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Curry Base Recipes => Curry Sauce, Curry Base , Curry Gravy Recipes, Secret Curry Base => Topic started by: jb on January 03, 2016, 12:54 PM

Title: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: jb on January 03, 2016, 12:54 PM
Here's the base gravy used in my local take-away,the one where I'm recently been allowed into the kitchen to see the chefs in action.As you can see,there's nothing magical about it,just a mildy spiced gravy that the chef uses in all of his dishes.It's quite similar to other recipes,and actually a bit less complex than my other take-away base gravy I was given.I showed the chef the recipe for that one,he seemed quite impressed and said it was very similar to one he used in another place.Actually the two gravies are quite similar in taste.

This one is the usual two stage recipe,with a bhagar to finish it off.For some reason the first part is done and the gravy is left overnight and the bhagar is done the next day.Quite why this is done I don't know.
I've seen the chef do the first part and last night when it was busy I saw him do the bhagar and complete the gavy.He seemed quite amused when I shouted out 'bhagar!' He actually began using the gravy straight away so I'm quite sure there's nothing else added or no added ingredients.

He began with 30 white peeled chopped onions in a big pan.I know there was 30,I peeled them all!
Then he added one green pepper,1 red pepper,1 sweet long red pepper and five chopped carrots.He then put in a chef's spoon each of plain veg oil and ginger/garlic paste,half a spoon of turmeric and half of salt.Then he put in some water,he just filled up an old yoghurt tub and put the water in,not that much really.At first the pan was on a farly low heat,then after a while he put the lid on and it began boiling.As with my other take-away gravy the chef stressed that the onions MUST be cooked until they've virtually melted.When the gravy was ready he took an onion out,held it between his figures to illustrate the point,I think this is one of the key things to do to get a decent gravy.It was then blended with one of those industrial sized stick blenders and then water added to thin it to the correct consistency.

The gravy is then left until it is needed,this is when the second stage is done.In a pan he put a chef's spoon of oil,heated it up and added a heaped spoon of ginger garlic paste.This was browned and then a chef's spoon of mix powder was put in followed by a spoon of watered down tomato paste.After it had been cooking for a while it was then just tipped into the gravy.The gravy wasn't reboiled again,the chef used it straight away.

So there you go,yet another gravy recipe,however I've seen this one cooked and unless the chef is a magician or expert conjurer there was nothing else added apart from the ingredients I've listed.


Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Stephen Lindsay on January 03, 2016, 01:00 PM
JB again your post confirms that the site already holds the information needed to produce quality curries. Great post.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Naga on January 03, 2016, 03:42 PM
JB again your post confirms that the site already holds the information needed to produce quality curries. Great post.

What Stephen said! :)
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: haldi on January 03, 2016, 04:50 PM
After it had been cooking for a while it was then just tipped into the gravy.The gravy wasn't reboiled again,the chef used it straight away.
So there you go,yet another gravy recipe,however I've seen this one cooked and unless the chef is a magician or expert conjurer there was nothing else added apart from the ingredients I've listed.
Thanks JB
I was beginning to doubt myself
This is also pretty much like I have seen, but you are more precise with your ingredients
The last gravy demo I saw ,had prepared the boiled onions on the day before
So maybe there is a reason for doing that
The bhagar they made was with used oil, garlic ginger, 400g can of tomato puree
that was cooked for a couple of minutes then they added
Spice mix, a touch of chilli and a little whole coriader which was cracked
That was fried for another couple of minutes and then let go cold

So the onion gravy and the bhagar were a day old to start with
Both were added together and reboiled the next day

I tasted their base and it was very nice
Very similar to the base you posted the other year, in fact

Please keep posting
It's the only thing worth reading on the internet!
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Madrasandy on January 03, 2016, 07:26 PM
Cheers Jb
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: curryhell on January 04, 2016, 09:54 PM
Well, what can I say jb?  An excellent post and I look forward to more info coming out of Vindaloo in the Broadway, old Grays.  But  I will go one step further.  IMHO this is a pretty defining post and should really draw a line in the sand for all those who have not been convinced to date.

So there you go,yet another gravy recipe,however I've seen this one cooked and unless the chef is a magician or expert conjurer there was nothing else added apart from the ingredients I've listed.

This isn't the first or even the tenth time this has been said before.  I wonder just how many people actually have believed it though, and not had a slight nagging doubt?

