and not any more. Going to try more of your recipes.

5 stars
I am on a budget and this worked amazingly well without coconut or cream. Have been using it on everything like pizza, wraps and even made a chicken curry with this sauce. Thank you very much

5 stars
Absolutely loved it. Used broccoli and mushrooms to make the curry. Thank you. Will be making again and again.

5 stars
Thank you for the yummy recipe. I have tried several from your site, and they never disappoint.

5 stars
Love carrots in this. I used baby carrots to make the sauce and we are pleasantly surprised. It tastes delicious.

5 stars
Delicious curry sauce! You make everything look so simple. This was easy and delicious. Made it thrice already and loving it every time.

5 stars
This curry sauce smells heavenly! I have made this recipe twice and both the times the sauce turned out fantastic. It is easy to make and we did not feel the need for cream or broth. Thank you! Keep up the good work.

5 stars
Excellent recipes !Thanks Swasthi
Neera Sarin

Can canned tomatoes be used in place of fresh? It is hard to get good fresh tomatoes all year in my area.

5 stars
Thank You! Love the carrots in this recipe. Turned out so delicious.

5 stars
Amazing curry sauce! Made 3x and shared with friends. Everyone says it tastes amazing. Thank you

5 stars
I made this curry sauce and it turned out fabulous. The heat level is slightly high. But that should be alright after the chicken and vegetables go into it. To anyone else making this watch the chili because the recipe does not specify any lower levels like in her other recipes. Overall fantastic recipe and is easy to make.

Hi Swasthi, still cooking a variety of your recipes which we love (coconut rice a current favorite) . This one looks very interesting as I am always looking for quick extra curry (typically vegetable) to add to the buffet.

Can you please share the Instant Pot settings for making this recipe?

5 stars
Learned so much from you Swasthi. Getting ingredients is hit and miss at my grocery store, so having a base recipe that I can add whatever too is going to help my family a lot. Excellent as usual. Thank you ?

5 stars
Excellent recipe

5 stars
great food .