If you browse around here at The Yummy Kind, it’ll quickly become obvious I am a child of the world…or, at least, my mouth is. I love all types of ethnic cuisines, and am elated each time I taste (and/or cook) something new.

Considering how much I have loved Indian food for years, it surprised me to realize I’d never made my own curry paste. Upon realizing this, I delved into reading about various types of curries (North Indian, South Indian, etc.) and how widely the components may vary.

A few side notes before we get into this paste-making business:

  • Curry, as a noun, is simply a spiced meat or vegetable dish. It’s components vary widely the world over.
  • Curry powders are spice blends that, while they do contain curry leaves, are a mix of all types of spices. And, again, what’s included varies widely depending on where you are in the world.
  • For the curry paste in my recipe, I focused on making my own Garam Masala (which simply means warm or hot spices) and then mixing that with wet ingredients (tomato, onion, ginger, garlic) to make a paste.


curry paste and garam masala
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This will make enough paste for about two large curries (that would each serve 4 to 6 adults).
for the garam masala
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 t black peppercorns
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • 2 T coriander seeds (yes, tablespoons)
  • 1 t geera (or roasted cumin)
  • ½ t tumeric
  • 6 cloves
for the paste
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 T fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 dried hot chili (or more, to taste)
  • 2-3 T water (to get the blades running in your food processor)
  • 2 T oil or Earth Balance (to cook the paste in)
  • 1 whole tomato, diced
  1. Throw all of the spices in the garam masala list into a coffee grinder, or high-speed blender (like a Magic Bullet) and blend until you’ve got a fine powder.
  2. Put onion, ginger, garlic, chili, and water in a food processor and blend until it is a watery paste.
  3. Heat the oil or vegan butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat.
  4. Add the wet ingredients from your food processor (only! don’t add the spices yet).
  5. Cook, stirring often, until moisture has evaporated, mixture has thickened and is starting to turn brown (about 15 minutes – yes, it takes patience for good curry!)
  6. Add in the tomatoes and cook another 5-8 minutes until they are totally broken down and blended into the paste and it is thick again.
  7. Add spices and cook 2-3 minutes more until mixture is very, very dark red/brown and very thick.
  8. Store in a tight-lidded jar until you’re ready to make a curry in a hurry!