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Friday, April 8, 2011

Basic Masala Gravy for Indian Curries and Veggies

I was in India for 4 wks, my hubby could not come with me. What is he going to eat every day? He asked.

I must thank my friends, my sister and my neighbor who did cook for him on the weekends. However everyday after work what was he to do, so I had prepared this basic masala gravy that he can add to any veggies to prepare curried veggies as a side dish and have it with Naan or Rice. Of course frozen Naans are readily available in local grocery stores like Trader Joe or at local Indian or Middle eastern grocers. I have entered my plain white rice recipe in our microwave, so that is not difficult for him to cook.

He did admit it came in very handy.

This is a very good recipe for college kids and working moms and singles, who like to enjoy Indian curries but don't have time to make it. You can prepare this gravy ahead of time and add anything (veggies, lentils, beans, Kofta, dumplings, cooked chicken, meat or anything to it in order to prepare a quick delicious curry dish. You may garnish them with chopped Cilantro.

I came in handy for me too, when I flew back and did not feel like cooking or eating out. I just took this gravy out of my freezer and added it to Spinach and Paneer and Wallah !! I had delicious Palak Paneer. I will post this at end of the post, how I used the pre-prepared gravy to make quick Palak Paneer.

Here is how I prepared this gravy that I divided in to 1 and 2 cups portions and froze them.


* 6 onions, yellow or red (I used yellow this time)

* 3" piece of Ginger peeled

* 10 cloves of garlic

* 6 Jalapeno peppers

* 1/3 cup of olive oil

* 2 tablespoon of butter

* 1/4 cup of cumin seeds

* 1 6" sticks or two 3" stick of cinnamon

* 6 Bay leaves

* 3 pods of black cardamom or 6 pods of green cardamom (optional)

* 2 tea spoons black peppercorn

* 3/4 teaspoon of asafetida

* 10 pods of red chili (fresh or dried, I used frozen that I bought from Indian grocer)

* 1/2 cup of coriander powder

* 1/4 cup of cumin powder

* 1/3 cup of paprika powder

* 1/4 cup of cayenne pepper powder

* 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder

* 1/3 cup of salt

* 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

* 1 tablespoon garam masala

* 1 can of tomato puree

* 1/2 cup fat free sour cream

* 1 cup of fresh cream or half and half

* 2 tablespoon of corn starch

* 1 cup of cold water


* Chop and finely grind onions in food processor and set aside.

* Make ginger garlic and Jalapeno paste in food processor set aside.

* Heat olive oil and butter in a deep pan.

* When oil is heated at cumin seeds, bay leave, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and peppercorn.

* When cumin seeds crackle, add asafetida.

* Add ginger garlic paste and saute for 1 min.

* Add ground onions saute until light brown.

* Add Chili pods and cook for another 1-2 min.

* Now add all the dry spices and salt.

* Cook for 1-2 min.

* Add tomato puree.

* Cook for 3 min with occasional stirring.

* Add sour cream and heavy cream, continue cooking and stirring until smooth.

* Mix corn starch in cold water and mix well until not lumpy.

* Add corn starch mix to the the gravy and cook for another 3-5 min.

* Cool and divide the gravy in 2 cups portions and freeze it in freezer safe container until ready to be used.

* You can keep this the the freezer for good 8-12 weeks.

* You may thaw and add it to any cooked veggies, beans, legumes, Kofta, dumplings, paneer, Tofu or daal. After mixing it, cook for 3-5 min and garnish the prepared dish with chopped Cilantro leave. Serve with Pita bread, Naan, Chapati or Rice.

Now here is how I used this prepared gravy to make Palak Paneer.

* First I boiled 10 oz bag of spinach in water keeping the pot open to preserve color.

* Drained all the water and ground the spinach in to a paste.

* I took one 14 oz slab of Paneer and cut it in small cubes, added these to the spinach paste.

* Then I added one cup of this prepared, thawed masala gravy to spinach and paneer, mixed well and cooked it on stove for 3 min.

* There was no need to add salt as there is plenty of salt added to gravy, but you can add to taste if desired.

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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