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+ servings

Buna masala

The basic Indian curry paste that makes the best of Indian vegetarian gravy is this curry paste.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Main Dish, Traditional
Cuisine Indian, instant pot, One pot, Pressure cooker
Servings 8 cups


  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups red onion ( chopped or minced based on the type of buna masala you want, check the post for details).
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger root
  • 4-5 medium green chilli
  • 2 tbsp garlic
  • 3 cups tomatoes ( chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder


  • Set a kadai or deep pan at medium heat.
  • Into a kadai or a deep pan add the oil followed by the cumin seeds.
  • As the cumin sizzles add peppercorns and bayleaf.
  • Follow this up with the garlic, ginger and chopped onions.
  • As the onions turn translucent and start to slightly brown add the tomatoes.
  • Mix well and let them cook together for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Mix again and add the salt, turmeric,red chilli powder coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder.
    buna masala spice mix.
  • Mix well and lower the heat to a simmer and let this cook till the oil seperates and the tomatoes are broken down.
    indian curry paste.
  • Mix well and cook down further till it becomes a paste-like consistency.
    buna masala curry paste.
  • The buna masala is now ready.
    Buna Masala - indian curry paste.
  • Cool the buna masala and transfer to storage jars or freezer-friendly pouches for easy meal prep.


I have used vine tomatoes to prepare this curry paste. The colour of the curry paste will vary based on the tomatoes you use. You can choose to peel the tomatoes or grind them to paste based on the texture you like.
For a spicier buna masala mix - Increase the green chillies or swap them from serrano to hotter peppers. To make it milder, use Kashmiri chilli powder and do not add any green chillies or peppercorns. 
Keyword Indian vegetarian dinner
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