Mamta's Kitchen

Basic Curry Sauce 3, South Indian

Basic Curry Sauce 3, South Indian

Mamta Gupta

This sauce has been tempered in the south Indian style and uses yoghurt instead of ubiquitous tomatoes. It is suitable for any type of curry you want to make, using vegetables, meat, chicken, fish etc. Just remember that if you over cook a yoghurt sauce, yoghurt can sometimes split, making the sauce look unsightly. So, cook your main ingredient first, then add to the yoghurt to the sauce and heat it through well. Makes enough for a curry to serve 6 people.Chilled yoghurt is also more likely to split, so use one that is at room temperature.

Enough for 500-600 gm. main ingredient.


  • 2 medium onions (250-300 gm.), peeled and roughly chopped

  • 2-3-4 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1/2-1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

  • For tempering

  • 3-4 tbsp. oil

  • 1 level tsp. black mustard seeds (rai)

  • A small handful of curry leave (not bay leaves)

  • 2 dry red chillies, broken up into halves

  • For Curry paste

  • 1 level tsp. turmeric powder

  • 2 tsp. coriander powder

  • 1 tsp. cumin powder

  • 1 level tsp. chilli powder, adjust to taste

  • 1 full tsp. sweet paprika powder (for colour)

  • 1 1/2-2 level tsp. salt, adjust to taste. It is better to start with less and add more if necessary

  • 1 cup thick yoghurt (skimmed yoghurt often curdles during cooking)

  • 2 level tbsp. whole grain made mustard like Colemans or made mustard from a jar.

  • For Making the Sauce

  • 1 cup water (adjust as needed). Amount also depends on whether your main ingredient is going to release water during cooking, thus making the gravy thinner .

  • 2-3 tbsp. cream coconut powder (sold in packets). You can use tinned creamed coconut. The amount is a rough guide only, check and adjusts it to your taste.

  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala

  • A handful or coriander leaves, chopped finely (optional)


  1. Chop onion, ginger and garlic finely in a food processor.

  2. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, dry red chillies.

  3. When the seeds pop, add chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Fry until turning brown.

  4. Meanwhile, add turmeric, coriander, chilli, paprika powders, salt and mustard paste to yoghurt and make a paste.

  5. Add water and bring to boil, just to heat through. Add your main ingredient here and cook only for a few minutes. Do not cook for long, yoghurt may curdle if you do.

  6. Add coconut powder, if using.

  7. Turn heat off, sprinkle garam masala and coriander leaves.

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