Secret to takeaway curry


It's become something of a quest for me to find a curry recipe that tastes like the curry you get from an Indian Takeaway. I'm getting close with the consistency, but can't get the taste right.

I won't list the various and numerous things that I've tried, but most of the variations that I've tried include:

tomatoes (I've tried fresh, tinned and purée), onion, yoghurt (although this doesn't seem to affect the flavour, so I stopped using it), cumin (tried seeds and ground), mustard seeds, coriander (fresh and ground), ginger (fresh and ground), fenugreek (fresh and ground), garam masala.

I'm pretty sure that I'm missing one or two ingredients that restaurants and takeaways use as a matter of course, but I haven't been able to find it. Can anyone point me in the right direction?


I didn't realise that they differ, but I'm in the UK – so that's the takeaway I'm referring to.

I appreciate curry's vary in taste, but there seems to be an underlying taste to all the tomato based ones. For the purpose of clarity, I'm trying to make a Rogan Josh.

Here's a sample of the sort of thing that I've been trying:

  • 4 – 5 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 1 lb Diced Lamb
  • 2 – 3 Garlic cloves crushed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of Garam Masalla
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 inch root ginger grated
  • Oil

Slowly heat the mustard and cumin seeds until the pop, then add the onions and garlic and fry gently until soft.
Add the meat and up the heat to cook. After about 10 mins add the other ingredients and leave for an hour or until the tomatoes have turned into sauce.

Another thing that I've tried is puréeing the garlic, spices, tomatoes and ginger and adding that after the onions are cooked. This helps with the consistency, but doesn't really affect the taste.


The best single answer that I had to this was cream. However, cloves did also make a difference. I still haven't managed to get the takeaway flavour, but thanks for all the suggestions.

Best Answer

If the English curry is similar to this, you are missing CREAM!

Bowl of curry