Indian Takeaway Curry

My 5 Favourite …

This post represents my five favourite Indian Takeaway Curries with recipes you can cook at home to re-create, or dare I say it, better the results found in your local restaurant or takeaway. Not only that, it’s going to be cheaper, more fun and probably healthier.

And don’t worry, click on over to my page on Indian Sundries for a bunch of accompaniments to make the meal – or feast – complete.

The five recipes for curry sauces I’m going to give you are:

  1. Makhani
  2. Saag
  3. Pathia
  4. Jalfrezi
  5. Vindaloo

But first, the Proteins:

You will notice I’ve not mentioned which protein to pair with these sauces. So before we get to the sauces, I’m going to give you some simple recipes to mix-and-match that you can batch cook and freeze – then cook the sauces fresh when you fancy a curry:

Chicken Tikka

This recipe makes 3 meals worth, each serving 4 people when combined with one of the sauces. Freeze what you don’t need, then defrost thoroughly before use.

  • 1.5 kg chicken thigh or breast
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 8 cloves garlic, grated
  • thumb of ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 200g full-fat yoghurt

Mix everything together. Throw everything to a zip-lock bag, and give it a good massage. Marinade overnight.

The following day, remove the chicken from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Thread onto skewers, wiping off any excess marinade. Cook over a barbecue or under a hot grill; char until cooked through and starting to blacken – 8 to 10 minutes.

You can let these come to room temperature, then set aside for use in the curry, or freeze for another time.

Slow Braised Lamb

This recipe makes 3 meals worth, each serving 4 people when combined with one of the sauces. Freeze what you don’t need, then defrost thoroughly before use.

  • 6 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2” cinnamon sticks
  • 3 bay leaves

Heat a glug of oil in deep panpan. Throw in the spices – cook for 1 minute until they begin to crackle.

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, grated
  • 1 thumb ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp salt

Add the onion & garlic & ginger & salt – cook slowy for 10 minutes until translucent.

  • 1.8kg lamb leg, cubed
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala

Add the lamb and spices. Brown the meat, then add enough water to cover everything. Simmer gently for 2 hours until the lamb is tender and soft.

Pick out the lamb and set aside for use in the curry, or freeze for another time.

If you are making one of the curry sauces that calls for the use of water, use the lamb stock instead as this is packed with flavour (but strain off and discard the solids first).

Marinated Prawns

We are not going to cook the prawns, as they should be simply warmed thorugh in the curry sauce before serving, to ensure they are not overcooked.

Try to use raw prawns wherever you can – frozen is fine, just defrost first. And we will use around 600g for a serving of 4.

  • list

About an hour ahead of the dinner, clean your prawns (remove the head, tail, shell and clean the tracts). Pat them dry and place them in a bowl.

Add the spices to the prawns and toss thoroughly, coating them all over. Pop them back in the fridge until needed.

Crispy Paneer


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And now, the Curry Sauces:

The curries themselves are simple, and follow a similar flow. We will be making a paste by blitzing some onions in a blender, usually with the addition of garlic and ginger, and sometime chillies. Then there is the spices – a mix of whole and powdered. The liquid base will be tomatoes, or water, or stock. And then a final few ingredients at the end to give the flavours a bit of a kick.

If you want to make life easier for yourself, group the ingredients that go into the dish together – prepare little bowls, for example, the whole spices in one bowl, or the finishing items in a seperate bowl. Mise en place.


Makhani is the world-famous “Indian Butter” dish, almost always paired with chicken. It’s not frequently found in UK restaurants, but it’s very similar to “tikka masala”, so if that’s how you like your curries then hop on board. The fenugreek leaves added at the end start to push the flavours towards a “methi”.

The onion-paste:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger

Roughly chop the onions & garlic & chillies – throw them into a food processor with the oil, and blitz to a smooth paste (add a little water, if necessary, to help the process).

