Curry Masala Sauce

Curry Masala Sauce

When you are preparing your dinner, start with a delicious vegan Indian sauce. This is the vehicle that brings the flavor to any Indian meal. An Indian curry is a sauce that starts with a traditional trio of alliums and roots—onion, ginger, and garlic. To get the most impact from your masala base, take the time to roast the onion and garlic. This brings out the essence and a deeper flavor profile of these potent alliums.

That base is built up with power punches of flavor using spices. Start with fresh and whole seeds for your spices when at all possible. Grind using a mortar and pestle or a clean coffee bean grinder to handle this simple but complex trio of spices—turmeric, cumin, and coriander.

At this point, your onions, garlic, and ginger are cooked down with the spices. By toasting the spices and heating them with the vegetable base, you can typically activate their full health benefits. Just be wary of burning your spices as this can happen quickly.

As you start to smell the fragrance in full force, it is time to topple in fresh or the best brand of canned tomatoes to juice up the curry. This stops the spices from hitting the direct heat and adds the creamy concoction that carries the flavor of the curry.

Tips for Making a Creamy Vegan Curry Base

Make this Indian curry masala base in bulk or reduce it down into a curry masala paste if you want to save time. That way you can store the masala base for use over a longer time frame.

This plant-based curry masala paste from scratch will store successfully:

In the refrigerator for up to 7 days

In the freezer for up to 3 months

One recipe for a family of four will use approximately 3/4 cup of the vegan masala. Store your masala sauce so that you can easily grab just enough without wasting excess. Also, store in a proper freezer-safe container and cover the top of the sauce directly with freezer paper.

How to Use the Plant-Based Base

When you are ready to use the Indian curry masala base, blend 2 to 3 tablespoons of masala sauce with 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water or plant-based milk or vegetable broth. Coconut milk is a popular milk of choice for curry, but you can also use cashew milk or macadamia nut milk for an equally rich dairy-free option for a creamy curry.

Mix the curry sauce with sauteed veggies, cooked beans, or crispy tofu. Let simmer for 15 minutes or until the additional items have started to pick up the sauce. Serve immediately.

This curry masala sauce can be used in many Veggiecurean recipes — Black-Eyed Pea Curry, or Curried Kidney Beans & BasmatiKala Chana (Curried Black Chickpeas), and more, all of which are my family favorites!  

Curry Masala Sauce

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Servings: 3 cups


  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 6 medium onions (chopped, pureed in blender)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (grated)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (peeled, grated)
  • 6 medium tomatoes (chopped, pureed in blender)
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)


  1. In a large pan, heat olive oil on medium heat, then add cumin seeds and wait until they start sputtering.

  2. Add onion puree and cook until it's golden brown (about 15 minutes).

  3. Add the garlic and ginger, and saute for 2-3 minutes.

  4. Add the pureed tomatoes, turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and salt, and cook on high heat while stirring continuously for 2 minutes.

  5. Reduce the flame to simmer and cook for another 20-25 minutes with the lid on, then serve or store.

Bon appétit!

Recipe Notes

  • If I'm making this curry masala in bulk I use a large pan or a wok, but if I'm making a small batch and using it right away I use an Instapot.
  • This recipe makes approximately 3 cups of masala, but you can easily half or double the recipe!