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The Ultimate Campervan Curry Base

10 Ingredients or less - Leftovers - One-pan - Prep ahead - Quick cook

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Vanlife Eatshttps://vanlifeeats.com
Two passionate Vanlife cooks and the creators of Vanlife Eats.

This campervan curry lesson is a must know recipe for any vanlife curry lover. This is the magic key to unlocking over 100 Indian recipes – a robust, aromatic curry base.

Are you making the mistake of overpowering your curries with spice? The balance of spice is crucial to making your curry taste nice. Dont mask the flavour of onion, garlic, tomato and ginger with too much spice, you need to learn the balance to let every ingredient burst in layers of flavour.

This is a perfect recipe for campervan cooking and dont miss the vanlife hack!

The balance of spice – Cumin, Coriander, Turmeric, and Chilli

Let’s start with the backbone of this campervan curry base – the four essential spices: cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chilli. These aren’t just spices; they’re the layers of flavor that define many North Indian dishes.


Cumin brings a warm, earthy tone that’s unmistakable. It’s like the bass in your favorite track – you know when it’s there, and you miss it when it’s not.


Coriander, often used in its ground form, offers a sweet, citrusy zing. It’s like adding a fresh perspective to a familiar scene.


Turmeric is the unsung hero, providing a mild, bitter flavor and a vibrant yellow color. It’s like sunshine in a bottle, brightening up any dish.


Lastly, chilli. It’s all about personal preference here. Want a mild base? Go easy. If you’re like me and love a bit of adventure, turn up the heat!

North Indian Food vs South Indian Food

Before we share the recipe, let’s understand its roots. Northern Indian cooking, where this curry base is most at home, often features thick, moderately spicy curries and a lot of breads like naans and rotis. In contrast, Southern Indian cuisine is known for its hotter, rice-based dishes with an abundance of seafood.

Naan Bread

It doesnt always have to be rice and in Northenr India you would eat a curry with a bread instead. Here is a link to our flat bread recipe that we made at the AMAZING festival Camp Quirky.

Question For You..

What is your favoute curry? We will make it! Let us know in the comments 🙂

campervan curry

Best Indian Curry Paste – 1 paste for 100 curry recipes

vanlifeeatsVanlife Eats
Vegan, Vegetarian
This simple curry paste recipe is perfect for campervan cooking. It is made with a few basic ingredients that can be easily stored and transported. The paste can be used to make a variety of Indian dishes, such as curries, stir-fries, and soups.
This recipe makes 4 batches of curry paste to be frozen and stored. Each batch is a per person measurement. ie. If you are making a curry for 2 people use 2 batches.
5 from 1 vote
10 Ingredients or less – Leftovers – One-pan – Prep ahead – Quick cook
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dips / Sauces
Servings 4 Batches (per person)
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian


  • 1 Blender Optional. We use our Zyliss Easy Pull
  • 1 Large Ice Cube Container Or small containers to batch freeze


  • 2 Red Onion Medium
  • 4 tbsp Passata Medium
  • 2 Garlic Clove
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ginger
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin Powder
  • 2 tbsp Oil Any of your choice
  • 2 tbsp Corriander Powder



  • Finely chop your red onion. The finer you can chop the better. Alternatively this can be pureed or blitzed in a blender. We use our Zyliss easy pull.
  • Finely chop your tomatoes. As above, the finer the better and use the blender if preffered.
  • Combine and finely chop the garlic and ginger. Use a splash of water to blend/chop/mash into a paste.


  • Add a splash of oil of your choice to a good quality pan. (not a cheap thin based pan!) We like to use Ghee. Heat to a medium heat.
  • Add the onion paste along with the ginger and garlic paste. Mix well for about 3-4 minutes until it starts to lightly brown.
  • Add 1 tbsp of corriander powder, 1/2 tbsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp tummeric powder and 1 tsp of red chilli powder. Mix well and cook for about 1 minute and add a splash of water to loosen it up.
  • Add the 2 tbsp of passata and give everything a good mix and cook for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  • Take off the pan and make sure the paste cools thoroughly before decanting into large ice cube containers and then frozen.
  • Use a base for just about any type of curry you choose.



Calories: 110kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.03gSodium: 27mgPotassium: 249mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 398IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Curry, Paste
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