This is the most closely guarded of all the secrets of restaurant cooking.
Once prepared, it has a very smooth texture and a pale golden colour. Taste it and it is pleasant with a subtle curry flavour. Every good restaurant has a large pan of the sauce always at hand, with the recipe varying only slightly from chef to chef. It forms the base of all the restaurant curries from the mild to the very hot and spicy. It will keep in a refrigerator for up to five days, although the best restaurants will prepare no more than three days’ requirement in one go. Together with your spices, the prior preparation of the curry sauce, and whatever meat or fish you propose to use, a selection of dishes can be prepared in a matter of minutes.
You will see that the making of the curry sauce is in fact simple, with no special equipment required other than a blender. It is essential, though, that you follow strictly the instructions for blending and skimming as these are the two procedures that can make the difference between a good curry sauce and a poor one.
The quantities I have given are enough for six to eight persons. If you do not require so much you may halve the quantity of each ingredient, or alternatively, freeze the remainder of the finished sauce. I have included freezing instructions where applicable. Although Indian restaurants do not normally do this, it is a perfectly good way of taking advantage of your freezer at home.
How To Make The Curry Sauce
For approximately eight main course dishes.
Preparation and cooking time: 1 hr 30 minutes approx.
2 lb (900g) cooking onions
2 oz (50g) green ginger
2 oz (50g) garlic
2¾ pint (I litre 570ml) water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tin (8oz/225g) tomatoes
8 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
Peel and rinse the onions, ginger, and garlic. Slice the onions and roughly chop the ginger and garlic.
Put the ginger and garlic into a blender with about ½ pint of the water and blend until smooth.
Take a large saucepan and put into it the onions, the blended garlic and ginger, and the remainder of the water.
Add the salt and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to very low and simmer, with the lid on, for 40-45 minutes.
Leave to cool.
Once cooled, pour half the boiled onion mixture into a blender and blend until perfectly smooth. Absolute smoothness is essential. To be certain, blend for at least two minutes. Pour the blended onion mixture into a clean pan or bowl and repeat with the other half of the boiled onion mixture.
Wash and dry the saucepan. Reserve about four tablespoons of the sauce at this stage to use in cooking the chicken (page 52) and lamb Freezing. Freezing is best done at this stage.
Open the can of tomatoes, put into the rinsed blender jug, and blend. Again, it is important that they are blended perfectly smooth, so blend for two minutes.
Into the clean saucepan, pour the oil, tomato puree, turmeric, and paprika.
Add the blended tomatoes and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes.
Now add the onion mixture to the saucepan and bring to the boil again. Turn down the heat enough to keep the sauce at a simmer.
You will notice at this stage that a froth rises to the surface of the sauce. This needs to be skimmed off.
Keep simmering for 20-25 minutes. Stirring now and again to prevent the sauce sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
Use immediately or cool and refrigerate for up to four days.
(Picture shows here not original)