Side Gravy for Biryani



Most restaurants serve a  free side gravy as accompaniment for biryani which taste  ridiculously amazing.. We usually get these in small portions packed in tiny cartons and enjoy licking every last bit of it.  I was trying to replicate something similar and ended up with this recipe which I can guarantee  restaurant quality. This gravied curry shared here is  all -purpose, can be made with or without meat, goes very well with any kind of biryani / pulao / paratha / idli / dosai or even with plain basmati rice.  My version shared here is very very spicy, you can literally feel your tastebuds jerking!!

Restaurant Style Gravy / Chalna / Salna / Side Gravy / Biryani Side / Saagu / chaaru / Gravied curry



Ingredients- 1
2 nos Dry red chili
1 tbsp Corainder seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Black peppercorns
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
1/2 ” inch Cinnamon stick
2 nos Cloves
1 no Green cardamom
1 petal Star anise


15 nos Small onion
2 nos Green Chili
5 cloves Garlic
1 inch Ginger


2 nos Bay leaves
1/2 tsp kasuri methi (Dry fenugreek leaves)
1 tsp Kashmiri Chili powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
5 nos Curry leaves
2 tbsp Coriander leaves (chopped)
3 tbsp Oil
2 nos Tomato
1 tsp Fresh ground coconut paste
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Water (only if necessary)


First step is to make a spice powder. Combine all ingredients in table-1 and dry grind to fine powder. (Dry roasting is not required)

Second step is to finely mince all the wet ingredients. This is really the key…. make sure you mince the onion, green chili ginger and garlic. If that’s a hard task then put them in the mixie along with ground spice powder and just use the pulse setting twice. (Do not add water, just run the mixie to mince them)

Heat oil in a pan and add bay leaves, dry fenugreek and curry leaves. Let them sizzle, then add the ground paste and keep frying over medium flame for about 1o minutes. You have fry till the onion mixture gets rid of the raw smell. Now add the chopped tomatoes, red chili powder, coriander, turmeric powder and salt. Cook for another 10 minutes. The gravy will look slightly watery at this stage.

Keep sauteing until the oil separates. Once the gravy looks dark brown as shown, you are ready to add any kind of meat or veggie.

Veggie options: Mushroom / Potato  or  Long Green Peppers suits well for this gravy.

Non- Veg options: Bony parts of Chicken or Mutton, Prawn/Shrimp, Boiled Eggs.

After adding any one of the options above make sure you include little water to cook them thoroughly.

Last part is to add the teaspoon of ground coconut paste which gives good consistency. Simmer for few minutes and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.

Gravy consistency can be either adjusted with water or coconut paste.

1. For thick dark brown gravy – No coconut paste.  Just add 1/4 cup water and simmer.

2. For  light brown gravy – 1 tsp of coconut paste + 1/2 cup water.

3. For thin yellowish gravy – 4 tbsp coconut paste + 1 cup of water.

Serve with biryani, boiled eggs and raita. Bookmark this for your Special Sunday Meals.




This recipe will yield just  enough gravy to feed 3 adults.  You may adjust with water or coconut milk  if you have few unexpected guests.

This version is very very spicy, so please cut down on the chilies if you are feeding the kids.

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