Bhuna Masala Recipe | Everyday Indian Curry Paste

by Rachna

Bhuna masala is the base of a lot of Indian curries. If you enjoy Indian cooking then having bhuna masala at hand can be incredibly useful. You can create almost all kinds of Indian curries with this starting point. As you are aware, meal planning is an incredible tool towards eating healthy and wholesome.

Additional Reading: 7 Reasons why Your Should Start Meal Planning Today

In order to plan for your week ahead, meal planning and grocery shopping according to it is an excellent starting point. Then comes meal prepping based on what you plan to cook. As I eat a lot of Indian food through the week, I generally make a generous batch of Indian curry base over the weekend that makes my work of churning delicious curries super easy.

How to Store Bhuna Masala

The Indian curry base can easily stay in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Beyond that time, it helps to freeze the base and then it will stay for 3 months easily. I generally make curry base that lasts me a week or two.

When freezing, I store in 1.5 cup serves because that is the amount of base I use for my family of 4 at a single time.

What are the basics of Bhuna Masalal?

Bhuna masala is the cooked paste of onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies and tomatoes sautéed in oil till they are well cooked. We also add spices like turmeric, cayenne or paprika for colour and salt for preservation and taste. I like to add cumin as well. This thick base is then used to make vegan, vegetarian or non-vegetarian Indian curries.

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Here’s my easy recipe to make bhuna masala or every day Indian curry base:

Bhuna Masala Recipe | Indian curry base

Rachna Parmar
This is the recipe of Indian curry base or bhuna masala that will let you make Indian curries in a jiffy. It is perfect while meal prepping.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course | Curry
Cuisine Indian
Servings 8 cups
Calories 175 kcal


  • 750 gm. onion or 5 cups
  • 4 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 5 green chillies or as per taste
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 Kg. tomatoes or 4 cups chopped
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne
  • 1 tbsp. salt


  • Blend together onions and green chillies into a paste. Blend together ginger and garlic into a paste. And blend together tomatoes to a paste and keep aside. Make sure not to use any water or just minimal water.
  • Heat oil in a wide pan. Add cumin seeds and allow to sputter. Now add in the onion paste, ginger garlic paste and mix well. It will start sputtering in some time so you can use a cover. Keep stirring and cook for about 20 minutes on low to medium flame making sure that you stir often.
  • Cook well till the raw smell goes, the mixture looks darker and glossier. You will also see oil coming out from the sides.
  • Now add tomato paste, turmeric powder, cayenne or paprika and salt. Mix well and cook some more, say 20-25 minutes. Yes, the curry paste really needs to cook out. Keep the flame low or medium low. Stir regularly and keep covered.
  • Once done, you will have thick curry paste that smells like curry and you can see the oil coming out from the sides.
  • Your bhuna masala is ready. Cool it down and then store in the fridge or in single serves you can freeze to thaw later and use.


  • This bhuna masala is slightly spicy. You can modify the heat as per your taste.
  • Using chilli powder gives it a vibrant red colour.
  • Turmeric and salt along with oil help in preserving it well. Store in airtight jars.
  • I peel onions and immerse them in water for 10 minutes. Then I roughly chop them. That reduces the tear-inducing quality when cooking out.
  • You can easily halve or double the recipe.


Nutrition Facts
Bhuna Masala Recipe | Indian curry base
Amount Per Serving
Calories 175 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Sodium 726mg32%
Potassium 223mg6%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 792IU16%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 41mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let me know on Instagram @rachna.parmar or tag #rachnacooks
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How to Make Indian curry paste with stepwise Pictures

Peel and chop onions roughly. Immerse them in water for 10 minutes.

bhuna masala

Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and allow to sputter.

Add blended paste of onion and green chillies along with ginger-garlic paste and mix well.

indian curry base

Cook on low to medium flame for 20 minutes till the base is well cooked and brown. You will see that the raw smell goes away.

bhuna masala

Add tomato puree along with cayenne, turmeric powder and salt. Cook for 20-25 minutes more till the paste is well cooked and most of the water has evaporated.

indian curry base

Your curry base is done when oil starts separating from the masala. Cool down the bhuna masala and store in the fridge for later use.

If you liked this recipe, I request you to leave a star * rating. Thanks.

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Homemade garam masala powder

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