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Indian Curry Making: The Essentials

Indian Curry Making: The Essentials
Mark Angeles
Written by Mark Angeles

Indian curry making is an art form! From grinding the perfect masala to using the right blend of spices, making authentic curries is a process full of flavor and finesse. Whether you’re a novice or pro, it’s essential to know the basics of making Indian curry the right way.

Are you aspiring ⁣to master the art of curry making? ‌Indian curry has become one of ⁤the most popular food items around the world. Learning the⁣ basics of Indian curry making can unlock a world of delicious and easy-to-make ‌dishes for you. From the essential ingredients to the perfect technique, ‍this article will provide all the essentials you need ⁣to make your own delicious Indian‌ curries at home.

-Understanding⁢ Indian Curry Making

Indian curry making is an art, and some would say ⁢it is the ⁣crowning culinary delicacy ⁤of Indian culture. From traditional⁣ masala to fiery vindaloo, the possibilities presented by Indian ⁢curries are endless. Whether ‍you’re looking to make a⁣ dip to accompany a starter, a main meal, or a side dish, ⁣learning the essential techniques of Indian curry making is a must.


At the heart of​ any Indian curry are the main ingredients. Generally speaking, the main ingredients in Indian curries include‌ a​ variety ⁣of spices for adding flavour, such as ginger, turmeric, coriander seeds and cumin, as well as your choice​ of ⁢vegetables, ⁤such as potatoes, peas,‌ onions, carrots and tomatoes. Other‌ ingredients you might consider adding include black or⁣ green cardamom, garlic, chillies, garam masala, and ghee. Be creative here! While spices are ⁤key, for vegetarian⁤ dishes you might also consider‌ adding coconut milk or yoghurt for extra richness and ‍flavour.


Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, it’s time to get cooking! The method will depend on the curry you’re‌ making, ​but generally speaking, the process will involve the​ following steps:

  • Frying the ⁣spices⁢ and vegetables ​with⁤ oil or ghee until lightly browned
  • Adding your liquid – such as water, pureed tomatoes, or coconut milk – to‍ create a sauce and bring all the flavours together
  • Simmering the curry until cooked through
  • Adding herbs and⁣ spices to add extra flavour, such as coriander, cumin, or garam ⁢masala

Finally, take the time⁤ to adjust your curry to your own taste – try adding⁣ more spices, or ⁤less ⁣chillies. Let ⁢your imagination and taste buds guide ⁢you, and you’ll soon be well on the way to creating restaurant ⁤quality curry!

-The ​Ingredients & Spices

Green Chilli Paste

Green chilli ‌paste is⁤ an essential ingredient in making Indian curries. This versatile spicy condiment made​ from ground green chillies⁢ is the base of many Indian dishes. Green‍ chilli paste adds a great​ deal of ⁣flavour and heat to your dish, making it a must-have for any Indian ‌curry-making beginner. Make sure to add it after your onion base has been cooked​ so​ that the ‍flavours of the green chilli paste can truly shine.

Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds are ​an essential part of making ⁤an⁢ Indian curry. Their nutty, earthy flavour⁤ pairs perfectly with the complexity of other spices used. Cumin seeds⁢ can be used whole, roasted, or crushed.⁤ Use them in fried onions to enhance the flavour of an Indian curry. Cumin is an extremely ⁤versatile spice and can be used as an‌ ingredient in many ‌dishes, from curries to rice​ dishes.

Garam Masala

Garam masala ‍is a blend of spices essential ⁢to Indian cooking. The composition of garam masala varies widely depending upon the region and family tradition in which it is made. Typical garam masala contains cardamom,‍ cloves, cinnamon, black pepper,⁤ coriander, and cumin. It gives you a wonderful, pungent ‌flavour. Sprinkle on ⁣lentils, vegetables, curries, ⁣and rice.


Turmeric is a necessity when cooking Indian curries. It imparts a rich, golden-yellow colour and ‌a unique flavour. It is used in many dishes, from curries to lentils. Turmeric has a sharp spicy-peppery⁢ flavour and is especially fragrant in curry⁤ dishes. ⁢It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and a great source ⁣of antioxidants!


Basil isn’t just ⁤for Italian⁣ food, ⁢it’s also an ⁢important part of Indian curries. Fragrant, spicy, and slightly licorice-like, basil brings a great depth of flavour to curries. ‌Thai basil is the best variety to use for Indian⁤ curries. Add the leaves at the ‌end of the ⁣cooking ​process so the ‌flavour stays concentrated ‌and fragrant.

-Preparing the Curry

Gathering the Masalas

Making a ‍curry is ​all about finding the ⁤perfect balance of spices, known as ‘masalas’. Fresh or store-bought garam masalas are a must for a tasty and aromatic Indian curry. The mix of spices includes coriander, cumin, bay leaves, asafoetida, ⁤black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. To create ⁤your own masala blend, you can choose to grind them together or⁢ roast ⁤the whole spices, grind them ‌and mix them together in a bowl for a ​time-consuming yet more⁣ fragrant result.

