Simple Curry Sauce

When we go out for Thai food, the routine is usually this: I get pad thai, Dan gets curry, and we trade a few bites. Since we only go out for dinner occasionally, we usually don’t want to pass up the opportunity to have one of our favorites, and therefore don’t try something new.


Then again, I hadn’t figured out how to recreate one of our regular Thai dishes at home. Until now. For months, I’ve been trying to find a good curry recipe, and I finally hit on one last week.

This curry sauce is simple and flexible and flavorful. In other words, it may be a new go-to dish.

Next up? Pad thai. Maybe if I perfect both recipes, we’ll start experimenting with our menu choices when we’re out for Thai!


Simple Curry Sauce

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup water
1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about three minutes. Reduce the heat to low.

Add the flour, curry powder, saffron, cumin and ground ginger. Stir until thickened and well-mixed, about two minutes.

Add the milk, water and lemon juice. Cover and bring to a simmer.

Remove the cover and allow to simmer for 8-15 minutes, or until thickened. Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Serve over a combination of rice, potatoes, vegetables, tofu and/or meat.

Savvy Tip: Leftover curry sauce is delicious when mixed into some scrambled eggs!

Are you a curry fan? What would you eat the sauce over?


  1. says

    Okay. I’ve got to be honest with you: I’ve never tried curry before (much less attempted to make it at home!) This looks delicious & I’m excited to give it a try and ‘expand my horizons’ 🙂

  2. says

    I think we might be the same people. When we go out for Thai food, it is the exact same story. I definitely need to try this, and I’m looking forward to your Pad Thai recipe!! 🙂

  3. says

    I LOVE curries, and love making them at home. But I ought to try a homemade recipe like this, since I usually stick to the little cans of Thai curry, and just add coconut milk.

    I made Pad Thai just last week, and loaded it with veggies and eggs, and stirred in cooked rice noodles at the end. Easy and delicious.

      • says

        I don’t have a set recipe for pad thai, which I sometimes make with a homemade sauce, but this one was with a peanut sauce packet I had from a local Asian grocery. I basically sauteed scallions, brocolli, mushrooms, and green peas in organic canola oil, added the sauce (sorry, I don’t remember the brand) and one can of coconut milk, and at the end, cooked in two eggs and a package of cooked rice noodles.

        I’ll let you know if I make a homemade sauce anytime soon, or I’ll share it on my blog.

  4. says

    I am SUCH a curry fan! I love that you made your own at home, cuz I’m starring this one for the future. I have also thrown in plain yogurt to try and make my curry more creamy, but I like your idea of using flour. Your picture made me crave indian food!! 🙂

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      The coconut milk helps make it creamy too, but I bet a little yogurt stirred in at the very end would make this even creamier

  5. says

    1) I am making this next week.

    2) Brian and I have been pretty happy with Martha Stewart’s Vegetable Pad Thai. I’d link to the recipe, but her site seems to be down.

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      I’ll have to look that one up! Let me know how you like the sauce when you make it!

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      Ooo, that would be good! We mixed it into pumpkin soup last night, which was also awesome.

  6. Jenn says

    I love curries too but have never tried making it at home. I could try this one but, my husband doesn’t like yellow curry. Could I substitute a red or green curry?

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      Probably, but I don’t know how you’d make it red or green. Mine is yellow because that’s the color of the curry powder I used…

      • Jenn says

        Oh there are red and green curries in the market. I just can’t remember their flavor profiles. But, I know they taste different then the yellow curry.

  7. says

    i want pad thai. and sushi. and mini-corn dogs dipped in a variety of condiments.

    what can i say, i like variety.

    and i’m hungry.

  8. says

    This was soooooo bland! It did not taste like curry at all. Worse curry recipe I have ever used. Will not make this again.