For those that have been around here long enough, they will know how 110% committed jb is to the cause and getting to the bottom of BIR cooking.  He's obviously been on this journey long enough to know what is and what isn't  a decent curry.  He is equally skilled at banging out great looking food, as his posts have shown.  Yes, I know you can't taste it and maybe one day we'll be able to have taste/smelli vision on our computers.  But if the man says, it has the BIR taste and smell, I for one believe him.  There is much TA / BIR competition within a four mile radius of where he and I live.  For the TA to be banged out both Saturday and Sunday, it obviously has a following and is doing something right.  There's even another TA two doors down to compete with  :o He has written many reports from behind the scenes, sharing all he could remember and write down for benefit of us, the forum members. 
So, in order to underline and corroborate the info on this TA, I decided to pay it a visit tonight.  First time i've been in there.  Compared to what I am used to, this place was going to have to go some to get anywhere close.
I walked in and the guy front of house was very friendly and chatty, even got a wave from the chefs in the kitchen.  I ordered my usual for direct comparison purposes: chicken vindaloo with chopped green chillis, keema rice and saag aloo.  And just to add additional pressure, my favourite veg dish, brinjal bhaji.  Not for one moment do I expect to get the identical replica to my usual vindaloo.  This isn't going to happen with a different base, mix powder, different balance of ingredients and a different chef, but this was not the point of the exercise.  I too can appreciate when a curry has been cooked correctly and I know whether it's a good, average or poor effort. All i was looking for was a vindaloo with good flavour, balance of taste and a reasonable amount of heat.  And of course it had to have what we all bang on about frequently on here but just can't seem to achieve - " the BIR smell" and "the taste".
I watched the chef like  a hawk, as one does to see how he was putting my dishes together.  He did it exactly how I have seen it done before, had read about and how I would expect it to be created.  He even checked with me through the glass on the chilli powder and fresh chilli content as well as the texture during its creation, as I scrutinised his every move.
Conclusion, the smell in the car as i drove home passed the first test.  We definitely had the BIR smell.  I opened up all the dishes and nosed each and there it was again - the smell.  The curry was good, nicely balanced in flavour and had the amount of depth I like, clean tasting, adequately hot, perfect BIR texture with just a bit of oil breaking through.  Rated against my norm - half a point behind simply because its not what I usually get, so maybe i'm being harsh.  The saag aloo, as good as if not half a point better as it was not over oily, with the right balance of flavoursome spinach and potato.  The brinjal bhaji - probably rates as one of the best I have ever eaten.  As for the rice, I really do like my regular for this, and my own is virtually an identical replica, so i'd have to score this down a point and a half.  Nicely cooked and loads of it, but the keema was not as strong tasting as i'm used to.
So, all in all, a worthwhile visit.  I got to see how good the TA actally was and I got to validate all the positive comments made by jb.  Plus I got to eat a great meal with more than enough to feast on later in the week.  And yes, it did all have the BIR taste.

So in a nutshell, there's nowhere to hide now people.  Use a properly cooked recognised base, add some mixpowder and the basic standard ingredients and you have all you need.  All that lies between you and BIR heaven at home is developping the correct technique.  You may not achieve identical dishes to your local, but if done correctly, they will have the smell and the taste and be equally as enjoyable.  I certainly learnt a  thing or two just watching.  Best £13 i've spent in a while  ;)

I'll post up some pics of my feast in the picture section of the forum.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Sverige on January 05, 2016, 04:36 AM
Quote
At first the pan was on a farly low heat,then after a while he put the lid on and it began boiling.As with my other take-away gravy the chef stressed that the onions MUST be cooked until they've virtually melted.When the gravy was ready he took an onion out,held it between his figures to illustrate the point,

This seems to be key to a good base and has been mentioned before. Can you approximate the time the onions were cooked for to reach this "melting point"? There seem to be wildly different interpretations among posters here of the "right" duration to cook onions in a base gravy, so it would be a useful reference point.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Sverige on January 05, 2016, 04:42 AM
Quote
He began with 30 white peeled chopped onions

Can I check something - how were the onions cut? Might seem like irrelevant detail but you said "chopped" but later referred to the chef taking out "an onion" from the pan. I'm guessing they were roughly chopped at best (not a comment on your knife skills!)
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: mickdabass on January 05, 2016, 07:53 AM

Please keep posting
It's the only thing worth reading on the internet!

Agreed

Regards
Mick
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Yousef on January 05, 2016, 09:52 AM
Excellent post, can i just ask what the Mix Powder is made up from?

Stew
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: jb on January 05, 2016, 06:43 PM
I'm glad you enjoyed it Curryhell.For a place that's only been open a short while it certainly is very busy.The chef seems to take great pride and care in his curries and I think he actually enjoys been watched,it's a shame other kitchens aren't so open.I've been keen to tell him that although I'm in his kitchen learning I'll still be ordering plenty of food from him,he's nothing to worry about in that respect.Indeed I'm home alone this Friday and Saturday so it could be a back to back delivery and hopefully a kitchen visit on Sunday.

