Zaal Restaurant – Red / Masala Sauce

Zaal Restaurant – Masala / Red Sauce

This red sauce recipe is a scaled down version of the recipe that is used in the Zaal restaurant.

Credits and thanks to Az and his staff @ Zaal restaurant in Fleet ( )

*** The level chef spoon volume used in this example is 3 x tablespoons capacity.

** This recipe makes approx 4 large TA size containers of red sauce.
** The red sauce can be frozen in portions and defrosted as required.

Stage 1 – Gather Ingredients

There are a lot of ingredients, make sure you have everything you need and that it is to hand.

Stage 2 – Onion Base

(Pan 1) – In a stock pot add:

4 or 5 x Finely chopped large onions
1 x tbsp g&g paste
0.75 x tbsp salt
2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
1.5 x heaped chefs spoons of veg ghee
3 second squirt of lemon dressing

Cook fairly gently for 30 to 40 mins until the onions melt / become very soft.

Stage 3 – Red Masala Mix

While pan 1 is cooking:

(Pan 2) In a separate pan add & mix:

1 tbsp x Tikka paste
1.5 x tbsp Tandoori paste
1 tsp x Kashmiri masala paste
1 tsp x Garden mint sauce
1 chefs x spoon of sugar (More if needed – Adjust to taste)
1 chefs x spoon of ground almonds
0.5 x chefs spoons of coconut flour/powder (You can substitute creamed coconut block if necessary)
350g x natural yoghurt
1 tbsp x concentrated tamarind paste (I used 1 x tbsp of
A little Orange colouring if desired (The days of red have gone)

*** Tamarind paste: I used 1 x tbsp of Tamarind concentrated Paste from TRS mixed with 3 to 4 tbsp of hot water.

Stage 4 – The ‘Combination’ Phase

Add pan 2 contents into pan 1 and mix well.

Gently cook pan 1 mixture on a medium/low heat for about 10 minutes.

*** You must keep an eye on this mixture, stir frequently and make sure it does not burn at all.

After the mixture has been well heated through, take off the heat and leave to cool.

When cool, blend it all up with a stick blender and taste. If it is too tart add more sugar. At Zaal, we added another 2 chefs spoons worth of caster sugar as Az didnt realize how concentrated the tamarind was and we added a whole chefs spoons worth.

Pour into a tray too cool, then chill in the fridge.

There are lots of uses for this, the main ones being a CTM and a Roshney Chicken.

To make it into a CTM (Chicken Tikka Masala) just add one heaped chefs spoon of this massala to 2 ladles of base and stir in some single cream and reduce until the right thickness – it tastes very nice.


Zaal Restaurant – Curry (BIR) Garam Masala

Zaal Restaurant Garam Masala

Credits and thanks to Az and his staff @ Zaal restaurant in Fleet ( )

3 to 4 cinnamon ( Cassia bark ) sticks
1 x heaped dessert spoon green cardamom pods whole
1 x flat level dessert spoon mustard seed
3/4 ( Three quarters ) level dessert spoon onion seed
6 x bay leaves ( Indian / asian bay )
1 x level dessert spoon cumin seed
½ ( half ) level fennel seed

Dry roast in an oven on very very low heat for several hours / or even over night. When roasted grind to a fine powder using a coffee grinder.


Zaal Restaurant – Curry (BIR) Spice Mix

Zaal Restaurant Mix Powder

Credits and thanks to Az and his staff @ Zaal restaurant in Fleet ( )

This is the actual mix powder Az’s assistant at Zaal restaurant was preparing on our lesson. It was surely the biggest amount of mix powder I’ve ever seen! Obviously it needs scaling down for home use. In fact Az said it would last his chef about a week. He prefers to use East End / Natco brand of spices.

The curry powder he uses is mild madras, not Eastern Star. It’s very important to make your own garam masala. Az said most takeaways make their own and the pre made stuff is no good. He’d never heard of Jaipur garam masala although he did know of their existence of producing spices.

( All heaped chef spoons ) / ( Scale down with teaspoons )

22 x curry powder
16 x coriander
12 x cumin
15 x turmeric
2 x standard heat chilli powder
½ (half) x Garam masala


Zaal Restaurant – Curry Gravy / Garabi

Zaal Restaurant – Curry Gravy / Garabi

This base gravy / Garabi recipe is a scaled down version of the exact base that is used in the Zaal restaurant as taught by the owner Az. The recipe has not been tried on a smaller scale than this.

Credits and thanks to Az and his staff @ Zaal restaurant in Fleet ( )

Garabi - Ready to use

Onion Base Stage

Use a pot roughly eight to ten litres in capacity. The one in this example is around 10 liters capacity.

Fill it just over three quarters full of chopped English / Dutch onions. Do not use milder Spanish onions. In this example there is 4Kg of onions in the pot.

