How to Make Indian Curry (with Pictures)

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How to Make Indian Curry (with Pictures)
How to Make Indian Curry (with Pictures)

There are many different types of curry, but they all have the same basic ingredients. You start with sautéed onion, ginger and garlic, add plenty of spices and then add it together with a liquid base. Cooking Indian Curry is more about technique than any other recipe, as the final flavor depends on the spices you like and have on hand. Once you've mastered the basics of curry making, you'll master the Indian classic in no time.

  • Prep time: 10-20 minutes
  • Prep time: 35-60 minutes
  • Total time: 55-80 minutes


Method 1 of 2: Understanding the Curry Method

Make Indian Curry Step 1

Step 1. Understand the basics of making a curry

There are really only three main principles in making curry. Once you've mastered these three things, you'll be able to tailor your curry to your own taste with ease. Simply mix and match ingredients to form the following formula for your own curry dish:

  • Onions/garlic/ginger:

    These three ingredients form the basis of most curries, but some Indians actually skip the garlic. The longer you cook these ingredients, the richer and darker the curry will be.

  • Excessive herbs:

    Curries need generous spoonfuls of spice and are added early to cook and soften. There is no wrong combination of herbs, so work on finding the blends you love.

  • Thickening agent:

    What will give your curry its firmness? This is often one or more of the following: yogurt, coconut milk, stock, water, pureed or diced tomatoes, chili paste, or spinach.

Make Indian Curry Step 2

Step 2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat

You want the oil to be hot and shiny. You can use any oil you like, but 1-2 tablespoons of peanut oil, canola or vegetable oil is the best choice.

For a traditional Indian dish, you should use Ghee, also known as purified butter, as an oil

Make Indian Curry Step 3

Step 3. Throw in aromatic seeds, such as coriander, cumin or mustard, until they start to crackle

Once the oil is hot, throw in a tablespoon of any combination of coriander/cumin/mustard seed/fenugreek and devil's dung depending on your recipe. Curries are heavily spiced, but also heavily improvised, so feel free to try whatever combination of spices you like.

  • For your first recipe, try a tablespoon of cumin and coriander, and a pinch of devil's dung if you have it.
  • Crackling means the seeds are jumping around in the pan, dancing.
Make Indian Curry Step 4

Step 4. Finely chop an onion and add it to the oil

Cut the onion into small cubes of about 1 cm and toss them in the oil. Bake until edges turn transparent and turn golden brown, 5-10 minutes.

The longer you cook the onions, the richer the final curry will be. You can also stop as soon as the edges start to become transparent for a lighter yellow curry

Make Indian Curry Step 5

Step 5. Chop the garlic and ginger and add them after the onions fry for 3-4 minutes

Finely chop the 5cm piece of ginger and 2-3 cloves of garlic, to taste. Add them to saute and soften with the onions relatively soon after the onions go in. Add a pinch of salt to taste while they cook.

Onions, garlic and ginger are seen as the trinity of Indian cuisine, just as onions, carrots and celery are the basic trinity of French cuisine

Make Indian Curry Step 6

Step 6. Now add generous portions of ground spices

Curries are heavily spiced dishes, and you need to let the spices cook with the dish to get the best flavor. Add 1 tablespoon of ground chili powder, cardamom, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and/or curry powder to the oil. Add half a tablespoon of salt after the spices have gone in. Stir well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

  • You want your spices to bake, but not burn. If there is not much moisture in the pan from the onions and oil, mix the spices with 2-3 tablespoons of water to moisten them and prevent them from burning.
  • For your first recipe, try a tablespoon each of chili powder, turmeric, cardamom, and curry powder.
Make Indian Curry Step 7

Step 7. Add any spicy peppers or flavorings

The longer you cook peppers, the sweeter they get, so add it towards the end of cooking if you want it extra hot. Chop 2-3 scotch bonnet peppers, Habanera cayenne pepper, Cerrano or finger peppers and add them to saute with the onions and garlic, or simply add 1 tablespoon dried cayenne pepper to the other spices.