There is so much to take in and remember while I'm in there but I think I've covered most things so far.The curries are not overly oily,which is something I always look out for in places.As you say the sag aloo is very good.They have 4 trays of precooked vegetables.One is mixed veg(which I saw him cook),1 precooked potatoes(which I just missed), 1 mushrooms and also pre cooked spinach.The precooked spinach looks very much like a cooked sag bhaji in itself,obviously spinach but mixed in with onions and slithers of garlic.Hopefully the more times I get into the kitchen the more prep I'll see.I try to get in before the place opens which is when a lot of this stuff happens.

I watched the chef prepare some pilau rice.As well as the usual whole spices he began the rice frying some ghee and then added some finely chopped onion,fine slithers of ginger and then the usual ginger/garlic paste. I guess it's just his way of doing it.The onion and ginger seem to cook away to nothing.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: jb on January 05, 2016, 06:53 PM
Quote
At first the pan was on a farly low heat,then after a while he put the lid on and it began boiling.As with my other take-away gravy the chef stressed that the onions MUST be cooked until they've virtually melted.When the gravy was ready he took an onion out,held it between his figures to illustrate the point,

This seems to be key to a good base and has been mentioned before. Can you approximate the time the onions were cooked for to reach this "melting point"? There seem to be wildly different interpretations among posters here of the "right" duration to cook onions in a base gravy, so it would be a useful reference point.

The chef says 'about 45 minutes',I'd say it was about an hour.I guess it depends how many onions you have and how big the gas is.Really,after an hour or so take a piece of onion,put it it between your fingers and press,it should be mushy and just fall apart.I cut the onions in half and each half was cut again in three bits.Not an exact science,they were just cut to speed up the cooking.I remember reading somewhere on here once that cooking whole onions is one of those 'secrets' to achieving the BIR taste,that's clearly not correct.

Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: jb on January 05, 2016, 07:10 PM
Excellent post, can i just ask what the Mix Powder is made up from?

Stew

I'll ask him more about his mix powder next time.I showed him my recipe(as I did with all my recipes) and he said it was good,his is probobly different but as he kept saying there is no right or wrong way with these things,just the way each individual chef does things.I'm wondering if his mix powder contains ginger powder.I've seen a few mix powders with this stuff and I've seen it in my local shop.The Chef's curries are always started off with just chopped garlic as opposed to ginger/garlic paste,I seem to remember the Kushi balti book did it like this.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: curryhell on January 05, 2016, 11:02 PM
Pictures of last night's feast can be seen here:

http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/curry/index.php/topic,14230.0.html
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Madrasandy on January 06, 2016, 07:33 AM
The chef says 'about 45 minutes',I'd say it was about an hour.

Quite a big variant on the cooking times of the onions compared to your last base jb, how do you think this affects the taste of the 2 gravies?
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Sverige on January 06, 2016, 08:08 AM
Quote
At first the pan was on a farly low heat,then after a while he put the lid on and it began boiling.As with my other take-away gravy the chef stressed that the onions MUST be cooked until they've virtually melted.When the gravy was ready he took an onion out,held it between his figures to illustrate the point,

This seems to be key to a good base and has been mentioned before. Can you approximate the time the onions were cooked for to reach this "melting point"? There seem to be wildly different interpretations among posters here of the "right" duration to cook onions in a base gravy, so it would be a useful reference point.

The chef says 'about 45 minutes',I'd say it was about an hour.I guess it depends how many onions you have and how big the gas is.Really,after an hour or so take a piece of onion,put it it between your fingers and press,it should be mushy and just fall apart.I cut the onions in half and each half was cut again in three bits.Not an exact science,they were just cut to speed up the cooking.I remember reading somewhere on here once that cooking whole onions is one of those 'secrets' to achieving the BIR taste,that's clearly not correct.

Thanks JB, that's useful info for comparison with other bases. I assume when cooking the onions the chef uses a good rolling boil, not a low simmer?   I think with a big stockpot on a domestic hob it can be difficult to get a good healthy rolling boil going throughout a big pot, which I guess is where a pressure cooker might help.

The thing about the whole onions not being required is worthwhile knowledge gained, so thank you for reporting that.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Secret Santa on January 06, 2016, 11:10 PM
For some reason the first part is done and the gravy is left overnight and the bhagar is done the next day.Quite why this is done I don't know.

