One Basic Madras gravy for many dishes.

After many trials and many hesitations I have decided to let you in on my secret to prepare many gravy dishes with one base recipe . So what s new you may ask,  as such recipes are quite common…Yes , but I have fine tuned it to my Southie taste buds without depriving the North Indian touch to some of the dishes to which I have used it  as a base gravy .

So  I will be delighted  if you try and let me know if what I think is a success and a surefire way to cut cooking time and put up a feast on the table at short notice.

Some of the dishes you can put up are.

1. Hotel style sambar 

For the Idlis ,  dosas, pongal which is also called as Tiffin sambar which s nothing but a delicious blend of simple Southern spices with some lentils  to drench your idlis and tickle your taste buds.

2. A typical hotel style mildly spiced Tomato onions  chutney 

    Which goes about with anything .

3. Tomato /Tamaatar Paneer bhurji  .

   A spicy gravy with tomatoes    and spices using scrambled paneer or Indian  cottage cheese .

4. Banarasi Dum Aaloo 

    Prepared within minutes adding a few ingredients cutting cooking time by half…

5. Aaloo Tariwale 

    Where this gravy is the base in which the potatoes are cooked.

6. Aaloo Raswale. 

    Potatoes cooked in a mildly spiced gravy .

7.Tomatoes onions Masala

8. Tomato rice 

   The base gravy as such a dish by itself!! A delicious Tomatoes onions gravy. simple and quick to prepare    in a jiffy.

The above dishes have been cooked with one base preparation, which can be prepared in bul to  freeze and store in small portions in separate containers . So use the quantity you need without thawing the entire batch.

So when you next go to visit your kids away from home , prepare such useful gravy base dishes , freeze , and help them to churn out familiar tasty home style dishes just like mom made. Just leave with them the recipes they can use it for. These are only a few I tried very regularly. The possibilities are immense!

Recipe for the base gravy:


2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes.
2 cups shallots ( preferred to use these tasty small onions popularly called sambar onions )
2 tbsp sambar powder ( from your stock )
1 tsp turmeric powder.
1/2  tsp Asafoetida powder.
3 green chillies
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut or coconut milk powder ( skip if you want to avoid it ) but it tastes good.
2 tsp coriander powder.
2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
1/4 cup fried gram powdered ( bhuna chana )
4 tbsp oil 
salt as required.
Note : 

Ginger garlic has been avoided as this base gravy is being used for South Indian Sambar too, so to prepare North Indian style gravy dishes , Ginger garlic may be added separately based on the dish recipe requirement.


In a pan add the oil, heat it, add the shallots, green chillies and sautee well.
Add tomatoes and all the other ingredients stirring well on a low flame.
Add some sprinkles of water if the mixture thickens without cooking. Cover and cook for 3 -5 minutes till the whole mixture has thickened, tomatoes softened and gravy like texture.
Cool this well. This is our base gravy  which is a quick side dish by itself.

Now at this stage you can decide to store it as it is with chunks of tomatoes as a thick paste or blend  in a mixe and then a chutney paste like, I prefer to store without blending .

When completely cooled, store in freezer bags with labels and in separate portions.

Store in airtight bottles and freeze some for later use , flat seal it so it is easy to break off pieces as required 

How to use this ?

1.  Hotel style sambar.

Take the required quantity of the gravy that you have frozen by thawing it for few minutes, then blend it in a mixie adding little water to dilute. Dont blend it to a juice like consistency, just two or three turns ,with little shredded veggies showing. 
Now heat this blended mixture in a vessel, give a gentle boil, garnish with coriander leaves.
Pour a seasoning of crackled mustard seeds and some curry leaves in ghee or oil.
Serve hot with Idlis, dosas and Pongal. Goes with rice too. The sambar will be aromatic as we have used many South Indian spices required for a Hotel style Sambar.

2. Hotel style Tomato Onion chutney .

Measure out the quantity of the base gravy prepared and frozen , thaw it well, blend to a thick smooth paste without adding water.

Your hotel style chutney is ready.!
Temper with Mustard seeds and 1 red chilly.Goes well with Idlis dosas and Pongal too.

