Curry Diary 7/22/2013: Milestone Curry #3

Well the last time I made curry, I experimented with mixing the Maple Syrup into the roux, not the broth.  It changed the flavor, and got me thinking.  The roux is where the flavors really combine, so what else should go in there?

So this time, I added the cocoa powder to the roux.  Did it make a difference?  Yes, enough to call it a Milestone  It’s a more subtle improvement than I got from adding the Maple Syrup to the roux, but it is a definite improvement.


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, tomato sauce, soy sauce, maple syrup, cocoa powder, red pepper, and black pepper into the sauce.  Mmix thoroughly; I mash, fold, and mix until the color is consistent. (Note this is a change from the last version.  I mixed everything in at once to avoid a chance of burning the maple syrup, and found it was actually just easy period).
  3. Turn the heat to medium-low.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.  IMPORTANT NOTE: The cocoa powder also seems to make the Roux browner.
  6. Add the vegetable broth to the roux. Turn the heat up so the mixture boils mildly.
  7. 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.
  8. Stir regularly so it doesn’t adhere/burn.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

The result is definitely a richer flavor.  Now it’s not as significant a gain as when I added the maple syrup, but there’s a certain “extra” that definitely improves the taste.  It’s likely the roasting bringing out the cocoa flavor.

At this point I think the recipe as it is has kind of plateaued.  I’m not sure it’s quite there – it’s certainly good enough to serve to people, but I feel I can do better.  The taste can be a bit richer and more complex.  I’m thinking turmeric, a bit more cocoa powder, maybe try apple again but add it to the roux . . . suggestions welcome!

– 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