This is a sauce from the Gurkha people in Nepal, who are famed for their courage and tenacity. Trekking through the Himalayas, trudging up to 4800 metres (16,000 feet), also made me realise how resilient they are, as we were passed in both directions by the same Ghurka speeding up and down the mountain, delivering everything from beer to beds up to base camp, so we could enjoy pizza and beer among the highest peaks in the world.
Try this aromatic sauce with anything from grilled eggplant (aubergine) to Paneer cheese.
Place all the masala paste ingredients in a food processor and blend until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.
Heat the rice bran oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cumin seeds, cardamom pods and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is golden brown.
Add the masala paste and tomatoes and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring lightly to stop the sauce sticking to the bottom; you will see the oil slowly rising to the surface.
At this stage, carefully stir in
Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon sticks, then blend the sauce using a hand-held stick blender. Stir in the yoghurt until well combined.
Spoon into hot sterilised jars, seal and refrigerate. The sauce will keep in the fridge for 1–2 weeks.
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