This Masala Onion Gravy is a lightly spiced take on the classic onion gravy. It pairs spices used within Indian cooking with sweet onions.
I have to be honest, I think gravy only makes an appearance in my house once a year. Normally during Christmas and that’s when we lather it across our Christmas dinner.
And I think that’s why I choose to make this homemade gravy just a little bit more special. If it’s only there once a year, it might as well be worth it.
Masala Onion Gravy
This takes a classic onion gravy and pairs it with a little bit of spicing that’s used in Indian cooking. I’d say it’s lightly spiced, balanced, and fragrant.
It still tastes like an onion gravy, albeit with an edge. The best bit is that this onion gravy is made entirely from scratch, which means you can control and adapt the flavour however you like. It also tastes far, far better than the granules (sorry gravy granule fiends).
What is onion gravy?
Onion gravy is quite a quintessential component of a British roast. Although from my understanding, it’s also just as popular across the pond in the United States.
It’s made from a base of sweet caramelised onions along with herbs, aromatics, and stock. It turns into this gloriously smooth and velvety deep brown sauce. The gravy utilises flour to make a roux which acts as the thickening agent, similarly to a French béchamel sauce.
Why it’s worth making onion gravy from scratch
By making gravy from scratch, you get complete control over the flavour and the consistency. And that really does make a huge difference. Especially when it’s such a prominent component on the plate.
The gravy is something that goes on every bit of food on the plate. It also ties all the components together, so it’s absolutely worth the small amount of effort to make it from scratch.
It’s also just so much better than the pre-made granules.
We’re pairing Indian spices with a classic gravy
We’re taking a slightly different route away from the traditional onion gravy here. By adding in a few whole spices used in Indian cooking, it transforms the gravy entirely.
You end up with more depth, more richness, more flavour, and more fragrance. The aim here is for the spices to play a background note when it comes to the flavour. We want the sweet caramelised onions to be the more forward facing flavour.
Masala Onion Gravy serving suggestions
This masala onion gravy can be paired with your classic roasts, with mashed potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, and so much more. I like to serve it with some of the recipes from my blog:
- Samosa Wellington – it pairs beautifully with this wellington. One of the best combinations, in my opinion
- Vegetable Pithiviers – the flaky pastry and medley of vegetables calls for a fragrant and aromatic gravy
- Mushroom Wellington – this umami-rich mushroom wellington goes incredibly well with a classic onion gravy, but even better with this Masala Onion Gravy
Let’s talk about some of the ingredients
I’ll cover the main ones below but the full recipe can be found at the end
- Red onion – you could use any onion, but I find red works the best as it’s sweeter and sharper
- Whole spices – we’re using a mixture of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon/cassia, and black cardamom
- Herbs – for an onion gravy, I love adding thyme and bay leaves. You could add rosemary if you like
- Stock – stocks adds more flavour and more depth. I’ll share my favourite brands of stock below
- Soy sauce – we’re using a mixture of light and dark soy sauces for umami, colour, and seasoning
- Balsamic vinegar – adds another layer of sweetness
- Garam masala – this is a ground mixture of roasted spices and we only need a very small amount here. It’s great for adding depth and aroma
The KEY tips for making this Masala Onion Gravy
- Slow and low caramelisation – low heat and slow caramelisation adds more flavour and intensifies the sweetness of the onions
- Add the stock gradually and keep whisking – this will allow for a smoother finish and prevent lumps of flour from forming
How to make Masala Onion Gravy
1) Start by melting the butter in a saucepan
2) Then add all of the whole spices
3) Temper the whole spices for around 2-3 minutes or until fragrant
4) Add in the sliced red onion, lightly smashed garlic clove, and season with a pinch of salt. The salt will help draw out the moisture from the onions so that they can caramelise
5) Sauté the onions over a low to medium-low heat, they’ll slowly start to caramelise like 6)
7+8) Once caramelised, add both of the soy sauces and the balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook for around 1-2 minutes to cook off the acidity from the vinegar
9) Then add the flour and mix in well. Continue to cook for a further minute to take out the rawness from the flour
10) Next, add in the sprigs of thyme. Or you can use any herbs that you like
11+12) Gradually add the vegetable stock 200ml at a time, and whisk well between each addition
13+14) Once all the stock has been added in, add the garam masala and mix continuously over a medium heat until it reaches your desired consistency. Switch to a whisk every now and again just to ensure the gravy stays lump free
15) Finish by passing the gravy through a sieve
16) You can keep the gravy warm over a low heat
Frequently asked questions
Can this Masala Onion Gravy be made vegan?
Yes, substitute the butter for a plant based alternative. That will work perfectly.
If you enjoyed this recipe
Please do let me know! Leave a review and a rating below, I’d love to know how you got on.
Until then, happy cooking!
- 2tbsp butter
- 5tbsp plain flour/all purpose flour
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, lightly bashed open
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 1tsp coriander seeds
- 1 stick cinnamon/cassia bark
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1l vegetable stock
- 1tbsp light soy sauce
- 1tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Pinch of garam masala
- Start by melting the butter in a saucepan over a medium low heat
- Then add the bay leaves as well as the whole spices (cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon/cassia, and the black cardamom)
- Temper the whole spices in the butter for around 2 minutes or until fragrant. The cumin seeds should be crackling, but keep an eye to make sure the spices don't burn
- Next, add in the sliced red onion and the lightly smashed garlic clove. Season with a pinch of salt, the salt will help to draw out the moisture from the onions so that the caramelisation process can start more readily.
- Sauté the onions over a low to medium-low heat, stirring them every 30 seconds or so. They'll take around 12-15 minutes to start caramelising
- Once caramelised, add both of the soy sauces and the balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook for around 1-2 minutes to cook off the acidity from the vinegar
- Then add the flour and mix in well. Continue to cook for a further minute to take out the rawness from the flour
- Next, add in the sprigs of thyme (or any other herbs that you like in your gravy) and gradually add the vegetable stock 200ml at a time. Whisk well between each addition to ensure no lumps of flour are forming, this will help to get a smooth consistency for the gravy
- Once all the stock has been added in, add the garam masala and mix continuously over a medium heat heat until it reaches your desired consistency. Switch to a whisk every now and again just to ensure the gravy stays lump free. Once it starts to thicken, it will thicken fairly quickly so it's worth not taking your eye off of it.
- If you like a smooth gravy, then finish by passing it through a sieve. However if you prefer a chunky gravy, you could absolutely skip this step. It's also worth checking the seasoning at this stage incase you need any more salt. The stock and soy sauce added the perfect amount of seasoning for me so no additional salt was required
- Best served immediately, however the gravy can be kept warm over a low heat if desired
To reheat the gravy, simply place back on a medium-low heat and whisk thoroughly. It will thicken up as it cools but will return to its original consistency once heated and whisked.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 162Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 10mgSodium 831mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 4g
This is an automated calculation and hence may not be entirely accurate.