3. Tamaatar /Tomato Paneer bhurji.

Measure out required quantity of base gravy, thaw it out. 

Take a pan ,add the gravy, sprinkle very little water.
Add 2 tsp of paav bhaaji masala powder depending on the quantity of bhurji you are preparing. 
Let mixture simmer on a very low flame as the raw taste of the paav bhaaji masala has to go.
You may add 1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste if you like.
 Finally grate some fresh home made paneer or Cottage cheese over the hot bhurji , stir well. Garnish with chopped  coriander leaves. A delicious quick Tomato onion Paneer bhurji is ready to go with your rotis.

4. Banarasi Dum Aloo

Now that s quite a cheek , to imagine making a delicious near authentic dish such as the Banarasi Dum Aaloo with a base gravy that has so many ingredients not usually known to be used. Let me assure you while the gravy does include spices not  known to be added in the gravy for such a rich dish, it no way interferes with the taste or is  over powering. Reason being we are going to add other ingredients which will accentuate the taste to original.

Take out required quantity of the gravy , thaw it out. Blend it to a little smooth paste.
Heat a pan, add some oil add the thawed gravy, add some water too to prevent the thick gravy from burning an sticking to the pan. 

The other ingredients you need  are..

A paste of 2 tbs of  cashewnuts, cumin seeds, 4-5 cardamom seeds, 1 tsp fennel .
While making the cashew paste add 1-2 small extra tomatoes or tomato puree  if you want a more tangy gravy and to enhance the flavors.( But not required.)
1-2 tsp of crushed Kasoori methi to be added at end.
1 tsp Ginger garlic paste  or as required.
Baby potatoes cooked and deep fried or shallow fried to be added to the gravy.
1/4 cup or more of fresh cream..Add a little water to lighten the gravy and enable a little more cooking to allow the ingredients newly added to get infused well.
Let the gravy simmer with added ingredients for  2-3 minutes, add the potatoes, lower flame till potatoes get  infused with the gravy flavors.Add crushed Kasoori methi, 1 tbsp of honey ( optional )
 Garnish with chopped  coriander leaves.
For details about this dish check here.

5. Aaloo Tariwale ( spiced gravy dish with potatoes )

This is an awesome simple tasty dish for those times when you need one quickly without using many ingredients. See the original recipe posted here.
The base gravy that we have already prepared and stored will work well in this recipe.
Remove the required quantity of the gravy.Blend coarsely and not too thin.
Heat a pan , add the gravy to cook on a very slow flame .

Other ingredients to be added in addition .

Some chopped potatoes, peeled and cubed. Cook till almost done .
1-2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp pomegranate seeds powder
Ginger garlic paste ( optional )
Chopped coriander leaves.
Let the gravy cook with added potatoes and added spices , remove and garnish wit coriander leaves.
Serve hot with phulkas or jeera rice.

6. Aaloo Shaak ( Bateta nu shaak / Potatoes cooked in a mildly spiced gravy ).

This is the easiest twist I have made.
Simply add some cooked potatoes to the already prepared gravy. Blend the gravy and thin out the gravy by adding some water. Adding a tbsp of ginger garlic paste is purely optional. Normally not added to this popular simple sweet and spicy tangy dish from Gujarat. You can add a tsp of jaggery powder to give  a slight sweetness to the dish.
Let the potatoes cook with the gravy till flavors are absorbed well.
Garnish and serve.
Recipe already here…


7. Tomato Onions Masala ( side dish for Rotis  ) 

Measure the required quantity of gravy, thaw it out. No need to blend this dish.
Heat oil in  a pan, add the thawed gravy masala , add a tbsp of ginger garlic paste if you wish,  stir well, sprinkle water only if necessary.  Add 2 tsp of pav bhaaji masala or chole masala for a scrumptious dish.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Dish is ready in 3 minutes or less.

8. .  Adding another dish ..Tomato rice.

Use the paste to make a quick yummy tomato rice, add some toasted cashew nuts or roasted peanuts and garnish with coriander leaves . Mix with basmati rice and enjoy a yummy spicy tomato rice.
These are some of the easy dishes which can be prepared in a jiffy. There are many possibilities to try many such gravy dishes. 

Keep experimenting!


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