What is Gravy/ gravy meaning

Gravy- Introduction

Definition of Gravy - 

In European context - gravy denotes a special type of sauce made from meat juices, collected after roasting. This gravy is very flavourful and thickened with roux, flour or cornstarch.

However in Indian context  - (gravy meaning)
Gravy refers to a semi liquid mixture of vegetables, spices, fat, water and some times nuts/cream/curd in which meat or vegetables are cooked and used as an accompaniment to moisten the rice or roti.

It provides a different taste, enriches the veg or non veg preparation and makes the dish more enjoyable. It is also known as curry and tari.
Most of the time the word curry and gravy used interchangeably and in broad sense denotes a moist and rich preparation. The word curry is derived from tamil word kaari, that literally mean sauce. It is thought that during British time the spelling was changed to curry.
Curry/Indian curry

There are different types of gravy. Click the link for basic indian gravies -

Basic indian gravies - Brown gravy, White gravy, Makhni gravy and Green gravy. For video of makhni gravy click this link -

There are number of gravies being prepared and used in India but there are some common points that should be followed while cooking gravies-

Cooking temperature-
One of the most important factors of cooking good gravy is the cooking temperature –
The fat should be heated to the right temperature and maintained at a steady heat until the spices have released their flavour.

Cooking Pan/Vessel
Selection of a right vessel is of utmost importance. It could be a kadhai, degchi, pan etc but the bottom of all these vessels should be that the temperature could be helps to cook the spices without burning.

Chopping of ingredients-
The chopping or the cutting of the vegetable should be uniform. In case of onions the finner is the onion is chopped the better it will blend into the sauce.
It is better to use the paste of onion, ginger and garlic that should be fried until the moisture has evaporated.

Cooking stages-
This is perhaps the most crucial of all. The timings for adding different ingredient is very important. It should be added in correct sequence. Some spice take only a few seconds to release their flavour, other need a few minutes to release its flavour.and if all the spices are added together (spice that take less cooking time together with those that need more, some will burn and some will remain uncooked. The simple way to avoid this to follow the sequence that is given in the recipe.

Thickening Agents
We don’t have any roux or cornflour for thickening the gravies. Generally the gravy attains the thickening from the onions, spices, cream, nut paste, tomatoe puree, Ground seeds such as poppy seeds, sesame seeds etc.these ingredients should be used in correct amount and at right stage.

Finishing the gravy
There are some gravies that should be finish with special spices at the end of the preparation. For example makhni gravy is finished with kasoori methi powder, white gravy is finished with javitri elachi powder. This helps to impart the required typical flavour to the dish.

Garnishing the gravy
Indian food is known for their taste and not for their presentations or garnishes. The gravy is very rich having appetizing flavour and smooth texture. This it itself appeals the eye. But we do have some of the traditional garnishes like- chopped coriander, cream. Ginger julienne, khoya, nuts, warque (metal foil) etc.while garnishing we should follow the basic rules as well as remember the traditional garnishes. 

Making a perfect gravy reqires a great deal of skills and imagination. The point discussed above is very decisive and if one is not following them, it reflects a lack of interest and imagination. Even simple fare can be made tasty and interesting with a slight variation of spices and flavour.

Though there are hundreds of gravies being prepared in India, but according to me there are some basic gravies that directly or indirectly becomes the base of the preparations. Click the link for basic indian gravies -

And for makhni gravy video click this link -

Enjoy these gravies...
Shakesh Singh 

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