How else are they going to sneak in the secret ingredient without you knowing?  :-X  ;D
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Invisible Mike on January 12, 2016, 10:49 PM
Interesting that the G&G is browned at the bhagar stage....
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Dajoca on February 01, 2016, 07:55 PM
Thanks again for this excellent insight JB.
30 Onions. Could you give a rough size or total weight of these?

Thank you.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: jb on February 06, 2016, 03:53 PM
Had another great time in the takeaway last night,saw the chef churn out a wide variety of dishes,and also managed to watch him do some more pre-cooked stuff which I'll document in the approriate sections.Thoroughly enjoying myself at the moment,they seem to enjoy me having me in their kitchen and helping out.They hold nothing back when I ask questions,I think they're quite confused and a bit suprised at what I actually already know.Anyway,a couple of pics.First one is a big batch of gravy they had on the go,as you can see the onions were litterally cooked until they were at the 'melting' stage'.A very important thing to do I'm told to get the gravy right.

(http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/pics/b82192e4271ea38f4f24c531692d590b.jpg)

A batch of tikka marinade(left) and tandoori marinade(right).I've already listed the recipe for tikka mariande,the tandoori one is basically the same,just a bit more tandoori paste and a bit less tikka,also a bit more red colour.

(http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/pics/88ea685883a24c0aa59fbdbe30eaf9b8.jpg)

Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: haldi on February 06, 2016, 07:31 PM
your posts are brilliant
thanks so much
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: ELW on February 06, 2016, 09:16 PM
your posts are brilliant
thanks so much

Agreed, nice work jb

ELW
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Dajoca on February 07, 2016, 12:34 AM
Have you done a direct duplication of all this at home yet JB?
If so, did you get the taste and as important, that smell that the take away would achieve?

Cheers.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: curryhell on February 07, 2016, 11:18 AM
The great work continues jb.  Glad you're having so much fun and keeping us up to speed on all the events. The updates are becoming addictive and i've just enjoyed my lastest fix  :D
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Zap on February 11, 2016, 01:15 AM
Agreed - have enjoyed reading all of the recent posts with these new recipes.  Will definitely have to give them a try as my various supplies run out!

Had a new restaurant open up in town, and the food there was fantastic (better than the others I've been to in the recent past).  Some of our dishes in the US are different from the BIR recipes I've tried, but the general techniques are certainly not.  You've inspired me to dine in and ask about lessons in the kitchen!!
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Roida15 on February 13, 2016, 09:37 PM
Hi,
Made this today, only difference ingredients wise is that I used 2 sweet red peppers because 2 in a pack. It tastes amazing! I have not watered down yet because I will be freezing it so hope that does not affect the taste. Slightly different because I done both stages in the same day, but it has a mild sweeet taste, but not overpowering.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Madrasandy on February 14, 2016, 07:58 AM
Hi,
Made this today, only difference ingredients wise is that I used 2 sweet red peppers because 2 in a pack. It tastes amazing! I have not watered down yet because I will be freezing it so hope that does not affect the taste. Slightly different because I done both stages in the same day, but it has a mild sweeet taste, but not overpowering.

Did you do the full 30 onions or scale down?
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Roida15 on February 14, 2016, 09:00 AM
Hi,

Full 30 Dutch onions from local Asian supermarket, they are not very big though.  I purchased a large stock pot while shopping their yesterday.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: curryhell on February 14, 2016, 09:12 AM
Looking forward to hearing about the results of your labours Roida with jb's latest base from Vindaloo.  Would be nice to see some pics  ;) Glad to hear Ifindforu's mix powder is very much alive.  That Jalpur GM is very potent stuff  :o :o
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Roida15 on February 14, 2016, 09:20 AM
Hi,

I think the Jalpur is about individual preference but in the hot curries I think it works really well. I am freezing the full batch of base gravy today and will make some dishes next weekend. I will be making Vindaloo and JB' s latest post of chili chicken. I bought some butter ghee yesterday so will be using half oil and half ghee. I will try and add some pictures. It' s just a shame that work gets in the way of making curries!
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: curryhell on February 14, 2016, 09:39 AM
Work can do that  ;D .  Just in case you didn't notice, jb's TA uses a mixture of half veg oil and half VEGETABLE gee.  Butter gee is a different animal completely and is quite strong and unique in flavour, just in case you hadn't noticed  ;)
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Roida15 on February 14, 2016, 09:45 AM
Hi,
Thanks for that, bought it now so will do a bit experimenting. I have noticed some recipie add a spoonfull of ghee near the end.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Madrasandy on February 24, 2016, 09:25 PM
Jb, have you made this gravy at home yet? and if so how does it compare to your last one as the cooking times vary greatly
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Dajoca on February 25, 2016, 03:49 PM
If it helps, I made a full batch last week.
Much prefer it to the other one.

Nice aroma, though the entire house stank of onions for days, even with all the windows open.
Not nearly as badly as KD1 though.
 
Taste wise it's very good, being in my top 3, though due to technique? I never get "the smell".
Because it uses little oil in the base, a bit more than usual is needed for cooking the main dish.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Pugs on March 17, 2016, 09:49 AM
If it helps, I made a full batch last week.

Did you freeze your batch down prior to thinning it with water and\or adding the second stage?
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Dajoca on March 18, 2016, 11:11 AM
The second stage was added later the same day and I kept the base ready for use in the fridge for a few days before freezing it.
While I added some water to thin it down, I kept the base quite thick, to save space in the freezer, as a full batch produces a lot of sauce.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: haldi on March 19, 2016, 08:12 AM
I had a go at this base but mucked it up
Not enough water with the onions, I think
Don't know exactly what happened but the flavour was odd
It's hard to do something when you don't know exactly what your aiming for
Have you made a version at home yet JB?
Have you thought about giving lesson?
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: jb on March 20, 2016, 03:29 PM
I had a go at this base but mucked it up
Not enough water with the onions, I think
Don't know exactly what happened but the flavour was odd
It's hard to do something when you don't know exactly what your aiming for
Have you made a version at home yet JB?
Have you thought about giving lesson?

No,not made it yet,hopefully making a curry fest soon so I'll give it a go.It does seem so simple,very few ingredients indeed.I've seen the chef make it loads of times now,he does it the same every time and I know there's definately no magic or mystery stuff going in it.Actually he adds very little water himself while cooking the first bit,he thins it out afterwards.I still like my other takeaway base,though,once the garlic tarka is added the smell hits you,just a different chef and a different base gravy.I showed this chef my recipe for the other gravy,he was impressed.Lessons? not sure about that!! I'll keep reporting back on the forum don't worry.Will be visiting again tonight so standby for any little nuggets I can obtain.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Edwina Curry on March 22, 2016, 03:14 AM
Hi JB
Thanks for all the work.
Could you be more specific about the amount of water used? You mentioned a Yoghurt tub. What size?  1 pint?  2L?
Just a rough guess?
Thanks

Edwina Curry
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Pugs on March 22, 2016, 03:14 PM
I made a batch of this up BUT nearly burnt it due to the limited water and me trying to multi-task. However a Yogurt pot to me is 500ml :P, not nearly enough water to boil onions down in an hour. I did a litre but it still was not enough water. Be careful, if your like me. Next time I'm putting in the same amount of water as other bases or enough to cover the contents.

30 onions equated to 3 x 1 kg of small brown onions in a bag (10 in a bag) from Sainsburys...dead on.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Pugs on March 22, 2016, 03:26 PM
Oh forgot, amended the mix powder in Stage 2. Doing a chefs spoon (mine is 40ml) of mixed poweder resulted in drying up all of the oil and turning what was cooking into a ball of dried spice, surely not right?

Starting again and using 11/2 tablespoons was a result and what I would have expected given the other quantities and cooked out like we do with the curries, such as a Madras in the early stages before adding any base sauce(?).

However I'm no expert, just giving my observations on doing this.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: foureyes1941 on September 07, 2016, 11:46 PM
I cooked a batch of this curry base sauce today and must admit that it's the best one I've tried so far, I added Cory Ander's spice mix as I had some already left over. The taste is superb, in fact I could eat it just as a curry sauce, thank you JB so much for this.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: haldi on September 08, 2016, 07:27 PM
yes it is good
But it doesn't have recipes to go with it
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: foureyes1941 on November 11, 2016, 06:01 AM
Jb are you still around? Could you tell us what the spice mix was please?
 I love this gravy but would like to know the actual spice mix and a couple of recipes to go with it if possible please
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: Bing on March 02, 2018, 08:27 PM
Great reading.
Title: Re: Jb's other takeaway base gravy
Post by: SoberRat on September 05, 2018, 11:17 PM
I made a scaled down version of this base today and used it to make a Chicken Dhansak and Chicken Saag. It worked very well with these dishes. See below

Chicken Dhansak
(http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/pics/3c5cf393e9c55346715859a8013ab90a.jpg)

Chicken Saag
(http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/pics/6aef7ff351abf9cd55b63bda5a8a0ca0.jpg)

Great information again JB, thank you!

Rob