It is suggested not leave the onions whole in the pot. Chopped onions will cook more quickly (Especially if its busy in a restaurant and it makes no difference to their sweetness when cooking).

The level chef spoon volume used in this example is 3 x tablespoons capacity.

Then add:
1 x chopped carrot (100g)
1 x chopped green pepper (120g)
1 x sliced potato (140g)
1 x desert spoon of salt (15g)
1 x desert spoon of ginger / garlic paste (25g) – (50 x 50 ratio is fine)

2 x litres of water
2 x chef spoons of vegetable oil

Put the lid on and bring to the boil.

Garabi - Onion base ingredients

Boil it for at least an hour, making sure the bottom doesn’t catch. If it does add a little more water. There is not an exact cooking time as to when it’s ready. Like most things it is done by eye and when the onions begin to ‘melt’ it is time to move to the next stages.

Akhni Stock Stage

Medium saucepan on the boil and add a few Cinnamon sticks, a small handful of green cardamon pods and about six bay leaves. Leave to boil for about ten minutes then strain the mixture and put the strained water into the original onion and carrot base.

Garabi - Akhni Stock ingredients

*** Avoid just adding the whole spices to the original mixture – this may seem like a shortcut but is a recipe for disaster. You would have trouble trying to fish them out and the whole spices will never blend smooth enough to leave in the base. The Akhni stock whole spices can be recycled and used again.

Fry Spices Stage

Garabi - Fry stage ingredients

In a frying pan add:
1 x heaped chef spoon of veg ghee (100g)
1 x chef spoon of ginger / garlic paste (120g) – (50 x 50 ratio is fine)

Cook until the g&g mixture goes slightly brown.

½ (half) x chef spoon mix powder
( Zaal mix powder )
( I like to use Abdul 8 spice )
2 tsp x standard chili powder
¾ (Three quarters) x chef spoon of turmeric
4 x chef spoons blended peeled tomatoes

Garabi - Fry stage ingredients

Cook the spice mix fairly hard taking care not to burn the spices. It is important to cook the rawness out of the spices. It helps to add the blended tomatoes a spoon at a time to keep the mixture moving.

Garabi - Fry stage ingredients

After cooking for around 4 minutes add to the blended onion mixture. Bring the mixture to the boil and then leave to simmer. As it simmers on the stove top the oil will gradually rise to the surface. This is a good indicator that the base is now ready.

Garabi - Ready to blend

Leave to cool then thoroughly blend. Note that the base may need thinning with water at this stage if it is too thick.

The gravy made should be slightly sweet with just a mild curry flavour so it could be used in everything from a Vindaloo to a Tikka Massla. This quantity of ingredients will produce around 16 or more 350ml portions of gravy. If done right, you may well notice that your curry’s now actually smell of that magic aroma that one associates with a good British Indian Restaurant (BIR).


Curry Flambe


Curry Recipes Online

Most certainly the holy grail of (BIR) British Indian Restaurant style cooking forums on the internet.

This is an excellent forum where the subject is taken very seriously with expert advice. Well worth the time to register and look around. Especially the very helpful FAQ and beginners questions area. A must read.

Please click here to visit the Curry Recipes On-line forum.


Solarsplace – Indian Saag Aloo Recipe

(Based on Indian restaurant style – but far tastier & fresher than your average take-away)

Ingredients: (Serves 2 x main or 4 x side approx)

  • Vegetable / Olive oil (or ghee if you like)
  • 1&1/2 inch length of fresh ginger grated
  • 3 garlic cloves finely sliced (TBH I would use 6, but you have to be considerate to friends & family)
  • 2 to 3 onions (small to medium) coarsely chopped
  • 1 to 2 green chilli’s finely chopped (Depends on strength)
  • 400g potatoes cubed approx 1&1/2 inches
  • 1 tsb garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsb groung coriander
  • ¾ tsp tumeric (generous ½ if you see what I mean.)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 300g bag fresh spinach leaves
  • Cooking Instructions

    Rinse the spinach in a colander, lightly shake excess water off and place into a large cooking pan with lid and very gently simmer in its own moisture for 10 minutes. Then drain the cooked spinach using a slotted spatula or similar to press out and remove wetness and juice. Tip onto chopping board and lightly cube up with sharp knife. (I recommend doing this on the draining board, so it is easy to wash away the inevitable overflow of spinach juice).

    Part boil potato cubes for 3 to 4 minutes until slightly cooked and quite firm. Some people prefer pure pan cooking, but I always find the rest of the ingredients are past their best by the time the potatoes are done. (Make life easy for yourself, just part boil them a little). Then drain.

