Chips And Curry Sauce

Chips and curry sauce is a favorite late night snack in Ireland and England.  When I say chips I am referring to the Irish equivalent to steak fries accompanied by a sweet, spicy curry sauce.

This chip sauce is different to a regular Indian curry.  It has fewer veggies and is slightly less hot and spicy, with a satisfying sweet flavor.

I received an e-mail from a reader a few weeks past.  She requested I share my curry sauce recipe which I mentioned when I showed you how to make perfect Irish chips.  She first tasted this unique combination on a trip to my homeland.  A waiter suggested she try curry sauce with her fries and she loved it.  She savored this treat many more times before returning  to the US, where ever since she has been searching for a recipe to help revive her tasty memories of Ireland.

This may not be gourmet food, but in Ireland chip shops make gallons of curry sauce to satisfy their hungry customers.  I confess I never bothered making it from scratch when I lived in Ireland.  There didn’t seem to be any point, when it could be so easily found at the local chipper, or made by simply adding hot water to a dried, powdery concoction of who knows what.  I am pretty certain that’s how chip shops create their signature sauces too.

Once I moved to America I discovered curry sauce was not to be found.  I needed to create my own homemade version to satisfy my curry cravings.  So today, here is my recipe for chip shop curry sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion (peeled and diced)
  • 1 large apple (peeled and diced)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Optional

  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

Next step is to prepare the spice blend for the sauce.  In a small bowl or ramekin add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, ground coriander seed, and cinnamon.  I love the browns and tans of the spices in the bowl.

I use Sharwoods hot curry powder which I can buy in my local Meijers supermarket.  If you prefer a lower spicy, heat level then use an American mild curry powder.  The difference is significant.

Add the oil to a large skillet over medium to high heat.  Add the onions and saute for 4 minutes.  Caramelized onions add delicious sweetness to the sauce.

Next add the peeled and diced apple to the pan and saute for another 2 minutes.

Toss in the minced garlic and ginger.

Next comes the aromatic spice blend.

Mix the spices and onions together as they cook for another minute.

Flour is my sauce thickener of choice.  Cook it over medium heat for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan as you combine the mixture completely.

The flour can burn and stick to the bottom of the pan very easily.  See how my pan is getting a little crusty looking.  That’s because I stopped stirring to take a photo.

Now lets get saucy.  Gradually add the stock while you constantly stir the mixture to prevent lumps forming.  Scrape the bottom of the pan as you mix everything together.  Bring it to a boiling point, then reduce the heat so the sauce is just simmering.

Now comes my secret ingredient.  I add a teaspoon of worcestershire sauce, not a typical curry requirement.  I just love the extra dimension it adds to the exotic flavors of this sauce.

A hint of sweetness is next.  Add the tomato paste and two teaspoons of sugar.  Season with salt and pepper and mix everything together.  Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Some cooks like to add a teaspoon of lemon juice at this point, but I prefer not to detract from the sweetness of my curry sauce.  Feel free to try it if you want to add a little freshness at the end.

Decision time has now arrived.  To blitz or not to blitz that is the question.

If you prefer a textured sauce with lumps of apple and caramelized onion then skip this step.  In our house there is no skipping a little spin in the blender.  My husband likes onion flavor, but detests their texture, so I always make a smooth curry sauce.

Before blending turn the heat off under the pan and allow the sauce to cool a little.  This is a precautionary step just  in case of blender accidents.  Sticky, boiling curry sauce can easily burn.  Believe me – I know.  I’ve had a few blender explosions in my day.  I now always hold the lid down with a dish towel when I switch the beast on.

When ready pour the sauce into the blender and blitz until smooth (1 to 2 minutes depending on how powerful your blender is).

Return the sauce to the pan and turn the heat back on.  Time for another decision – to add raisins or not.  I love the sweet surprise of golden raisins in this spicy sauce.  If you decide to go with them, then just toss them in and stir them around.

