Books by Richard Sayce

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

South Indian Tamarind Curry Recipe (BIR): 

The flavours of tamarind, coconut milk, pickle and spices give this mild aromatic curry its special tang. An optional touch of jaggery or brown sugar balances the sour flavour.

I serve this curry in quite a lot of sauce, making it quite thin compared to other British Indian Restaurant style curries. It works well with chicken (pictured), but you can also use other meat, seafood or vegetables.

Serves 1-2 people. Scroll down for the video.

This South Indian Tamarind curry recipe is from my cookbook CURRY COMPENDIUM, and is also in my second book, INDIAN RESTAURANT CURRY AT HOME VOLUME 2. All my books are available in both physical and kindle formats.


  • 3 TBSP (45ml) Oil. Use Butter Ghee or Vegetable Ghee instead or in part for a richer, more rounded flavour
  • 10cm Cassia Bark
  • ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Seeds from 1 Black Cardamom (optional). Discard the outer pod
  • 1½ tsp Ginger/Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Kasuri Methi
  • 1¼ tsp Mix Powder
  • ¼-½ tsp Chilli Powder (optional)
  • ¼-½ tsp Salt
  • 380ml+ Base Gravy
  • 3-4 TBSP Tomato Paste
  • Pre-cooked Chicken, Tikka, Lamb, Prawns, Vegetables, etc. 200g will feed 1-2 people


  • 1-2 tsp Jaggery or Brown Sugar (optional). This will balance the tartness of the tamarind and pickle.
  • Tamarind, in one of the following forms:
    • 1¾ TBSP Tamarind Sauce (bottled commercial brand – East End, Maggi, etc.) NOTE: Bottled tamarind sauce is most likely to already contain sugar, so adjust to taste
    • ¾-1 tsp Tamarind Concentrate
    • 2½ TBSP Tamarind Pulp (soaked, mashed, and strained from a block)
  • 2 tsp Indian Pickle of your choice, chopped smooth to break down any bits
  • 150ml Coconut Milk


  1. Add the oil/ghee to a frying pan and heat to medium high.
  2. Now add the cassia bark, cumin seeds, and the optional black cardamom seeds (removed from the pod).
  3. Cook for 30-40 seconds to infuse flavour into the oil, stirring frequently.
  4. Next add the ginger/garlic paste and continue to cook for 20-30 seconds or until the sizzling sound lessens. Stir diligently.
  5. Then add the kasuri methi, mix powder, salt, and the optional chilli powder.
  6. Fry for 20-30 seconds, stirring very frequently. Add a splash of base gravy (e.g. 30ml) when the mixture dries out and starts to stick to the pan. This avoids burning the spices and gives them enough time to cook properly.
  7. Now add the tomato paste and your choice of pre-cooked meat/vegetables, etc. Turn up the heat to high and mix well.
  8. Add 75ml of base gravy, stir into the sauce, and leave on high heat with no further stirring until the sauce is reduced a little and craters form again around the edges.
  9. Next add a second 75ml of base gravy, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan once when first added, and allow the sauce to reduce again.


  1. Add 200ml of base gravy, the tamarind, pickle, coconut milk, and the optional jaggery or brown sugar.
  2. Stir and scrape the pan and leave to cook on high heat for 4-5 minutes. Stir and scrape once or twice to mix the caramelised sauce back in, but do this only to prevent the sauce from sticking too much and burning. It’s important to let the sauce adhere to the bottom and sides of the pan, which produces a great flavour.
  3. Add extra base gravy if needed to achieve a final thin and smooth consistency.
  4. Adjust to your taste with extra tamarind, sugar and/or pickle.
South Indian Tamarind Curry


  • All spoon measurements are level (1 tsp = 5ml, 1 TBSP = 15ml).
  • Please visit the Misty Ricardo’s Curry Kitchen YouTube Channel for lots of Indian recipes.
Watch the Video


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