This all-purpose curry sauce can be used for anything from main dishes like chicken, shrimp, currywurst, or curry and chips to spicing up a vegetable side dish. It is freezer-friendly and comes together in a snap for a quick and tasty dish.
Using this sauce is one of my favorite ways to elevate a meal at our house. It’s full of warm flavor with a touch of spiciness, and the texture is downright luxurious.
If you’re looking for a shortcut, you can always buy the curry paste and add the liquid to it. However, this homemade recipe is closer to the traditional way of making the sauce and has deeper flavors than you might get from a store-bought product.
What is curry powder?
Curry powder is a blend of various ground spices and herbs, typically associated with Indian, British, and South Asian cuisines. While the exact composition can vary based on the dish and geographic location, it often includes warm spices such as turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cumin, fenugreek, and chili peppers.
Curry powder adds a complex and aromatic flavor profile to dishes and is commonly used to season and spice up a wide range of curries, stews, soups, and other savory dishes, contributing to their distinctive taste and color (yellow and orange). For this recipe, it plays an important part in the curry base.
There are lots of different brands of Indian curry powder, from Madras curry powder to yellow curry powder. For this sauce, you can use any variety that you like.
The ingredients in curry and curry powders have long been associated with anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also credited with helping digestive health.
What is curry sauce?
Curry sauce is a staple in Indian cuisine. It’s a flavorful sauce made by adding liquid to a paste made from various ingredients like curry powder, aromatics like garlic and onions, and other spices.
While some curry sauce recipes call for creamy additions like milk, yogurt, sour cream, or heavy cream, others depend on stock or dairy-free alternatives.
Why You’ll Love Curry Sauce
If you’re a fan of simple recipes that are packed full of flavor, you’re going to want to make this one on the regular.
- Full of flavor – This simple curry sauce packs a punch of flavor and is guaranteed to take any dish to the next level.
- Versatile – You can use the sauce for so many different curry dishes or on a variety of veggies or starches. It’s also amazing on plenty of proteins from simple chicken thighs or chicken breast to beef, pork, and seafood.
- Customizable – Turn the heat up on this savory sauce, or dial the level of heat down a notch, depending on your personal preference.
These simple ingredients can be found at the grocery store.
- Extra virgin olive oil – Used to saute the aromatics, olive oil adds healthy fat to the sauce.
- Unsalted butter – Butter adds a touch of richness.
- White onion – Coarsely chopped onions are a crucial component of the paste.
- Garlic – Minced garlic adds a pungent flavor.
- Fresh ginger – Grated ginger adds earthy spiciness.
- Curry powder – A main component, this blend gives the sauce its signature flavor.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar balances out the flavor of the spices.
- Cayenne powder – Add a little extra heat with cayenne pepper powder.
- Coarse kosher salt – Salt enhances the flavors of the spices and tomato paste.
- Tomato paste – Tomato paste adds a bit of acidity to the sauce/
- Low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock – While we love the flavor of chicken broth, vegetable broth is a good option for a vegetarian sauce.
- Light coconut milk – Coconut milk adds a bit of creaminess. For a thicker sauce, use full-fat coconut milk.
What To Serve Curry Sauce With
Spoon this sauce over simple brown rice, cauliflower rice, or ginger rice, or use it as a dipping sauce with pita, roti, or naan bread. You can also drizzle it over seafood, roast beef, or grilled chicken or use it to make pineapple pork curry or a take on coconut curry chicken.
How to Make Curry Sauce
This traditional curry sauce is fairly easy to make and lasts for a few days in the refrigerator.
- Sauté onions in butter. Add the olive oil and butter to a medium saucepan. Once the butter has melted, add the onions to the pan and sauté briefly.
- Add in garlic and ginger. Next, add the garlic and ginger to the onions.
- Add remaining ingredients. After cooking until the garlic and ginger have softened, add the curry powder, cayenne, salt, and tomato paste.
- Add stock and milk. Then, remove the pan from the heat before adding the stock and coconut milk.
- Blend until smooth. Finally, blend the mixture with an immersion blender. Alternatively, you can cool the sauce briefly before transferring it to a food processor or blender.
- Serve or store. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator after it comes to room temperature.
You can switch up this delicious curry sauce in all sorts of different ways!
- Heat – Increase the heat levels by adding more cayenne pepper.
- Creaminess – Use Greek yogurt or sour cream for a thick sauce.
- Turmeric – Add even more flavor, color, and anti-inflammatories by sprinkling in some turmeric.
- Umami – Impart some Asian flavor with a few dashes of soy sauce, or try a unique twist by adding fish sauce or shrimp paste.
- Onions – You can use other types of onions, and green onions make a great garnish for any dish you’re serving the sauce with.
Store leftover sauce in an airtight container or a mason jar in the refrigerator, or a freezer-safe container in the freezer.
Make Ahead: Make a big batch of this sauce on Sunday or Monday and enjoy it on various dishes throughout the week.
Refrigerator: Store this sauce for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Freezer: Freeze curry sauce for up to 3 months.
Common Questions About Curry Sauce
Curry sauce is made of curry paste, mixed with liquids that can be either thin or creamy.
Curry has layers of flavors that range from warm and spicy to sweet and earthy, all imparted by a variety of spices.
Curry could be considered a style of gravy. You can serve it over traditional Indian dishes or with starches, proteins, or vegetables.
Other Savory Sauces
Curry Sauce Recipe
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups white onion coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 3 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder optional
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, allowing to soften, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger, sauteing until soft.
- Stir in the curry powder, cayenne, salt and tomato paste. Heat until fragrant.
- Add the stock and coconut milk. Using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Alternately, you can transfer to a food processor or blender.
- Use however you’d like to save for later.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.