The whole spices:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cardamom cloves, cracked
  • 2 bay leaves
  • [the onion paste]

In a pan, pour in a good glug of oil. Add the cinnamon & cardamom & bay leaves – fry until they flavour the oil and begin to crackles. Toss in the onion-paste and cook slowly for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown.

The dried spices:

  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt

Add the spices & salt. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly.

The liquid:

  • 800ml tomato passata

Add the tomato passata and stir through. Simmer the sauce for 20 mins to reduce the liquid down and intensify the tomato flavour – you will need to stir regularly so the sauce doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. The sauce needs to be quite thick at this point.

To finish:

  • 25g butter
  • 75ml double cream
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • [Chicken Tikka]

Add the butter & double cream & fenugreek & cooked chicken tikka. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Check the consistency, adding a little water if needed.


Garnish with matchsticks of ginger and chopped coriander.


Saag works brilliantly with lamb, but you can also use chicken.

For the Curry Sauce:

  • 1” cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 onions, finely chopped

Sauté the whole spices in oil, then throw in the onions and cook until lightly coloured.

  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

Add the ground spices, garlic, tomatoes and tomato paste – cook for 2 mins.

  • 300ml water (or your lamb stock)
  • 500g chopped spinach

Add the water and spinach – cook for 10 mins until thickened.

To Serve:

Remove the lamb chops from the bag, pat dry and scrape off excess marinade. Empty the juices from the bag into the curry sauce. Brown the lamb for a minute on each side in a very hot pan.

Meanwhile, reduce the curry sauce to the desired consistency. Spoon into bowls, then place the lamb on top. Serve with rice and/or naans.



Make the onion-paste:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 5 fresh green chillies

Roughly chop the onions & garlic & chillies – throw them into a food processor with the oil, and blitz to a smooth paste (add a little water, if necessary, to help the process).

Make the tomato-tamarind-water:

  • 250ml water
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

In the same blender, blitz up the water with the tomatoes & tamarind & sugar & salt. Set aside for later.

The sauce:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • [onion-paste]

Heat the oil in a large pan, the toss in the cumin seeds – stir until they begin to crackle. Add the onion-paste and cook over a medium-low heat, nice and gently, until the onion browns – this will take 20 mins, ensure you stir often so the onions don’t burn.

  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

Add the spices – cook for 1 minutes, stirring often.

  • [tomato-tamarind-water]

Add the tomato-tamarind-water and stir everything together. Bring to the boil and it reduce at a simmer for 10 minutes. The sauce should come down to a thick, non-runny gravy.

Taste the sauce – it should be a balance of hot-sweet-sour adjust with a little more tamarind, or salt, or sugar.

To serve:

  • 2 green chillies, sliced
  • handful fresh corriander, chopped
  • [the prawns]

When the sauce is the perfect consistency, add a splash of water & the prawns. Heat through until the prawns cook and turn pink – as soon as they are done, tip out into a serving bowl and scatter over with the fresh chilli slices and chopped coriander.




  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1 large onion, grated.

n a low-medium heat, pour a good glug of oil in a pan, then add the star anise & onion – cook for 15-20 minutes until a deep brown colour forms.

  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 thumb ginger, grated
  • 4 fresh green chillies, grated

Add the garlic & ginger & chillies and fry for 2 mins. 

  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Now add the spices and fry for another minute. 

  • 50g tomato puree
  • 300ml water (or reserved lamb stock)

Add the tomato purée & water – reduce to thicken and intensify the flavours, until it is the back to the consistency of the tomato paste  

  • 2 tbsp wine wine vinegar
  • 200ml water (or reserved lamb stock)

Add another 200ml water. Stir through then blitz with a hand blender. Simmer and reduce to the desired consistency, then finish with the white wine vinegar. 


We are all not without inspiration, be it known or subconscious. These recipes are my latest and favourite versions of the dishes, always tweaked to my own personal tastes (usually extra chilli). Frequently with added techniques from other places or sources or experiences.

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