This hot, sweet, and thick accompaniment to poppadoms is often served in Indian restaurants alongside the customary mango chutney, onion salad, and mint raita. It has a smooth, jam-like consistency and a vibrant red appearance. There are many ways this dip can be made and it’s usually a carefully guarded secret by the restaurants.

This recipe will produce enough for 3-4 people to dip into while enjoying poppadoms. You can make more at a time by simply scaling up the ingredients (see Notes). The sauce will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge, and probably longer – never mind that, it’s so delicious you’ll eat it up very quickly.

This recipe is brand new – you won’t find it in either of my books, Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volumes 1 & 2.

Specially selected recipes from my books are in the RECIPES section.

Spicy Red Poppadom Dip


  • 4 TBSP Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • 1 TBSP Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Coriander (optional)
  • ½ tsp Lemon Rind (optional)
  • ¼ tsp Red Food Colouring (optional)
  • 100ml Water


  • For the Tadka:
    • 1 TBSP Oil or Ghee
    • ½ tsp Panch Phoran (see Notes)
    • 2 Garlic cloves, finely sliced
    • ¼-½ tsp Chilli Flakes (optional)


  1. Put all the ingredients except for the tarka into a blender.
  2. To prepare the tarka, heat up the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat then add the Panch Phoran. Fry for 20-30 seconds then add the garlic cloves and the optional chilli flakes. Fry for a bit longer until the garlic browns on the edges.
  3. Pour the tarka mixture into the blender then blend until smooth.
  4. Empty into a saucepan or frying pan and cook in a saucepan for 20 minutes on low heat until it has thickened, stirring occasionally.


  • Panch phoran is a mixture of five different spice seeds – cumin, fenugreek, fennel, nigella (kalonji), and black mustard seeds. It’s readily available in South Asian stores, but you may have to buy it online instead, or assemble it yourself from the component parts in equal ratios.
  • The fresh coriander is listed as optional – some people dislike its taste.
  • You can double up this recipe up to make more. Adjust the chilli flakes and panch phoran quantities by a factor of 1½ instead of 2 for each time you double up. For example, if you were originally using ½ tsp chilli flakes for the standard unadjusted recipe and then wanted to make twice as much, then you should add only ¾ tsp to compensate (½ multiplied by 1½).
  • All spoon measurements are level, i.e. 1 tsp=5 ml, 1 TBSP=15ml.

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  1. Dennis Nicholds

    I will try this for sure. I have all the books and have done a chicken madras at the weekend. First curry I have used with your recipe and I must say it was amazing. I have tried for 40 years to recreate the Indian takeaway flavours and never been able to master it. Thanks for sharing the secrets.

    • Richard Sayce

      That’s good to hear Dennis, thank you. I hope you try many other of my recipes and enjoy them.

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