Easy Indian Curry Recipe in Instant Pot or Stovetop

Master Curry Sauce - Punjabi Gravy by Spice Cravings. This Punjabi Gravy is a rich, aromatic and versatile master curry sauce that is the base for a variety of Indian curry dishes. This recipe starts with onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes, simmered with warm Indian spices like garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and of course, salt, turmeric and cayenne. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty

Every cuisine has some basic ingredients that form the ‘foundation’ of many dishes.  This Indian curry recipe is a rich, aromatic and versatile Punjabi-style master curry sauce that forms the base for a variety of delicious north-Indian food dishes.

As with most Indian food recipes, this one also starts off with fresh produce.  All it is, is onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes, simmered with warm Indian spices like garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and of course, salt, turmeric and cayenne, which is the inseparable trio in Indian cuisine!
Master Curry Sauce - Punjabi Gravy by Spice Cravings. This Punjabi Gravy is a rich, aromatic and versatile master curry sauce that is the base for a variety of Indian curry dishes. This recipe starts with onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes, simmered with warm Indian spices like garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and of course, salt, turmeric and cayenne. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #curry #Indian

Versatile Indian Curry Recipe

You can make a variety of Indian recipes with this master curry recipe. Some popular examples are Chana Masala, Kidney Beans curry (Rajma), Paneer Mutter (Cottage cheese and peas), Everyday Chicken Curry, and believe it or not, even Butter Chicken!

Wait… What?  Yup!  All you have to do is add chicken and heavy cream or Greek yogurt to this curry, add a pinch of sugar or honey, and cook everything till the chicken is tender.  Garnish with cilantro, and you have a super-easy butter chicken.

Master Curry Sauce - Punjabi Gravy by Spice Cravings. This Punjabi Gravy is a rich, aromatic and versatile master curry sauce that is the base for a variety of Indian curry dishes. This recipe starts with onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes, simmered with warm Indian spices like garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and of course, salt, turmeric and cayenne. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty

How to Make Curry Sauce: Make-Ahead and Freeze

This Indian curry recipe is a great make-ahead and freeze item.  I always make a big batch of this sauce, cool it, and pour it in single-use mason jars, pop it in the freezer and pull it out on crazy weeknights.  I add either lentils or canned chickpeas or Paneer & Frozen peas or even boneless chicken thighs, and we have a delicious dinner ready in minutes.

Here’s how I use this Indian Curry Recipe

This instant pot recipe makes around 7oz.-8oz. of curry sauce.  I multiply this curry recipe based on my meal planning, store it and freeze it in 8oz. mason jars.  As and when I need it, I thaw a jar (or two), in the refrigerator overnight, or, remove the lid and defrost it in the microwave, using any low power setting.  Here’s how I use it:

Master Curry Sauce, Punjabi Gravy by Spice Cravings. This Punjabi Gravy is a rich, aromatic and versatile master curry sauce that is the base for a variety of Indian curry dishes. This recipe starts with onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes, simmered with warm Indian spices like garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and of course, salt, turmeric and cayenne. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian #CurryPaneer Mutter (Cottage cheese and peas)

  • Add curry sauce, 1/4 cup water, 10 oz. paneer cut into cubes, and 1/2 cup frozen peas to the Instant Pot and stir well.
  • Close lid. Sealing Position.  Cook for zero minutes on Manual/Pressure Cook.  Manually release the pressure by turning the knob to Venting position.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro.

 

Master Curry Sauce, Punjabi Gravy by Spice Cravings. This Punjabi Gravy is a rich, aromatic and versatile master curry sauce that is the base for a variety of Indian curry dishes. This recipe starts with onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes, simmered with warm Indian spices like garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and of course, salt, turmeric and cayenne. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian #CurryChana Masala

  • Add curry sauce, rinsed and drained can of chickpeas (or pre-soaked), 1.5-2 cups water and 1 teaspoon garam masala to the Instant pot.
  • Close lid.  Sealing Position.  Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook for 4 minutes.  Wait 5 minutes and release the pressure (NPR 5). If using pre-soaked, increase pressure cooking time to 35 mins Bean Mode. NPR.
  • Squeeze in some fresh lime juice and garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.

 

Instant Pot Rajma Masala- Red Beans curry

Rajma Masala (Kidney Beans Curry)

  • Add curry sauce, rinsed and drained can of kidney beans (or pre-soaked), 1.5-2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon garam masala to the Instant pot.
  • Close lid.  Sealing Position.  Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook for 4 minutes.  Wait 5 minutes and release the pressure (NPR 5).  If using pre-soaked, increase pressure cooking time to 25 mins Bean Mode. NPR.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.

 

Butter Chicken- Authentic & Easy Murgh Makhani

Authentic Butter Chicken

  • Using an immersion blender, puree the curry sauce till it’s smooth.  Skip this step if you like a chunky sauce.  Add curry sauce, boneless skinless chicken pieces (about 1.5 inches), 1/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon garam masala to the Instant pot.
  • Close lid.  Sealing Position.  Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook for 4 minutes.  Wait 10 minutes and release the pressure (NPR 10).  Add 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.

