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This six-ingredient simple and no-fuss Onion tomato masala (Indian Curry paste) made with pantry staples is a perfect base for many Indian curries. Add some protein and veggies to the sauce and spruce up your boring dinner to restaurant-style dining.
Naturally vegan, gluten-free, and freezer-friendly too!
I am often asked this question, “Is Indian food complicated? Does it require a lot of work to prepare an Indian dish?”
Trust me; it is a common misconception that Indian food is difficult to make. You can quickly cook great Indian food at home with some time-saving tricks.
And today, I am going to unfold one of my favorite time-saving tricks.
Yes, compared to other cuisines, Indian curries do require an extra step to prepare a dish.
And that extra step is the preparation of the base sauce: Onion Tomato Masala or a gravy base for Indian curries!
The best thing about this versatile and flavorful masala, aside from being a base recipe, is that it can be used in almost all the Indian recipes that call for onion, ginger, garlic, and tomato as base ingredients.
Be it any dish veg or non-veg; you can adapt it to suit your preferences.
Types of onion-tomato masala used in Indian Cooking!
» Chunky: this kind of masala is prepared with finely chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes.
The result is a chunky masala that is a perfect tempering to many Indian dals and dry veggies. Chunky masala adds a perfect texture and crunch to that particular dish — E.G., Indian dals, and Matar paneer.
» Smooth: this is a mild kind of masala where onions, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes (separately) are blended in a food processor until smooth.
The paste of all the ingredients is combined in a pan and cooked until the oil leaves the pan. The step by step pics below depicts this masala. I add this masala to a dish wherever I prefer a smooth, and creamy gravy. e.g., Methi Paneer, and Bharwan Dum Aloo.
» Boiled Onion Tomato Masala: This recipe is perfect for people who don’t prefer a robust onion-garlic taste in their curries — E.G., Black-eyed peas curry (lobia curry).
Why is this Onion Tomato Masala good for you?
This onion tomato masala, also referred to as Bhuna masala (curry paste), is the mother and a perfect base to most Indian curries.
Having this curry paste ready in the refrigerator can make your life so much easier as it not only saves time but speeds up the cooking process too.
With a little effort, you can make a variety of Indian recipes. Some popular ones are:
- Matar paneer,
- Aloo matar,
- Chicken recipes,
- Besan ke gate,
- Lauki ke kofte,
- Palak Paneer ….the list is endless.
The best part, in way less than 30 minutes you can have a delicious, authentic, tasty Indian meals on the table.
How To Make Onion Tomato Masala For Indian Gravies?
Just like most Indian recipes, this curry base also begins with fresh and wholesome ingredients that you typically keep on hand most of the time: onion, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes.
It comes together in an hour with about 45 minutes of cooking, and a few extra minutes for peeling, washing and chopping up the ingredients.
1. Roughly chop the onions. Peel garlic pods and ginger. Transfer these ingredients to a food processor/blender. Pulse or blend until pureed.
2. Add oil to a heavy-bottomed pan and once its hot add cumin seeds. Stir in the pureed onion-ginger-garlic paste.
3. Cook at a medium flame until the color changes from light purple to light brown.
4. While the onions are is cooking, wash and roughly chop tomatoes. Add it to a blender and blend until smooth and pureed.
5. After 20-25 minutes of cooking, onions will change its color from light purple to pale brown. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and mix to combine.
6. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until all the moisture has evaporated and oil starts to separate from the masala.
7. Switch off the gas and allow it to cool. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator. It freezes beautifully.
Make this Onion tomato masala a staple in your house and share your feedback!
Let me know in the comments when you make it.
Feel free to contact me with any questions or inquiries, and I would be happy to answer them.
How to make onion tomato masala for Indian gravies?
Author : Ruchi
This six-ingredient simple and no-fuss Onion tomato masala (Indian Curry paste) made with pantry staples is a perfect base to many Indian curries. Add some protein and veggies to the sauce and spruce up your boring dinner to restaurant-style dining. Naturally vegan, gluten-free and freezer-friendly too!
4.22 from 14 votes
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course How To’s
Servings 2 CUPS
Calories 605 kcal
MAKES 2 -8 oz JAR MASALA
- 6 big Onions peeled and rinsed
- 10 cloves Garlic peeled and rinsed
- 2 inch Ginger root peeled and rinsed
- 9-10 small Tomatoes peeled and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds
- 1/2 cup Oil
US Customary – Metric
Roughly chop the onions. Peel garlic pods and ginger. Transfer these ingredients to a food processor/blender. Pulse or blend until pureed.
Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When it starts to crackleSee AlsoHow Many Calories In A Bowl Of Pasta - Gnocchi BarFree Instagram Bio Generator: 1,000+ Creative Instagram Bio Ideas (2022) - Starter StoryWii DLC全集下载-Wii 官方VC全集下载 | OldmanEmu.netHow Many Carbs In A Bowl Of Pasta - Gnocchi Bar
Add onion, ginger, and garlic paste to the pan.
