Monday, December 31, 2012

Curry Sauce Base - A Must Have for Your Pantry!

Let's face it.  We all like great food but sometimes need a little help getting it to the table- we just don't always have the time to cook.  Your grocery store could supply you with curry simmering sauces, but who needs the additives and other mystery ingredients? I came across this curry sauce base on a website-My Fancy Pantry. That's the starting point... Just the amazing smell wafting through my kitchen makes this recipe worthwhile.  You'll make enough for at least four curry dishes- so freeze the sauce in portions, about three cups each.  By adding spices and vegetables and/or meat you can have a great curry on the table in less than 30 minutes.  No one will ever know you didn't spend the afternoon stirring the pot.  Wonderful!

Remember, because this is a curry base, it should not be spicy- it should have a pretty neutral Indian curry taste. You'll "season" it up when you make a specific curry...

10    cooking onions, sliced (about eight cups)
1/2   cup vegetable oil
10    cloves garlic, skin on and smashed (I sometimes use garlic paste from the produce department)
2-inch  piece of ginger, peeled and finely sliced (I sometimes use ginger paste from the produce department)
1      carrot, peeled and chopped medium (if you're using the food processor to slice your onions, just slice these as well)
1      cup red pepper, chopped medium (or slice with the food processor)
28    oz can of diced tomatoes
4      tbsp ghee (substitute oil if you can't find ghee)
1      tbsp turmeric
1      tbsp ground cumin
1      tbsp ground coriander
1      tbsp ground fenugreek (use a spice grinder if you only have whole seeds)
1/2   tsp ground cinnamon
1/2   tsp ground cloves
1      tbsp paprika

Place the ginger, the garlic and approximately one cup of water in a blender and process to a smooth paste.  Set aside.  If you are using ready-made pastes, skip this step.
Adding the vegetables to the oil

Heat the oil to a large saucepan until hot.  Add the sliced onions, bell pepper, carrot and cabbage (if using) and cook slowly over medium heat.  Cook until the vegetables brown slightly, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Adding the spices- I used pureed garlic and ginger
Add the ginger and garlic mixture as well as the ground cumin, ground coriander, ground fenugreek and paprika.

Adding the tomatoes and water 
Add the tomatoes and just enough water to cover the vegetables- about two cups.  Bring to a boil, cover then lower the heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

The Vitamix does a great job of pureeing

Working in batches, place the mixture in a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth.

The final simmer.  Watch it doesn't burn!

Melt the ghee in a frying pan.  Add the turmeric and brown for approximately one minute.  Stir into the pureed sauce and return to the stove to simmer on low heat for approximately 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally and watch that the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.  The sauce is now ready to use.

If freezing- divide the sauce into portions- three cups will provide enough sauce for a curry to serve four and cool, uncovered, in the refrigerator.  Once cooled, cover (or seal in a ziplock bag) and freeze.

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