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Indian Curry paste

Easy Indian Basic Curry Paste

Indian basic curry paste, the heart and soul of any Indian curry is really easy to make. And you can store it for a week in refrigerator or freeze it for months!
4.2 from 21 votes
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: basiccurrypaste, curry paste, currypastefromscratch, curryusingcurrypaste, easycurrypaste, indianbasiccurrypaste, indiancurry, indiancurrypaste, indiancurrypasterecipe, makecurrypaste, redcurryindian, whatiscurrypaste
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 29kcal
Author: Sophie
Cost: $6


  • Instant pot


  • 3 large red onions (cut into chunks)
  • 6 larger garlic pods
  • 2 inch ginger
  • 4 green chilies
  • 2 large tomatoes (pureed)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder (hot or extra-hot variety)
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin powder
  • 0.5 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (optional)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (more if you want)


Prep the paste

  • In a food processor, take onions, garlic, ginger and green chilies.
    Indian curry paste

Cook the paste

  • Heat a frying pan, add oil and allow it to warm.
    Indian curry paste onion puree
  • Add onion, ginger garlic and green chili mixture and cook it for few minutes.
  • Once the onion starts to lose water, add salt. It allows the onion to cook faster by losing more water.
    easy Indian curry paste
  • Brown the mixture well on low flame, and cook until the mixture starts to ooze oil and the mixture starts to leave the pan.
  • At this point, the mixture becomes semi-dry and leaves the pan easily.

Add spices

  • This is the time to add spices. Add all the spices and give a good stir, so the spices incorporate well in the mixture.
    adding spices to Indian curry paste
  • Now you have two choices. You can turn the heat off and keep this mixture as your base curry mixture or add tomatoes and cook it further.
  • Because some curry recipes don't include tomatoes, I prefer keeping half curry paste without tomatoes and half with it.
  • After keeping half of this mixture, I add chopped or puréed tomatoes, and allow it to cook until the mixture dries up and has a pasty consistency.
    adding tomato puree to curry paste
  • Once it reaches a thick and pasty consistency, the curry paste is ready.
    ready red curry paste Indian style


  • Allow it to cool down completely and store it in refrigerator for a week or two.
    Indian curry paste

Instant Pot Method

  • Set the instant pot to the saute mode. Let it heat till the "Hot" sign appears on the IP display. Add oil and let it heat.
    How to make tikka masala sauce
  • There is a little difference in this Instant pot method than the traditional curry paste making method mentioned above. Instead of adding onions first, we will add everything all at once.
  • Add onion, ginger and garlic mixure, followed by tomato puree, all spices and salt. Give a good mix and saute for about 2 minutes. (Till the mixture loses some moisture)
    Add Puree
  • Now change the cooking method to pressure cook and set the time for 3 minutes.
  • Close the lid and seal the vent.
    Pressure cooking in instant pot
  • Once the cooking time is up, wait for the NPR.
  • After the natural pressure release, stir the mixture well.
    Instant pot indian curry paste
  • Now press the saute button again and cook the mixture further till the mixture looks thick and paste-like consistency.
  • The curry paste is ready. Store it in an air-tight glass jar for two weeks or freeze it for a month.
    Curry paste ready to be stored


  • Use mild curry powder if you are using hot or extra hot chili powder.
  • I don't add garam masala to this basic curry paste. Instead, I add it to a finished curry in the end.
  • Skip green chilies and hot chili powder if you want a mild curry paste.
  • For Thai style curry paste, use only the onion base curry paste and avoid adding cumin powder.
Some of the curry inspirations that you can try using the curry paste are:


Serving: 30g | Calories: 29kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Fat: 6g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 22mg