Old Post 11: A restaurant style bhuna/curry.

I’ve been playing with this recipe a bit, and have finally hit on a curry that is very much like what we get at our local Indian places.. This curry is a winner.

It works best with beef or lamb, but is passable with chicken.

Its a two part recipe: first you’ll make a masala gravy and then assemble that into a curry.

I would suggest making a BIG batch of the curry gravy and freezing it in small containers. This will cut your prep time down later.

I used a massive jumbo white onion, and we ended up with enough gravy for about three batches of curry, so the recipe probably made about 4 cups of gravy..

Masala Gravy

* 1 Onion Sliced.
* 4 Cloves Garlic Finely Chopped
* 3 Tomatoes Blanched, Peeled, Cored and Quartered
* 1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
* 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
* Seeds from 4 Green Cardomom Pods
* 4 Table Spoons vegetable oil
* 1 cup of water
* Pinch of Salt


Fry the onion, Tomatoes and garlic in the oil on a medium heat until the onions are translucent and the tomatoes become mushy (about 10 Min). Add 1/2 cup of water and simmer 5 minutes. Add the rest of the water and spices. Stir and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Keep stirring regularly throughout cooking. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool slightly before pureeing in a food processor. (Warning, this will turn the inside of your food processor colors that you wouldn’t have thought existed in nature.)

Now, for the lamb/beef/chicken curry:

1Lb Lamb/Beef/Chicken cubed
1 Cup of Curry Masala Gravy
3 Tbsp tomato puree (this is thinner than paste – paste can be cut by 4 parts of water be pretty close to puree)
1 large onion finely chopped
4 Tsp Curry Powder (We use a madras powder, but use what you want)
3 Tsp Chilli Powder
1 Tsp Cayenne pepper
4 Cloves Crushed Garlic
1 Tsp (or so, to taste) ginger root grated
5 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (I suspect ghee is probably a more traditional choice, if available).
4 Tbsp roughly chopped cilanto leaves
1 Tbsp whole cilantro leaves
1 Tsp Garam Masala
Seeds of 2 green cardamom pods
I also add a bit of paprika, about 1 tsp, just for colour – not traditional, but it really doesn’t affect the flavour, and helps get a nice red colour.

Adding a little extra cayenne, and a couple tbsp of white vinegar (this will increase the felt heat, as well as providing a sour bite), and a few quartered potatos will get you close to some typical restaurant vindaloo..


Make a paste of the curry powder and chilli powder, cayenne, cardamom seeds and garam masala with a little water. Fry the onion until translucent in the veg oil then add the garlic and ginger. Stir fry on medium for 5 minutes. Add the spice paste and stir in and fry for another 30 secs. Add the meat pieces and seal well on all sides. Add the Masala Gravy and simmer for 20 minutes or until the meat is cooked, stirring as needed. If needed add a bit of water to prevent the curry becoming too thick or dry (you’re aiming for a stew consistency, or slightly thicker). Now add the finely chopped coriander leaves and cook for a further minute. Serve with the whole coriander leaves sprinkled over the top.

Serve with Naan and Basmati rice. Cook the rice according to the instructions. We like to add pistachios or cashews to the rice, as well as a few cloves and bit of cinnamon stick. A pinch of saffron makes a nice addition, if a rather pricy one.


2 comments on “Old Post 11: A restaurant style bhuna/curry.

  1. crazyhorse says:

    Whats the best ingredients for a restaurant style vindaloo

  2. Chris says:

    In all honesty, since this post went up, we visted Penzey’s spice shop, which sells online, just google it. They sell both a Rogan Josh spice blend, and a Vindaloo blend.

    Both blends are very nice. In a lot of respects, I think what separates the typical restaurant vindaloo from a curry/bhuna is the addition of vinegar and potato (and of course, more heat)

    The recipes provided by Penzey’s in their catalog and on the website provide a very good result. You could certainly use similar vegetable mixtures as in this post above, but their spices, though you’d have to play with the amounts a bit. Their vindaloo spice is pretty hot.

    The Penzey’s recipe for both Rogan Josh and Vindaloo yield a nice saucy result, rather than the dry, sauceless curry the cookbooks often show.

    I suspect that the restaurant versions often contain some tomato as well, and I can pretty much guarantee that they have more oil, though I couldn’t say whether its oil cooking out of vegetables as in a ratatouille or Turkish chicken/veggie stew, or if it is just oil added to stretch the sauce and carry the spice.

    I hope this helps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s