Toor Dal tadka, Split Pigeon pea soup, lentil soup, Instant Pot Soup by Spice Cravings. Toor Dal, also known as Arhar Dal or split yellow pigeon peas, is the most popular lentil all over India. Made with mustard seeds, onions and curry leaves. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian

Toor Dal Tadka (Split Pigeon Peas)

  • Soak 1 cup dal for 30 minutes in warm water. Rinse and drain.  Add curry sauce and 1 cup water,  to the Instant Pot and stir well.
  • Close lid. Sealing Position.  Cook for 5 minutes on Manual/Pressure Cook.  NPR 5mins and release pressure.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime before serving (Optional).
  • Time Variation for other Lentils: Red Lentils: 5 mins; Green Lentils: 8mins

Great for Party Planning

Whenever I am hosting a dinner party with an Indian food menu, I always make this curry recipe a few days in advance.  That makes cooking time so manageable and less exhausting for me, so I can enjoy my own party too:-)

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot

I find it very easy to make this in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot (IP).  To learn more about the instant pot, check out my Instant Pot FAQ and Accessories blog.

Prior to owning an IP, I used to make it in my stove-top pressure cooker, Hawkins.  I used to wait for 2 whistles, reduce the heat to medium, and cook it another 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the cooker depressurize.  That’s it!

Stovetop Recipe for Indian Curry Sauce

You can also make this easy curry sauce in a saucepan on the stovetop.

Take any deep sauce pot, that’ll prevent the tomato sauce from splashing all over your stove-top, or your hand. :-).  Follow the recipe, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium heat, stirring in between (probably every 5 minutes or so).  If you double up the recipe, the cooking time will increase by a few minutes.

Some Cool Tips for Indian Curry Sauce

You know the Indian Curry Recipe is done, when you can see a super-thin layer of oil coating the sauce/gravy.  In other words, when the gravy starts oozing oil, it is done.

Freezer Storage Tip: When I’m making a ‘bigger’ batch of this curry sauce, to optimize freezer storage, I pour the curry in 1-inch Ice Cube Silicone Trays.  Once its frozen, I pop the cubes out and store them in a gallon-size Ziploc Freezer Bag. This way, I take out only what I need. For example, if I’m cooking a very small quantity, say only for myself, I take out only 2 cubes of gravy.

★ Have you tried this recipe? Click on the stars ★ in the recipe card to let us know your feedback!

4.5 from 2 votes
Master Curry Sauce - Punjabi Gravy by Spice Cravings. This Punjabi Gravy is a rich, aromatic and versatile master curry sauce that is the base for a variety of Indian curry dishes. This recipe starts with onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes, simmered with warm Indian spices like garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and of course, salt, turmeric and cayenne. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty
Easy Indian Curry Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

This Punjabi Gravy is a rich, aromatic and versatile master Indian curry sauce that is the base for a variety of Indian curry dishes. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 44 kcal
Author: Spice Cravings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Prep: Finely chop ginger, garlic, onions. I typically use a mini-food processor for this. I start pulsing ginger garlic, about 10 times, then add cubed onions and pulse another 6-10 times till everything is finely chopped. By adding the ginger-garlic first, I get a finer chop on those than the onions. Remove the mix. Add tomato cubes and puree them to a smooth consistency. If using canned diced tomatoes, you can add as-is, or puree, depending on your texture preference. I prefer this sauce to be smooth, so prefer pureeing.
  2. Heat oil in Instant Pot on Saute mode. Wait 30 seconds and add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to splutter, add chopped onions, ginger and garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes till golden brown.
  3. Add pureed or crushed tomatoes and use it to deglaze the pot. Scrape the brown bits at the bottom using a wooden spoon. Those brown bits contribute to the flavor, plus, if they remain stuck to the bottom of the pan, they'll eventually burn. Add spices and water and stir well. Turn off the Saute mode. Close lid. Vent to Sealing mode. Cook for 5 minutes on Manual/Pressure Cook. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes (NPR 10). Open lid and you're done!
Stovetop Recipe
  1. Take any deep sauce pot, that'll prevent the tomato sauce from splashing all over your stove-top, or your hand.  Follow the recipe above, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium heat, stirring in between (probably every 5 minutes or so).  If you double up the recipe, the cooking time will increase by a few minutes.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.

 

Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Indian Curry Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 44 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 392mg 16%
Potassium 107mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Sugars 1g
Vitamin A 8.1%
Vitamin C 6.4%
Calcium 1.8%
Iron 4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
❤️ Share a pic! If you try my recipes, share a picture with hashtag #spicecravings on Facebook or Instagram. It’ll make my day! For more quick & easy recipes, SUBSCRIBE to my Youtube Channel and FOLLOW my RECIPE BOARDS on Pinterest.

PIN IT TO PINTEREST

Instant Pot Indian Master Curry Sauce, Punjabi Gravy by Spice Cravings. This Punjabi Gravy is a rich, aromatic and versatile master curry sauce that is the base for a variety of Indian curry dishes. Its seasoned with warm Indian spices like garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and of course, salt, turmeric and cayenne. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian #Curry

Never miss a recipe

Spice Cravings is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

You Might Also Like

4 Comments

  • Reply
    Anne Whiting
    January 16, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Can this recipe be doubled or tripled in a 6-quart Instant Pot?

    • Reply
      aneeshasg
      January 16, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Hi Anne, Yes, very easily. I make 4-5 times this recipe in my 6 QT whenever I am entertaining or making enough to freeze.

      • Reply
        Anne Whiting
        January 16, 2018 at 10:02 am

        Great! I love the idea of making this once and enjoying it many times. Thank you!

        • Reply
          aneeshasg
          January 16, 2018 at 10:34 am

          Yup, me too! Mine stays good in the freezer for up to a month. I am sure it stays good for longer, I’ve always ended up using mine in that time frame. Makes last-minute entertaining a breeze too. Hope you enjoy it!

    Leave a Reply

    Share110
    Pin775
    Tweet
    Yum5
    890 Shares