Chinese curry sauce is a dip favoured by many people to add flavour for finger food such as french fries. Some people like to use it to complement rice and noodles.
Whichever way you prefer your dip, this article explains all the ingredients you need to create this tasty condiment. We’ll also share a recipe that we like to help you make a delicious sauce. So here we go!
What is Chinese curry sauce made of?
The Chinese curry sauce is a thick dip created from curry powder, turmeric, a pinch of Chinese five spices, and a dash of fish or soy sauce.
You will see that many restaurants include cornstarch, cornflour or its substitute to thicken the gravy.
The best Chinese curry sauce is a mix of sweet and savoury. It’s a milder taste than most curries. The turmeric lends it an earthy, deep flavour, while other ingredients give it a subtle fiery kick.
It’s a unique combination that goes well with many foods as it enhances rather than overpowers your tastebuds.
History of Chinese Curry Sauce
It’s difficult to trace the origin, but the Chinese curry sauce is arguably not a traditional Asian food. Food critics online say that it is most likely a product of Western colonisation. As the Europeans migrated from the West to the East, they also brought their food preferences. This move led to a milder form of the gravy created.
It is theorised that the gravy made its way from British India in the 18th century back home, where it became a popular staple amongst Chinese restaurants.
However, there is also some evidence that Central Asia used turmeric and other spices in their cooking. Therefore, it may have travelled from that part of the world to Europe, where it became popular to eat with chips.
A serving of gravy has about 120 to 200 calories. However, this depends on the ingredients that go into making the sauce. By making it at home, you can adjust the calorie count to better fit your diet.
You should try making Chinese curry sauce from scratch as it is a very convenient dip that takes a maximum of ten minutes to create.
Also, making it at home means using fresh ingredients to make the dip. You have more control of the ingredients in the condiment, and you avoid any hidden preservatives. If you order as a Chinese take-out, you will not know how many days the dip has been in storage nor how the cooks made it.
In addition, if you have special dietary ingredients, you can keep that in mind when you create the condiment from scratch. For instance, those who eat gluten-free food can use gluten flour to thicken the dip. In this way, you can still stick to your diet and enjoy the meals you like!
The ready-made Chinese curry sauce is also easily available in stores if you do not feel like making it from scratch. Of course, the benefit is that you save time as you do not have to shop for ingredients or cook!
Other than that, manufacturers have adapted their products to suit a wide range of tastes and preferences. So when you buy ready-made, you should be able to find a brand that makes the dip to your liking.
Many professional chefs also use store-bought Chinese curry sauce to create dishes, which just goes to show how well ready-made condiments can be.
There are some top-rated brands such as Tesco, Mayflower and Goldfish you can find in most grocery shops. We think there are subtle differences amongst the three, so this comparison is relatively subjective. Ultimately, you have to experiment with different brands before finding the one you like. Based on reviews on the web, this is what we have compiled:
- More affordable compared to other brands
- Tastes closest to take-out at a restaurant
- Mild and creamy taste, many online reviews praise it
- Suitable for vegetarians
- Few reviews available
- Review claim it is a tad sweet
Sharwwods Chinese Curry
- Reviews claim it is spicy
- Suitable for vegetarians
Here are the Chinese curry sauce ingredients that you need to buy: curry powder, Chinese Five Spice Mix, soy sauce and cornstarch. Some people like to add chicken stock to thicken the dip into a broth. If you prefer a slightly sweeter version, go ahead and add fish sauce to the list.
You can also purchase ground ginger, garlic powder and butter. If you want a spicier dip, go ahead and buy chilli sauce as well.
You can also purchase actual chicken meat and potatoes for a denser flavour to add to your dip.
To make the dip vegan, substitute tamari for soy sauce when cooking Chinese curry sauce. You can also try other substitutes such as all-purpose flour, rice flour and even potato starch instead of corn starch. These flours will make the dip thicker and are vegan-friendly.
You can also add vegetable stock instead of chicken stock to make a vegan dip.
We also recommend using a mixture of cumin, coriander and turmeric instead of curry powder. Blending these ingredients will give you a similar taste. Try experimenting with nutmeg or cinnamon as well. It enhances the earthy flavour of the condiment and makes your spice blend sing.
To cook Chinese Curry sauce perfectly, you need to follow these tips. First, avoid adding too much water to thin out the gravy. The gravy is meant to be thick and runny so that you can drip it all over your main meal! Let the dip sit for a while when you have cooked it. It will start to thicken as it cools. Only add water if you prefer a watery consistency.
When you are cooking your gravy in a heated wok, keep stirring it and scrape the sides of the pan as it starts to cool gradually. That way, it will not stick to your pan.
Another tip is to keep your hair covered when cooking the condiment. Unless you want to smell like take-out food, follow our advice! The greasy cooking scent is not too bad when you’re hungry, but if you’re heading out after, it’s pretty off-putting.
How to Serve
Here are some ways you can serve your Chinese curry sauce. Most people in the UK like to eat it as a dip for their thick-cut fries. The saltiness of the chips layered with the deep-fried goodness of fries is always a good Sunday treat. Down it with a glass of ice-cold beer, and you’re all set. Here’s how to make salt and pepper chips.
You can also serve it over rice. Stir fry some vegetables, pour the gravy over it, and you have a satisfying meal ahead!
Last but not least, open a packet of chow mein and drizzle the gravy over it. The lush goodness of Chinese curry sauce makes the noodles extra-slurpy!
How to Store
You can keep it sealed in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag to store Chinese curry sauce. Then, leave it in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you are ready to cook, thaw it at a lower temperature.
If you cook batches of it, you can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Just ensure that the gravy is stored in a dry, cool place. Reheat when you are ready to cook.
Chinese Curry Sauce Recipe | Chinese Chips and Curry
- 8 teaspoons cornflour
- 2 ½ teaspoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground garlic
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 4 ½ teaspoons light soy sauce
- ½ cup chicken broth divided
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 onion sliced
- 2 potatoes peeled, halved, and sliced
- Mix the curry powder, Chinese five-spice powder, ground ginger and garlic in a bowl. Add in half portion of the cornflour and mix thoroughly.
- Heat a wok or large skillet before pouring in the oil. Let the oil heat until shimmering. Add the dry mixture into the hot oil. Continue to stir the mixture until the fragrance of the spices come out.
- Then, add in soy sauce and chicken broth. Stir in the onion and potatoes. Let the sauce come to a boil before reducing heat. Add the other half of the cornflour, sugar and salt.
- Let the mixture simmer on medium heat for a while. Finally, let it cool and serve immediately with chips or as desired. Enjoy!
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimate.
The Teesside Chef has a detailed video recipe on making your own homemade curry sauce that we recommend you check out. He uses a combination of curry powder, turmeric, Chinese five-spice, chilli powder, cumin and more to create the sauce.
We hope you enjoyed making Chinese curry sauce. It’s effortless to cook, and you can use it for many purposes. If sauces are your thing, check out our Cantonese sauce recipe. For more of these recipes, follow us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks.