ground gravy : the simplest recipe you need to know

i am a big fan of being lazy. much as i like to cook ,there are days when work and life just takes precedence. nothing, however should ever come in the way of eating good food.
this ground gravy recipe is the simplest, easiest and fastest way to a good hearty indian meal. best is, it stores and freezes great.
i call this “the ground gravy”. just like the LBD. you can go anywhere from cool, classy, sexy, casual to down right dirty by playing up your LBD with the right accessories.
ladies and gentlemen, i present to you the LBD of gravies – GROUND GRAVY!


* oil
* onions
* ginger-garlic paste
* tomato
* chilli powder
* garam masala (buy packaged or roast and grind – cardomom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, poppy seeds and bay leaves)
*turmeric powder
* salt
* sugar
* kasoori methi powder or leaves (optional)

let’s get right down to it.

OIL : oil goes into the pan first (dont skimp on this, cuz oil also helps preserve. ideally 4tbs for 1 kg of onion)
ONIONS : roughly chop up onions, blitz into a fine paste, add to kadai and fry until golden brown
GINGER GARLIC PASTE : add the ginger garlic paste and cook until the raw smell is gone (approx 4tbs for 1 kg of onion)
TOMATO : roughly chop up tomato, blitz into a fine paste, add to kadai. cook until mushy and done. (1.5 kg tomato for 1 kg onion. DO NOT use store-bought puree. it tastes yuck)
SWEAT IT DOWN: combine well, put it on the smallest flame, cover it with a lid and let it sweat down and cook completely before adding the spices.

SPICES : add the spices – chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, salt, kasoori methi and sugar.
(measurements for 1kg onion : 5tb chilli powder : 3tb garam masala : 1tb turmeric powder, 2tb salt ; 2tb kasoori methi ; 4ts of sugar)
OIL : add another 1tb of oil and combine well. switch the flame off and let it sit in the hot kadai.


how we make this awesome.

OIL : use any cooking oil of your choice. once the oil heats up, throw in a few curry leaves for a refreshing flavor. the same can be done with lime leaves. replace with butter for some fatty deliciousness. margarine doesnt work. no. 😐
ONIONS: chop the onions fine, slice the onions thin instead of grinding to a paste. each of which will give you a different taste and texture to the gravy. if you are making a paste, throw in some blanched almonds or cashews and 1 tb of poopy seeds for a rich creamy gravy.
TOMATO: freshly pureed tomato is what works. chop and add sundried tomatoes at the very end, voila! gravy elevated to awesomeness
GINGER GARLIC PASTE: this is pretty standard. to play with it, go heavy on the garlic to get a more garlicky curry which tastes great with chicken and eggs.
SPICES: i usually eyeball the amount i add to the gravy but go by the measurements until you get the hang of it. the sugar is just to balance the whole aspect and it is optional.

how we make this MORE awesome.

the more the merrier is an undeniably formula when it comes to food. elevate this gravy to what you need it to be.
MAKE GRAVY : take the required amount of ground gravy. dilute with required amount of water – depending on how thick you want the gray to be. warm up until first boil and done! add food options as below and double done!!
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS : add in cubed panner, tofu, veggies- what typically works – peas, garbanzo, potato, peas & potato, cauliflower & peas, mixed veggies – carrot, peas, potato, cauliflower, radish. you can even add in deep fried veggies such as cauliflower along with some chopped spring onions for the “semi-gravy” option.

NON VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: this does not work with red meat or sea food. something to do with the tomato. you need a more hearty, earthy tone to the gravy for meat and something way lighter for seafood.(if you make it work, please do share with me).
this however is a marriage made in heaven with poultry and eggs. chicken can go in cubed boneless, chopped bird with bones, deep fried, shredded. if you’re a bird, this gravy is a bird. eggs are best done poached or boiled.

do-s and the dont-s

– this gravy stores excellently well for about 3 months in the freezer and upto 10 days in the fridge, so stock up on the weekends and play with it during the weekdays.
– if your mind is set on storage, make sure the follow the recipe as above. cool it down completely and freeze or refrigerate in a suitable air tight container. DO NOT add any vegetarian or non-vegeterian items to the gravy for storage. also if when you freeze make sure its quite thick in consistency.
fun tip: spread some thick gravy onto dosa (masala-ish dosa), drop a dollop onto the centre of idly batter (stuffed idli),use as base on shawarma and wraps.
go on, give this a try. it wont disappoint for sure. if you are posting a picture of your gravy on instagram make sure to tag me @madras.ponnu
when you are supremely ecstatic with the discovery of this gravy, you might want to leave me a nice note of thanks in the comments. alternatively you can also send me bitcoins. 🙂

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