Cook at a medium flame until the color changes from light purple to light brown. Do stir 3-4 minutes so that the paste doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.While the onion paste is cooking, wash and roughly chop tomatoes. Add it to a blender and blend until smooth and pureed.After 20-25 minutes of cooking, onions will change its color from light purple to pale brown.(Video) Indian Gravies:-Onion Tomato Masala
Stir in the pureed tomatoes and mix to combine.
Cook for another 15-20 minutes until all the moisture has evaporated and oil starts to separate from the masala. Keep stirring in between (probably every 5 minutes or so).
When you see a super-thin layer of oil bubbles popping at the edge of the masala, this means it is thoroughly cooked. At this point, the color of the masala will become deep red.
Switch off the gas and allow it to cool. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator. It freezes beautifully.
If a recipe calls for onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes then use 1/4 -1/2 cup of cooked magic masala and voila… you are all set, follow rest of your recipe and your meal will be on the table in no time.
Can I use canned tomatoes?
You sure can. This curry paste is very adaptable and can be prepared with canned whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, canned diced tomatoes, and of course fresh tomatoes. Whatever you decide to use, it’s all going to end up more or less the same with the same texture. So feel free to use what you have got on hand: Fresh or canned. It’s no biggie!
If I were to use a canned tomato, I would prefer a can of crushed tomatoes because it adds a beautiful color and is less watery as compared to fresh tomatoes.
Can I season this curry paste?
To add spices or not, it all depends on one’s preferences. I personally do not like to season my curry masala. Reason: I add spices as per my recipe demands. But feel free to experiment. Salt is usually added to chunky masala as it helps to release the water from the chopped onions and the onions will cook faster.
Can I double this recipe?
Of course, you can. Double up on the ingredients andmake a big batch of this masala/sauce. If you double up the recipe, the cooking time will increase by a few minutes. Allow it to cool and store in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze this masala?
Yes, it freezes beautifully. You can make an extra batch and save it for later (perfect for crazy weeknights). In the freezer, it stays well for six weeks. To freeze, I measure a ½ cup of masala and store insilicone cups. Once frozen, I pop the cubes out and transfer the frozen cubes to a Ziploc Freezer Bag and store until use. You can either use an ice cube tray or silicone molds to freeze portion-sized masala.
When ready to cook,thaw the masala cubeand toss it along with your ingredients, and dinner will be prepared and onto the table in less than 30 minutes (depends on the ingredient).
Are you hosting a dinner party?
Whether you are hosting a party for 10 or 100, this masala comes in real handy. Prepare a few days in advance and store. Depending on my recipe, I multiply this curry paste and combine with my veggies or meat recipes to create a thick gravy.
Calories: 605kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 1095mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 3435IU | Vitamin C: 60.8mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 2.7mg
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided above is approximate. Variations may exist due to the ingredients/brands used. These numbers should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.
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This onion tomato masala base stores well for 7-10 days in the refrigerator. Store in an air-tight glass container. Bigger batches can be frozen in glass storage containers or ice cube trays. If you're using ice cube trays, then ensure to transfer the frozen masala cubes, into a zip-lock bag.
firstly, in a large kadai heat ¼ cup oil and add 1 tsp turmeric, 3 tbsp kashmiri red chilli powder, 3 tbsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder and 1 tsp garam masala. saute on low flame until the spices turn aromatic. now add in prepared onion tomato masala paste and mix well.
You can store the sauce in mason jars or any containers with airtight lids for up to a week in the refrigerator, or for several months in the freezer. The onions and tomatoes in this sauce are cooked thoroughly, so you don't need to blend it for smooth gravies -- they just melt into it.
To make the masala sauce, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the whole spices (black cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, green cardamom, cumin seeds, cinnamon and bay leaf) and fry until they start to crackle, then add the onions. Cook the onions gently and slowly until caramelised and very dark brown.
The moisture would have evaporated and it will start to shrivel up. This is when we know the masala is completely cooked. This is what means "cook until the oil leaves / separate".
🔪 How to make this Indian Base Gravy
Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, ground coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, pepper, cardamom and tomato puree and stir together. Add chopped red and green bell pepper, chopped carrot and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Stir and bring to the boil, then simmer for 1 hour.
However, onion paste without any preservative (control) was found acceptable only up to 20 days of storage at RT while storage at AT condition resulted in the worse situation (acceptable up to 5 days).
Pour ¼ cup onion masala into each "well" in this silicone tray. Place the tray in the freezer for 3-4 hours or until frozen solid. Pop them out and place them into a zip-top bag and use as needed. You can store fresh masala in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Leave to cool completely, then store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks, or freeze for up to 3 months.
I wash the tomatoes, cook them briefly in hot water to remove the skins, the same way that I do for making Tomato Ice Cubes. I then place diced tomatoes in the bottom of my container and add diced green peppers. Then add the onions and you have TOG. Label, date your container and put it in the freezer.