    I always like to get my ingredients ready before I start cooking to prevent missing a herb etc. Here we see this, and I would like to point out the pink stereo in the corner belongs to someone else!.

    Lets cook, heat oil / ghee in large suitable pan and fry onions, garlic and chilli’s. Use reasonably sparingly, perhaps 2 – 3 table spoons.

    When onions are slightly golden, add drained potatoes and mix gently for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add all other spices except the garam masala. Mix all very gently together and cook for around 5 to 6 minutes on a medium heat, until potatoes are cooked but firm. Do not let anything burn. Add a few drops of water or a splash of oil and, or reduce heat a little if necessary.

    Now add your drained and chopped spinach, gently mix in, so it is combined with the dish, but still clearly defined. Now sprinkle / mix in the garam masala and cook gently for a further 2 -3 minutes. I cannot stress how critical the garam masala is to the recipe, it is the essential final touch. Make sure it is properly mixed in, but don’t risk turning the dish to mush to achieve that.

    Off heat and serve.


    Excellent Onion Bhaji Recipe

    Jeena’s Kitchen Onion Bhaji Recipe

    Location: JeenasKitchen

    Very fast, easy and tasty recipe for Onion Bhaji’s.

    Added bonus – ease and time – that this recipe requires no deep fat frying, rather oven baking – so possibly more healthy too!

    Note, personally had a little grief with these little buggers gluing themselves to the baking tin. Cooked this a couple of times now, and tried different methods of lubrication (ooer) and different tins too – still stuck like bars*ards. Oh well probably just my rubbish baking tins. I would also recommend upping the temp to something like 200C plus a little extra time for non fan assisted ovens – like my rubbish one. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn the first time you make them.

    As usual here are some pictures.

    This is our raw Bhaji mix.

    These are our lovely looking cooked Bhaji’s. They are excellent, by the way!

    I think you will agree, they look very nice. Please give the recipe a try! – BTW I used Gram flour for mine.


    Home Made Chicken Madras Curry

    I love hot Chicken curry, I really do – it is one of the finest things in the world, without a doubt.

    Here is a picture of my home made Chicken Madrass curry. Plus the recipee. Don’t worry if it looks a little watery in the picture below. Just simmer for 20 minutes to reduce it down a little.

    Here is the recipe:

    450g / 1lb chicken breast fillets
    45ml / 3 tbsp tomato puree paste
    large pinch ground fenugreek
    1.5ml / ¼ tsp ground fennel seeds
    5ml / 1tsp grated fresh root ginger
    7.5ml / 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
    5ml / 1 tsp crushed garlic
    5ml /1 tsp chilli powder
    1.5ml / ¼ tsp ground turmeric
    30ml / 2 tbsp lemon juice
    5ml / 1 tsp salt
    415g / 1 can fine chopped tomatoes
    45 ml /3 tbsp vegetable oil
    2 onions diced
    2 – 4 dried curry leaves
    3 – 4 fresh green chillies finely chopped
    15ml / 1tbsp chopped fresh coriander

    Cube the chicken breast fillets.
    Mix tomato puree in bowl with fenugreek, fennel, ginger,
    ground coriander, garlic, chilli powder, turmeric, lemon juice, salt
    can of tomatoes.
    Heat oil in large frying pan and fry onions with the curry leaves until chicken
    is golden then add chicken and stir until sealed.
    Pour the tomato sauce and spice mix into the pan and stir for 2 minutes.
    lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes.


    Kenwood CH180 Mini Chopper & Sainsbury’s Scotch Bonnet Chillies

    What is this about?

    Well, this is about a time saving mini chopper to save us time in cooking yummy curries. By helping us super speedily chop our ingredients and additionally, this post is about some nice looking chillis I saw in Sano’s.

    Here is a picture of the ‘mini chopper’, and it is rather nice! indeed rather cute. Hopefully this will save us a bunch of time fine chopping our onions and chillis. Plus this should also prevent us getting the chilli on our hands and wiping it in our eyes when we chop our onions which make our eyes water. This can be especially important when dealing with very hot chilli.

    Right. I suppose we had better chop up some stuff for a curry. What better than some lovely Scotch Bonnet Chilli. Lets chop two of them whole (minus stalks). We want our curry nice and hot so seeds are naturally included.

    I draw your attention to the rather boastful claim that they are ‘very hot’ with a whole four chilli mark scale on the packet.

    Right, lets poke this stuff into our mini chopper and see how we get on. As you can see there is plenty of room for an onion and a pair of chillis. With room to spare too.

    Litterally five seconds of quick pulses on the switch, which has by the way two positions (fast and slow) we have some proper time saving chopping!.

    But, the question is how does this chilli stack up to being part of a Vindaloo?

    Not bad, but add a third chilli to a portion fit for four, if you are looking for a real Vindaloo experience.