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How to thicken curry gravy?

Ground onions and coriander powder are key to thickening gravy

In Chinese cooking a slurry of corn starch and water is used as a thickener. In American cooking, the flour is most common item used as a thickener. The secret of thick curry gravy in India is ground onions and the dried coriander seed powder. Coriander powder acts like an emulsifier keeping the onion particles suspended in gravy. In tomato based curries, ground tomatoes add to the body. In Korma, ground almonds and cashews make creamy thick sauces. For other creamed sauces, whipping cream, yogurt, and milk of coconut are added. Also see: How to extend curry gravy?


Corn Starch

You can make the slurry (thin paste) of corn starch (1 Tablespoon corn starch to 4 Tablespoon of water) and add to curry after the cooking is near complete. The curry must again come to a full boil to properly thicken. Making slurry prevents formation of lumps.

The citric acids such as lime juice in the gravy will need twice as much corn starch.

Over cooking the gravy will lose the thickness. The slurry should always be added near the end of cooking.

The corn starch does add to after taste, and is not stable for leftovers when re-heated.

1 Tablespoon of corn starch will thicken 1 Cup of curry liquid.


All purpose flour (Maida)

Blend 2 Tablespoons of Maida with 2 Table spoons of cooking fat (Ghee, oil, or butter). Blending will prevent formation of lumps. Heat a pan to low, add the blended Maida. Cook till it starts to turn brown. Add a cup of broth from the curry. Mix well. Return to curry. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 4 to five minutes.

2 Tablespoons of Maida will thicken 1 Cup of curry liquid.



Arrowroot is used in the same fashion as corn starch. It is more stable than corn starch without any after taste. Neutral taste does not hinder with Curry spice aroma. 1 Tablespoon of arrowroot will thicken 1 Cup of curry liquid.


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