HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Indian cooking/simmer sauces

I sometimes feel like making Indian food for dinner, but don't have the time to start a curry from scratch. I've tried a couple of the Patak's sauces and think that they are pretty good in a pinch, plus they're easy to find where I live. I'm wondering about other lines of Indian sauces that I've not tried: Maya Kaimal, etc. Any recommendations?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. do you have an indian store close by ? there are dried mixes available by sanjeev kapoor and shan masalas which really are pretty simple to use. dont need a lot of other things to make a curry in a snap. there are times when i use the crockpot before leaving for work to make dals and other types of curries which benefit from slow cooking.

    3 Replies
    1. re: foodwich

      The Shan brand masalas offer a broad array of recipes and can save as much time as Patak's pastes. You might also find that keeping ginger-garlic paste in the refrigerator can be a time saver as well.

      How is Sanjeev Kapoor? I just noticed his packets starting to proliferate the stores in my area, though I thought that they were wet pastes.

      1. re: foodwich

        Yes, there are a couple of Indian groceries nearby. I'll definitely check them out. As for the Sanjeev Kapoor dried mixes, what ingredients (besides the meat) typically have to be added to make a curry? How do the results compare to using a sauce like Patak's?

        1. re: cheesemaestro

          sanjeev kapoor does a cooking show on indian tv called khana khazana and he has these mixes for curries etc. last year i took a few packets of mixes on vacation with me so i could use for curries. they are ok i felt the mixes lack the oomph of the 'cooked from scratch' meal, but in when you are in a hurry, they work which is important. there are different kinds of dry mixes, some you just add meat of your choice others, depending on the curry you would add other ingredients.

      2. I concur with the Indian grocery recommendation -- you might even ask an employee if they can point you in the right direction. But my big rec. for this question is to take a Saturday some weekend (or really, you could do it in one ambitious night) and make Hetal and Anuja's Punjabi masala in bulk, portion it out and freeze it. Then on a weeknight you're minutes from seriously good Indian food.


        Works well with ANY sauce that doesn't have dairy. I've done it with korma too -- just make the sauce up to the "add vegetables" point and before the "add cream" point, then freeze in ziplock bags or ice cube trays.

        2 Replies
        1. re: LauraGrace

          Great idea here. I'm gonna try this next time I make a few dishes. What might be a drawback for me is that I LOVE the fact that each time I set out to make a gravy dish, they come out so differently each time. (I never follow recipes to a TEE. I just can't.)

          1. re: LauraGrace

            great video, thanks. I am definitely going to make some of this soon.

          2. There's an absolutely amazing upscale Indian restaurant in DC called Rasika and they have started canning their sauces. Not sure where you are, but they may ship to you.

            1. Maya Kaimal's sauces are good, but not worth the expensive price tag IMO when you can get Patak's for less with equal to or better results, especially the curry pastes (not the simmer sauces)

              1. Thanks everyone. I'm getting the sense that curry pastes and dry mixes are equally good, if not better alternatives to jarred sauces. I'll definitely check them out.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cheesemaestro

                  I do want to add, use the dry mixes and pastes but also add in some fresh ingredients whenever possible to enhance their flavor. whenever i use the dry mix, its just as a flavor enhancer not following the recipe completely on the packet. play around with it to suit your taste and that will be the best way to use them.

                2. No Indian markets where we live, so we're limited to what we can find at World Market, Fresh Market, and a couple of Thai grocery stores. Patak's isn't bad, but can seem a little heavy on the tomato sometimes. One of our default meals when no one feels like doing anything in the kitchen is Tiger Tiger's chicken tikka sauce, (World Market is a US distributor) chicken, rice.

                  Would stay away from the Shere Khan products. They reformulated last year and the new sauces are awful- lost all the flavor complexity in favor of making it sweeter and fattier.

                  1. although not as good as from scratch of course...but Walmart has a yellow curry powder that is great! it comes in a gold can (Watkins is the brand). Also target sells Tikka Masala sauce ina ajar from Archer Farms that is great in a pinch...

                    1. For years I've gone to Indian restaurants, ordered something like chicken tikka masala or chicken makhani, and been asked when I was done if I wanted to take the sauce (no chicken left) to go. (This always puzzled me - sauce to go?) Last time I did, and let me tell you it was a revelation! I heated it up, put some precooked chicken in there, and got three more meals out of it.

                      1. My own solution is Trader Joe's line of Indian Fare...use the pouched veggies or legumes as SAUCES...add sauted onion, garlic, meat, poultry, fish, shellfish...make fresh fragrent basmati rice, buy your naan or pita and have on hand hot pickled lemon condiment and chutney of choice. I make a nice raita to go with...getting hungry.

                        1. Only because the Kokoman Tikka Masala ad has been advertised here lately do I know about it, but has anyone tried it?

                          1. Try Mr. Kooks Cooking Sauces. They are Authentic Indian Cooking Sauces MADE IN USA. All you add is Cooked Vegetable or Meat and you are done. They sell through Kroger.