The Base ⁣of the Curry

On top of your chosen ​masalas, you’ll need to build a sauce that will provide your curry with its depth of flavour.⁣ The most⁣ classic ⁢option for the entire base of the curry recipe is onions, tomato, and garlic. You can either‍ pre-cook these ⁢ingredients and puree them⁣ into ⁤a ‌paste, or ⁣cook them in a‌ longer sauce using more⁣ spices and herbs. For many curry recipes, it’s best to use coconut milk for added flavour, nutritional density, and ‌creaminess.

Vegetables and Protein

The vegetables and proteins ‌combined with your curry base and masalas come down to your personal preference. Consider the kind of vegetables you want to use – whether potatoes,⁢ cauliflower, eggplant, ⁢or other – and opt‍ for the proteins that work best with the vegetables you desire.‌ Whether tofu, paneer, meat, fish,‌ eggs, or‍ any other kind of protein you pick, make sure they’re cut into small⁤ cubes or⁢ thin ⁤strips which have first​ been marinated in yoghurt and spices.​

Mixing the Ingredients

To⁢ assemble your curry recipe, add ⁤a dash of oil⁣ to ⁣a hot pan and sauté ⁤your pre-cooked vegetables &‌ proteins⁤ until‍ they’re ⁢lightly browned and delicious. Once these⁤ ingredients are done, you can add your ground‌ spices, curry paste, and coconut milk. Mix all the ingredients together ⁢and cover the pan with a lid, simmering on​ low-medium ‌heat ‍for 10-15 minutes until ​a thick sauce has formed.

Garnishing and Serving

To⁣ get the⁣ final touches ‍of your dish right, it’s all about choosing the right garnishes. From coriander leaves, chillies, spring onions, and yoghurt, adding these ‌as a finishing touch can transform an ordinary curry into a meal fit for royalty. Enjoy!

-Essential Tips for Perfect Curry

1. Spice Selection:
When mastering the art of Indian curry making, it is essential to have the right spices on hand. Common spices⁤ used in curries include turmeric, coriander, ginger, cumin, garlic, and chili powder. Whole spices have a better taste, so sourcing them in⁤ their raw form is recommended in order to avoid any compromise on ‍flavor. It is also important to remember that the quantity and combination of spices make a⁣ huge difference in impacting the‌ final flavor.

2.⁤ Preparation of Ingredients:
Curry dishes require ingredients⁢ to be prepared beforehand. This involves chopping, slicing, and⁢ cleaning vegetables, and preparing ‌the meat, if applicable. This can take a bit of time, but the effort will be worth it in the end. As for non-vegetarian dishes, it is‍ important to​ ensure that the meat is properly cooked before adding​ it to the curry.

3. Timing:
Timing plays ⁣an important role in making sure that the ​flavors of the spices are properly extracted and absorbed by ⁣the ingredients. Depending on the ingredients used, the⁣ cooking time can‍ vary. As such, it is important to always keep a close eye on the progress and adjust the heat and⁤ timing‍ accordingly.

4. Creating a ‌Base:
Heat ⁢oil in a pan and then temper spices‍ and ingredients such ⁤as onions, garlic, and ginger. This is⁣ important‍ for‌ developing the ⁤flavor ‌of the curry. Make sure to stir and fry until the onions turn ‌golden brown as this will result⁤ in ‍a delicious‍ and flavorful base for ‍the curry. Once the base is ready,⁣ simply add your chosen ingredients and spices.

5. Simmering:
Once all‍ the ingredients and spices have ‌been added, ‌lower the heat to simmer. ⁤This is important for drawing out the‍ flavors of the spices, as well as ensuring that all ingredients are cooked through. The cooking time may vary depending on the⁣ type and quantity of ingredients used.

6. Adding Liquid:
Though some curries⁤ require no additional liquid, ⁣liquids⁢ such ⁢as stock or ⁤coconut milk can ⁣help to enhance the flavor further. Adding liquid also helps to ensure ⁢that the ingredients can be cooked properly through.

7. Finishing Touches:
This⁢ includes adjusting seasonings​ and garnishing ​with⁤ herbs ‍or deep-fried onions. A ⁣bit​ of lemon or lime juice can​ also be added to enhance the flavor and ‌add ​a⁢ bit of zing to the dish.

8. Presentation and Serving:
Indian⁤ curry​ dishes ⁣should be served straight⁤ away while still hot. Presentation ⁢is ​also important, so make sure to serve with⁢ some⁣ rice, roti, or naan. This is an ​essential part of the Indian curry-eating experience!

