North Indian Dry Base




  • Active Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cooking Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins

A jumping-off point for various North Indian recipes.


  • 2tbspCanola Oil; or, Olive oil
  • 1tspCumin seeds
  • 1Onion; or, Heeng
  • 4Garlic
    (Cloves, diced)
  • 1Ginger
    (Inch piece, diced)
  • 1Green chilli
  • 1pinchSalt


  1. Dice the onions and set aside in a bowl. Dice the garlic, ginger and green chillies and combine in a second bowl.
  2. Add oil to a skillet on medium-high heat.
  3. Test the oil’s temperature by dropping a few cumin seeds into the oil. When the seeds sputter and pop, the oil is at the right temperature. The oil should not be hot enough to smoke!
  4. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds to the hot oil. They will almost immediately sputter, pop, brown and release their aroma. Cook for no more than 1 minute, ensuring  that the cumin seeds do not burn. [fn] If the cumin seeds do burn, discard and begin again as burnt cumin will make the whole dish taste acrid. [/fn] If using heeng instead of onion, add a pinch of heeng along with the cumin seeds.
  5. Add the onion into the skillet and saute until translucent.
  6. Add the garlic-ginger-green chilli mixture to the skillet with a pinch of salt and cook until you see and smell that the garlic has been cooked.
  7. Add other ingredients to the skillet as per recipe.

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