July 22, 2018

Base gravy for curries - no onion & garlic

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The moment we think of paneer butter masala ,mattar paneer ,malai kofta ,Vegetable makhanwala etc , we can immediately visualise a lovely bright orangish  gravy with the perfect blend of spices and a hint of ginger garlic paste sautéed in tomatoes and onion .

What if I tell you , the same texture and taste can be achieved when you prepare without onion and garlic ?? Cannot believe your eyes ... worry not , I shall present to you the recipe for a basic gravy that you can prepare and modify it into any classic North Indian gravy .

Preparation time : 15 mins
Cooking time : 20 mins
Serves :2-3
Complexity :simple

3 medium sized tomatoes - roughly chopped
8-10 cashews soaked in warm water
1 tsp ginger finely chopped
2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp haldi powder
2 tsp dhaniya powder / coriander powder
Pinch of sugar
1 green chilli finely chopped .
1/2 tsp jeera


  • In a wok/kadai add some 2 tsp of oil and splutter the jeera . 
  • Now sauté the tomatoes and green chilli with 1/2 tsp ginger until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy . 
  • Blend into a fine paste once the tomatoes cool down.
  • In another mixie jar , blend the cashews into a fine paste and keep aside . 
  • To prepare the gravy, heat a little 1 tablespoon oil or ghee or butter in a frying pan . 
  • Add turmeric , red chilli powder and dhaniya powder and fry it well , do it on low flame
  • and donot burn the spices .
  • Quickly pour in the tomato paste and mix it well , you will get a bright color . Allow the tomatoes paste to cook well until the oil begins to separate from the gravy . Sprinkle some water , if you feel the gravy has become dry .
  • Add the cashew paste and 1/4 cup water ; mix well . Add salt , garam masala and a pinch of sugar and cook till the raw flavor of cashews is lost . The gravy will look bright orangish and the aroma will be wafting through your kitchen . 
  • You may adjust some water and spices if you feel it is too dry or spices are less . 
  • The gravy is ready when you can see the oil has separated well and is floating on top . 

Paneer mutter
To this gravy , if you add cooked peas and  paneer cubes and cook for about 8-10 mins , tasty mutter paneer is ready

Vegetable maakhanwala
Add some boiled vegetables like beans , carrot , potatoes , cauliflower , peas  to the gravy , cook for 7-8 mins and lastly garnish with fresh cream to prepare vegetable makahnwala

Paneer makhanwala
Instead of mixed vegetables , add some fried paneer to the gravy and cook for 7-8 mins ,garnish with fresh cream and some butter and serve hot .

Vegetable Kofta Curry 
Prepare koftas using mixed vegetable or just plain aloo paneer kofta and add the fried koftas to this gravy while warm.

Mutter Masala
Add some boiled green peas to the gravy and simmer for 7-8 mins to get a tasty Mutter masala or peas masala.

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