-Exploring Different Curry Types

Making ‍Indian ⁤curries is one of the simplest ⁤and most enjoyable methods of cooking. The perfect ratio of spices and seasonings, select ⁣components and elements, and some TLC⁢ make these dishes‌ some of the most delicious and aromatic meals around. In Indian cooking, there⁣ are⁢ several different ​types of curries, each with its own⁣ unique flavor profile.

Types of Indian Curry

  • Tikka ‍Masala –‍ This is the most widely known and sought-after type⁢ of curry. Tomato,​ cream, and aromatic spices ⁢like garam masala, ginger, and garlic form the base of this ⁢dish.
  • Vindaloo – Originating from Goa, Vindaloo⁢ is a particularly spicy⁤ dish that combines garlic, chili peppers, vinegar, garlic,⁣ and mustard seeds.
  • Korma – A ⁣creamy curry made with yogurt, heavy cream, and aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ​cloves, nutmeg, and ⁤cumin. The‍ mildest of all the curries, Korma⁢ is great for those who don’t like the heat.
  • Rogan Josh ⁣– A classic Kashmiri curry made from tomatoes, onions, and aromatic spices like clove, garam ​masala, and coriander.
  • Dhansak – A popular Parsi‌ dish made with lentils, vegetables, and a blend of spices like fenugreek, bay‍ leaves, and cumin.

Common ⁣Ingredients

  • Ghee⁣ – Clarified butter is a staple ⁢in Indian cooking, used to make the base of⁢ a curry by sautéing the‌ onions.
  • Onions – ⁢Can ‍be fried ⁣in ghee, or slow-cooked‌ for a soft texture.
  • Garlic – Used ⁤in curries to lend flavor and aroma.
  • Ginger – Often ⁤used to make a paste for marinating and ⁣as a flavor base in curries.
  • Tomatoes – Used to make the‍ base of a curry, either fresh or⁤ canned.
  • Spices – Various spices, depending on ‌the‍ type of⁢ curry,⁣ are⁣ used ⁣to make the‍ unique flavor profiles‌ of ⁤each dish. ‍Examples include⁢ cumin, ⁤coriander, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and‍ garam masala.​

Experiment by combining and blending spices to‌ create your own unique curries. Create ‍new ‌flavor varieties by adding ingredients or playing ​around‍ with ​the ratios of the different​ spices.

If you’ve been looking to learn the ins and outs of making ⁤a traditional Indian curry, then we hope this guide has acted as an informative ​introduction. Through understanding the⁢ fresh ‍ingredients, layering ​of flavors, and‌ knowing how to cook them just right,‍ you’ll be able to deliciously replicate the art ⁣of crafting an Indian curry. So, grab your ingredients, don ⁣your ​apron, and get to cooking!

About the author

Mark Angeles

Mark Angeles

Mark Angeles is an accomplished and versatile author whose words have the power to ignite imaginations and transport readers to extraordinary realms. Growing up in a bustling metropolis, Mark was captivated by the diverse tapestry of urban life and the myriad stories that unfolded within its streets. This fascination with the human experience, coupled with a deep love for literature, fueled his passion for storytelling from an early age.

Mark's insatiable thirst for knowledge led him to pursue a degree in Journalism, where he honed his skills in researching, interviewing, and crafting compelling narratives. His training in journalism instilled in him a keen eye for detail and a commitment to uncovering the truth, qualities that continue to shape his writing style today.

After completing his studies, Mark embarked on a journey of exploration and self-discovery. He ventured into remote corners of the globe, immersing himself in different cultures and engaging with people from diverse backgrounds. These experiences became a wellspring of inspiration for his writing, enabling him to infuse his work with authenticity and a rich tapestry of cultural influences.

Mark's literary repertoire encompasses a wide range of genres, from thrilling suspense and mystery to introspective literary fiction. His ability to craft intricate plots, develop complex characters, and evoke powerful emotions has garnered acclaim from readers and critics alike. Mark's writing resonates with authenticity, as he delves into the depths of the human psyche, explores the intricacies of relationships, and challenges societal norms.

Beyond his fiction writing, Mark is also an advocate for social justice and equality. He believes in the power of literature to shed light on important issues and inspire positive change. Through his writing, he aims to spark conversations, provoke thought, and encourage readers to question the status quo. Mark's words serve as a catalyst for empathy and understanding, fostering a greater sense of unity and compassion within society.

In addition to his authorship, Mark is a devoted mentor and writing coach. He is passionate about nurturing the next generation of writers and guiding them on their creative journeys. Through workshops, online courses, and one-on-one coaching, he empowers aspiring authors to find their unique voices and develop their writing skills.

Mark Angeles continues to captivate readers with his enthralling narratives, masterful storytelling, and unwavering commitment to social impact. His works leave an indelible mark on the literary landscape, inspiring readers to reflect, imagine, and embark on transformative journeys through the power of words. With each new publication, Mark invites readers to venture into uncharted territories of the imagination, where the boundaries of possibility are stretched and the magic of storytelling comes to life.

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