Base gravy recipe for British-Indian curries

This recipe is courtesy of Al’s kitchen and I can also vouch for it. Thank you, Al for sharing it with us all. You can watch his video where he is preparing this gravy on YouTube here. In this version I halved all ingredients to match my needs.


I’m listing the ingredients by category, because I found that it’s easier to assemble it like this. I replaced the coconut block with coconut milk, that I add to the gravy, as well as the condensed milk with just milk and sugar. I find that these ingredients are more accessible where I live. I have no other use of condensed milk and it just goes bad.

This recipe will produce about 2 litres of base gravy, and it will allow you to cook about 13 portions of curry. It’s great to make a big pot of it and put it portioned out into the freezer so you can use it whenever you need it.


You will start by assembling the gravy with the vegetables, fats and powdered spices.


  • 1/2 kg onions
  • 1/4 bell pepper
  • 1/2 green finger chili
  • 1/4 sliced carrot
  • 50 g white cabbage
  • 1/2 of a potato
  • 20 g red lentils
  • 25 g ginger
  • 25 g garlic
  • 30 g fresh coriander
  • Water to cook (depends on the shape of your pot)

Canned ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter ghee
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 can of peeled tomatoes
  • 200 ml milk
  • 50 g sugar
  • 125 ml coconut milk


  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Akhni stock

The Akhni stock is a special stock made with exotic whole spices for a fantastic flavour. It is prepared separately and the whole spices are strained before the water is added to the gravy.

  • 350 ml water
  • 1 1/2 bay leaves
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 star anise
  • 1 piece of cinnamon bark


Peel and cut all vegetables to large pieces and put them in a large cooking pot. Add the oil, coconut milk, milk, sugar, tomato puree and canned tomatoes and all the powdered spices and salt. Fill up the pot with water to slightly cover the vegetables, give it a stir and bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle boil. Cook for 1 hour.

While the gravy is cooking, prepare the Akhni stock. Add the water into a pot and bring it to a boil. When it starts to boil, reduce heat and add the whole spices and cook gently for 15 minutes. Pour it over the gravy with a sieve to keep the whole spices out.

After the hour, remove the pot from the heat and blend it really fine with a blender. Return it to the stove and cook for 1 more hour. Adjust water to make it a milk-like consistency.