Quick Easy 30 Minute Base Gravy Recipe for Curries

30 Minute Base Gravy (Quick and Easy) by Richard Sayce

Here’s a simplified and highly satisfactory quick base gravy recipe for use when making restaurant style curries. It’s easy to make, takes about 30 minutes to cook, and provides enough for approximately five portions of single recipe portion BIR style curries. Whilst not as sophisticated as my other base gravies, it’s a very convenient compromise, both in terms of time saved and the ingredients required.

The base gravy can be kept in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or frozen for 3 months or more. You can double or triple the ingredients to make a larger batch if you wish.

This recipe is new and from the Gourmand award-winning book Curry Compendium by Richard Sayce, and is available from Amazon and all good book sellers. Also available in kindle format to read on any device.

Please also see my main base gravy recipe for a more elaborate but time consuming version.


  • 75ml Oil
  • 500-600g Brown Onions, sliced (unpeeled weight)
  • ¼ Green Pepper, chopped (optional)
  • ½-¾ tsp Salt
  • 1½ TBSP Ginger/Garlic Paste (30g)
  • 2 TBSP Tomato Purée (40g)
  • 1 TBSP Mix Powder (p. 53)
  • ½ tsp Garam Masala
  • 800ml Water (hot)

Curry Compendium Cookbook


  1. Add the oil to a medium or large pan on medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, salt, and the optional green pepper.
  3. Fry for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
  4. Now add the ginger/garlic paste and continue frying for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the mix powder, garam masala, tomato purée and a splash of water.


  1. Fry for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently to stop the spices catching and burning. Add a little more water to help with this.
  2. Now add the hot water, turn the heat down to low-medium, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. The base gravy is now ready to use, but remember to dilute before using it in a curry.


  • The base gravy should be quite thin when cooking a BIR curry. Dilute it with an equal amount of water to get a consistency of semi-skimmed milk, and always heat it up before using it to avoid slowing the curry cooking process.
Watch the Video

Books by Richard Sayce

Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volume 1
Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volume 2 Front Cover
Curry Compendium Cookbook


  1. Stevo


    Would red onions work as well ?


    • Richard Sayce

      Yes, they would, but I find the brown onions have more flavour.

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