Make Indian Curry Step 8

Step 8. Add your main ingredient - meat or vegetables - to brown

Add 1-2 sliced ​​chicken breast fillets, shrimp or lamb to the dish and an extra splash of oil. You can also add vegetables, such as a can of chickpeas, two cups of cauliflower, an eggplant chopped into 1-inch cubes, chopped pineapple, tomato, or a potato cut into small cubes.

If you're adding meat, brown the outside in a separate pan. Then add it to the curry before continuing

Make Indian Curry Step 9

Step 9. Add your liquid to cover the ingredients, cover and let it simmer on medium-low

Slowly add a mixture of water, stock or coconut milk to the ingredients, just enough to cover the vegetables and meat. Stir well and cover the pan, reducing the heat to a simmer.

  • If you want garam masala in your dish, add 1 tablespoon now. It doesn't need to cook as long as the other spices.
  • In your first recipe, add a can of coconut milk for an easy, thicker curry, or 500 ml of vegetarian, chicken or beef stock.
Make Indian Curry Step 10

Step 10. Add your thickener if you wish

Now is the time to add 2 cups of chopped spinach (saag), 250 ml of unsweetened yogurt, a small or large can of tomato paste, 2-3 tablespoons of chili paste, or even a handful of ground peanuts or almonds. Also add a pinch of salt to taste.

  • Not all curries need this, especially if you've used coconut milk before. You can still experiment with thickening ingredients, especially tomato paste - the base of the red curries.
  • For your first curry, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, then more to taste.
Make Indian Curry Step 11

Step 11. Let the curry simmer until it is the thickness you want

Let the curry simmer over low heat. You will see that the oil and water will separate, but this is good. Taste the sauce regularly, adding more salt and spices as desired. Now is a good time to add hot or spicy flavors.

If your curry is too thin, add 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt or tomato paste

Make Indian Curry Step 12

Step 12. Serve garnished with coriander, unsweetened yogurt, crushed nuts, or lemon juice

Curry can take a long simmer, so feel free to keep it on a low heat while you finish other dishes. Just make sure it's hot when you serve it, topped off with any additives you like. Serve it alone or on a bed of rice.

Method 2 of 2: Adjusting your curry

Make Indian Curry Step 13

Step 1. Understand how different sauces are made

When you go to an Indian restaurant, there are several different dishes that use the same basic ingredients and techniques as with curries. The difference is mainly in the thickening agent that is used:

  • Korma uses a creamy agent, such as coconut milk, yogurt, or cream.
  • saag uses greens, usually spinach, but sometimes mustard/cabbage leaves.
  • madras uses mashed and diced tomatoes.
  • Vindaloo uses mashed peppers.
Make Indian Curry Step 14

Step 2. Blend your ingredients well in advance for a smoother sauce

This technique, used in many restaurants, forms a curry paste of onions, garlic, ginger and spices, which cooks faster and results in a smoother curry. To make it, use a food processor to chop everything into a thick paste, then add it to the hot oil after the seeds have cracked.

Make Indian Curry Step 15

Step 3. Remember that cooking a curry is about method, not a specific recipe

There is not one curry recipe. Curry involves mixing and matching ingredients, using the curry baking technique described above. Still, to make the most basic, medium-sized curry you can add and fry, in this order:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee (purified butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1 medium onion - finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves - skinned and sliced
  • 4 cm piece of ginger - peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, curry powder, salt
  • 2 mild fleshy green chillies - seeded and sliced
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste mixed with 4 tablespoons water
Make Indian Curry Step 16

Step 4. Play with the spices you want to add

You have to add spices lavishly, taking every chance to taste. Start with a tablespoon of each of the following, then you can add more or less as you like:

  • Cumin (essential)
  • Coriander (essential)
  • Turmeric (essential)
  • Ground chili powder
  • cardamom
  • cayenne pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • curry powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • garam masala
  • Asafoetida (a pinch, also called a 'hing')


  • Keep practicing, testing new spice combinations every time, to perfect your curry technique.
  • To make a curry less spicy, you can stir in a spoonful of coconut oil.

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