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biryani gravy

I already made the raita, cilantro chutney, sweet/sour tomato chutney. Now, Mr Pine wants a "watery gravy"--but not rasam or sambar.

Recipes on-line have thicker gravies, which I could, of course, thin down. Recommendations? (Sadly, don't have time to make a run to the Indian grocer for fresh curry leaves, ginger-chili-garlic pastes--I usually make those myself, anyway. Do have basic Indian spices.)

Help. And gracias.

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  1. You could always make a thicker Dal.
    Does Mr. what to put it on your hard fought Biriyani?! I would think some boiled rice would do for that.

    1. As in a thin gravy to serve alongside some Biriyani? I make this when I need a thin gravy to dip roti canai or murtabak in. South indian restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia also serve this type of gravy with biryani too.

      Just blend a small onion with a small tomato and a green chilli. Add in a couple peeled garlic cloves and a small piece of ginger if you have them. Heat some oil, add in some fennel seed, half stick of cinnamon and a couple of cracked cardamom pods. Then add your onion purée. I add curry eaves at this point but i know you said you don't have any on hand. Fry until the onions are nicely browned - it'll take a good 20 minutes. Make sure you dont let the onions burn - add a touch if water if they are sticking too much to the pan. Add in a little turmeric, a little cumin powder, and a good spoon of coriander powder. Then add in some red chilli powder - we like spicy, so I tend to amp it up a bit. Fry for another minute, then add in a 2-3 cups of water. Add salt, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes or so. Uncover and reduce to the thickness you want. Adjust your seasoning and serve with biryani, roti canai or any other indian rice or bread.

      10 Replies
      1. re: boogiebaby

        Terrific, thanks. Sounds similar to the base I start with for many curry recipes, but would work well for what Mr P wants, too.

        We had a friend from Kerala who poured about 1 cup of buttermilk over his biryani...Mr P definitely doesn't want to do that!

        1. re: pine time

          Yes, it's basically like a thin curry without meat.

          1. re: boogiebaby

            Thanks, again, boogiebaby, it worked out fine. Plus, made me root through my Indian spices--found an ancient box of dried curried leaves, which I promptly threw away. They were vile when first-bought--can't imagine how dusty they'd have been by now. My red chile powder was suspect, too, so I ground a few of my home-grown/home-dried ghost peppers, which amped up the heat just right.
            P.S. Have added "curry plant" to my list of plant-this-year-in-the-garden stuff. However, an Indian friend swears "curry leaves" are from a tree (not the little bushy plant the nursery sells) he grows--opinions? I'll do some research on the botanical names.

            1. re: pine time

              Your friend is right. South Asian curry leaves are from the tree Murraya koenigii. It's not huge, as trees go, but nor is it at all houseplant-sized.

              I'm not sure where the "curry plant" you're thinking of comes from, but while it does smell sort of like generic curry powder, I've never heard of it being used in cooking anywhere. For that matter, I'm not sure it's even edible.

              1. re: MikeG

                Curry plant (Helichrysum italicum) isnt generally used in cooking. Lovely decorative plant, though - best grown where you'll brush past it to get the smell.

                1. re: Harters

                  Thanks, Harters and MikeG: the friend's tree is maybe 6 ft tall and not big around--the leaves had the distinctive flavor I associate with curry leaves. That little plant at the nursery did have a fragrance, but hardly any flavor. Guess we'll consider the tree, since we have the space to grow it.

                    1. re: pine time

                      I have 2 plants, each about 4 feet tall. They are actually 2 different varieties - one is dark green leaves with a stronger smell. The other is a slightly brighter green, with bigger leaves and the scent is not as strong as the other plant. I grow them each in a big planter, like 3 feet deep. Curry leaf plants need a deep place to grow as they grow deep roots. My dad started them from seed, and I brought them home when they were about 4" tall. In the fall, I cut them down to the single trunk - it helps it grow stronger and bigger in the spring. They are both already sprouting new leaves, albeit small. When I cut the tops off, I wash and freeze the stalks of leaves to use while the leaves are regrowing on the plants. (Tip: use your salad spinner to spin off excess water, then lay out to dry on a clean towel).

                2. re: pine time

                  I am currently growing a curry leaf tree. There was a discussion about the right plant in that coriander chicken thread that was active a few days ago. My plant started at 4 inches and 9 months later is just over a foot. I am excited to see how much it grows this spring. I have mine in a pot and brought it inside for the winter. I ordered mine online, I think from horizon herbs.

            2. re: boogiebaby

              A thinnish vegetarian gravy is what always comes with restaurant biryani in my experience. boogiebaby's recipe sounds pretty much on the money.