Curry Diary 6/6/2013: Milestone Curry #1

So my last post on curry was on a very basic recipe. This is my “milestone” curry, a curry that’s more than average, one I’m rather pleased with. It’s not perfect, but it definitely is satisfying and has personality.

The secret to this is:

  1. Extra tomato paste for the unique flavor of tomato, and a bit of thickening.
  2. Maple syrup, for its richness and sweetness.
  3. Cocoa powder for its unique richness and earthy bitterness.


Makes 3 servings or so.

  • 4 tablespoons butter or spread.
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder. (S&B curry preferably)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste.
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp garlic
  • 3 cups vegetable broth OR replacement broth below
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp coaco powder
  1. Melt the spread over low heat in a pot of your choice.
  2. When the spread is melted, stir in the flour and curry powder. Mix thoroughly – it’ll form a kind of loose “cake.” This is the start of the roux.
  3. Mix the tomato sauce and soy sauce into the roux. Again mix thoroughly; I mash, fold, and mix until the color is consistent.
  4. Add the red and black pepper to the roux, mix thoroughly.
  5. Turn the heat to medium-low.
  6. Now, you want to brown the roux, and there’s a bit of an art to it. What I do is let it cook like a pancake, about 20-45 second until one side browns, then mix it up, fold it into a “pancake” and let it cool again. You may have to play with the heat, but the goal is to basically brown it/fry it slowly. This is needed to develop the flavors.
  7. Eventually it will get crumbly and crack – and you’ll see it visibly brown when it’s let to sit. At that point, it’s time to add the vegetable broth.
  8. Add the vegetable broth to the roux, followed by the maple syrup and cocoa powder. Turn the heat up so the mixture boils mildly.
  9. With a whisk, mix the broth and roux. It also helps to use a spatula to crush chunks of roux against the side of the pan. This can take a bit of effort. In general while mixing, I moderate the heat to get the mild boil.
  10. Stir regularly so it doesn’t adhere/burn.
  11. I wait until the sauce thickets – it reduces by about a fifth. The key I use is when it’s not “boiling” but has the bubbly “bloops” of a thicker sauce. This can take awhile.
  12. Serve or put in freezer containers.

Also if you don’t purchase vegetable broth a lot, here’s a decent substitute – but this only works for this recipe.

  • 3 cups water.
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp thyme, ground
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dill weed, ground

Now again, I don’t think this is a perfect curry. It’s a milestone as I noted, but a good one. The maple syrup and cocoa add a kind of depth and richness that’s really enjoyable.  It’s a good place for me to go further – which I intend to . . .

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at