5 Simple Indian Curry Bases to Cook any Vegetable

simple Indian curry bases

An Indian curry is usually a complex combination of spices, herbs and vegetables/meat. Be it a combination with rice or roti, it is kind of a mandatory dish in a meal. There are plenty of variations of curry, in different parts of the country. For a beginner at cooking, this might be pretty overwhelming. To make it simple to cook, I have curated a list of simple Indian curry bases which can be mix and matched with various vegetables or meat to create an appetizing dish.

Also, get some amazing kitchen tips to simplify your cooking.

1. Tomato based gravy

Tomato gravy

Ingredient list

  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 big onion (small slices)

  • 2 big tomatoes (small slices)

  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder

  • 1/4 tbsp turmeric powder

  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder

  • Salt (accordingly)

  • 1 tbsp fresh cream (optional)

  • fresh coriander
Tomato gravy - simple Indian curry bases

Take a pan/kadai and add the ingredients one after the other in the above-mentioned order.

Let the onions become transparent before you add tomatoes and let the tomatoes mush before you put in the powdered spices.

In case you want to add vegetables, add them after onions are fried and let the vegetables cook before you add tomatoes.

Add a cup of water after the spices are fried for 2 minutes and then and let in cook for around 5 minutes and adjust the consistency accordingly. Sprinkle some fresh cream and coriander at the end.

This is the simplest yet very delicious curry base, suited for most of the vegetables. This curry can be eaten just the way it is, with rice or roti or you can simply add some boiled eggs to it.

You can also add vegetables like potato, brinjal, carrot and beans together, mushrooms, baby corn which go great with this gravy.

coconut milk based gravy

Coconut milk gravy

Ingredient list

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • Spices( 1 Bay leaf, small piece of cinnamon, 2-3 cloves, 5-6 peppercorns)

  • 10-12 curry leaves

  • 1 big onion (big slices)

  • 3-4 green chillies

  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

  • 1 small tomato (small slices)

  • 1 tsp red chilli powder

  • 1 tsp coriander powder

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

  • Salt (accordingly)

  • 1 cup of coconut milk (store-bought or freshly made) Check how to make Coconut milk
Coconut milk gravy - simple Indian curry bases

Take a pan/kadai and add the ingredients one after the other in the above-mentioned order.

Let the onions become transparent before you add the vegetables/meat and let them cook before you add tomatoes. Let the tomatoes mush before you put in the powdered spices.

Add a cup of water after the spices are fried for 2 minutes and then let in cook for around 2 minutes and then add a cup of coconut milk. Adjust the consistency accordingly.

This gravy base is largely used in south India for non-vegetarian dishes like chicken and fish and is also great for a mixed vegetable curry. This dish best suits rice, dosa and appam.

Curd based gravy

Curd based gravy

Ingredient list

  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 2 medium onions (small slices)

  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

  • 2-3 green chillies (sliced long)

  • 2 big tomatoes (small slices)

  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder

  • 1/4 tbsp turmeric powder

  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder

  • Salt (accordingly)

  • 1 tsp Garam masala

  • 1/2 cup curd

  • fresh coriander/ spring onion
Curd based gravy - simple Indian curry bases

Take a pan/kadai and add the ingredients one after the other in the above-mentioned order.

Let the onions become transparent before you add the vegetables/meat and let them cook before you add tomatoes. Let the tomatoes mush before you put in the powdered spices.

Add a cup of water after the spices are fried for 5 minutes and then let in cook for around 2 minutes.

Once the water comes to boil, then add a cup of curd. Adjust the consistency accordingly.

When you are craving something spicy, this is what I absolutely recommend. The gravy is very rich in flavours, spicy with a hint of tanginess. The aroma of this gravy is definitely mouth-watering.

This base is also largely used for non-vegetarian dishes like chicken and prawns but also works great for paneer/cottage cheese and mixed vegetables. This dish is a great combination with roti.

Tamarind based gravy

Tamarind gravy

Ingredient list

  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • 1 tsp each of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, split urad dal

  • 2 medium onions (big slices)

  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

  • 4-5 green chillies (sliced long)

  • 10-12 curry leaves

  • 1 tsp Jaggery

  • 1 big tomato (small slices)

  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder

  • 1/4 tbsp turmeric powder

  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder

  • Salt (accordingly)

  • 1 cup tamarind juice ( soak the tamarind in hot water for 15-20 and then squeeze the juice)
Tamarind gravy (pulusu) - simple Indian curry bases

Take a pan/kadai and add the ingredients one after the other in the above-mentioned order.

Let the onions become transparent before you add the vegetables/meat and let them cook before you add tomatoes. Let the tomatoes mush before you put in the powdered spices.

Let the spices fry for 5 minutes and add a cup of water and a cup of tamarind juice at the and let in cook for around 10 minutes or until the oil starts separating itself. Adjust the consistency accordingly.

This gravy style which is known as pulusu is widely popular in Andhra Pradesh. It is a perfect blend of spiciness and tanginess with a twist of slight sweetness.

This base is largely used for fish and vegetables like ladies finger/okra, Taro root/arbi, pumpkin and radish. This dish goes best with rice.

Peanut based gravy

Peanut gravy

Ingredient list

  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • 4-5 curry leaves

  • 3-4 green chillies (slit)

  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

  • 2 medium onions (big slices)

  • Masala paste

  • Salt accordingly

  • 1/2 cup tamarind juice ( soak the tamarind in hot water for 15-20 and then squeeze the juice)

  • Fresh coriander

For Masala paste

  • 3 tbsp of groundnuts

  • 2 tbsp dry or fresh coconut

  • 2tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds

  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds

  • 5-6 red chillies (dry)

  • 1-inch cinnamon

  • 3-4 cloves
Peanut gravy - simple Indian curry bases

Take a pan/kadai and dry roast the ingredients mentioned in the masala paste. Grind it into a paste after cooling it down.

Thereafter, as usual, add the ingredients one after the other in the above-mentioned order. Once the onions become transparent, you can either stuff the masala into the vegetable or add it along with the vegetable into the pan.

After adding salt accordingly, close the lid and let it cook for 10-15 minutes.

Then add a cup of water and a cup of tamarind juice and let in cook for another 10 minutes or until the oil starts separating itself. Adjust the consistency accordingly.

This gravy is popularly used to cook brinjal, also known as stuffed brinjal curry. However, it can also be used to cook ridge guard, potato etc.

This gravy is a bit complicated when compared to others but it has a very unique taste and you will love it. This curry goes well with roti or rice.

Do try these curries and let me know in the comments section below if they worked well for you.



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