Then you’re ready to serve your spicy sauce with perfectly golden chips or fries.

Just one more decision to make.

Do you pour your sauce all over the top of your chips?

Or do you prefer to dip your chips?  Big, big decisions!

But what ever your final eating style, just enjoy.

Here is the printable recipe:

Curry Sauce For Chips

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Region British
Chips and curry sauce is a favorite late night snack in Ireland and England. When I say chips I am referring to the Irish equivalent to steak fries accompanied by a sweet, spicy curry sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large onion (peeled and diced)
  • 1 Large apple (peeled and diced)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Optional

  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

Directions

Step 1 Prepare the spice blend by mixing the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, ground coriander seeds and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Step 2 Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute for 4 minutes over medium heat..
Step 3 Add the diced apple and cook for another 2 minutes.
Step 4 Add the minced ginger and garlic and stir.
Step 5 Add the spice blend to the onion mixture and stir constantly as it cooks for 2 more minutes.
Step 6 Add the flour and stir constantly as it cooks for 2 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent burning.
Step 7 Gradually add the chicken stock, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
Step 8 Add worcestershire sauce, sugar, tomato puree and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 9 Bring the sauce to boiling point, stirring constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.
Step 10 Turn the heat off, and allow the sauce to cool slightly before blending. When cool enough add the sauce to a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.
Step 11 Return the sauce to the pan over medium heat. Add golden raisins if desired.
Step 12 Serve hot with a side of chips or french fries.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

 

Irish American Mom

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Comments

  1. What’s the difference between Tumeric and Curry powder? I thought they were one in the same?

    • Cathy – Curry powder is a blend of spices that can include coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper, mustard, allspice, fenugreek, cloves, ginger and cinnamon. I always add extra turmeric and other spices to my curry powder to give the flavor a little extra spiciness. I find American curry powders are very, very mild, so I always spice it up a little. Turmeric is a deep yellow spice, not a combination like curry powder. Years ago I spent some time in India working with children who had polio. When I was there I watched how the women cooked and they always added extra turmeric to their curries.
      Hope this helps answer your question.
      All the best,
      Mairéad

  2. This looks delicious. You’ve just scared me into not wanting to order curry at chippers(I’m vegetarian) the next time I go to Ireland because you used chicken stock in this recipe? Do you think the curry in this recipe would taste the same with vegetable stock instead?

    • Maeve – Vegetable stock would work fine, or even just plain water instead of the chicken stock. I don’t think the chippers in Ireland use chicken stock at all, so don’t worry about ordering curry next time you are in Ireland. Most of the time their sauce is from a pre-packaged mix made by adding water. I just like the flavor of the chicken stock in this sauce, but it is not a key ingredient.
      Take care,
      Mairéad

  3. Yum! You have me curious to try this with your statement of American curries being mild! I’m sure my husband would love this though! I tend to be on the milder side of spices, whereas he likes ‘flavor’. :) And I’m beginning to love turmeric! The health benefits are amazing!

    • Aimee – I love Indian food. I spent many months there years ago, and marveled at the array of spices and aromas used on a regular basis. I always add additional turmeric to my curries. You are so right, the health benefits are amazing. Curries are not a traditional Irish food, but curry sauce and chips is ever so popular, especially on a Saturday night as people wander home from the pubs.
      All the best,
      Mairéad

  4. Orla Fassilis says:

    Mairead,
    I’ve been looking thru your recipes and can’t wait to try them. I do have to admit, one of the things I load up on, on visits home is Knorr Medium curry sauce, LOVE it, make curry chicken, curry chips and now one of my girls loves it.
    Keep the recipies coming
    Orla

    • Orla – My little girl also loves chicken curry and chips and curry sauce. My boys won’t let it past their lips unfortunately. So glad you found my site and hope you enjoy my recipes. I have plans for plenty more Irish cooking and recipes over the coming weeks and months. Stop by whenever you get a chance.
      Best wishes for 2013.
      Mairead

  5. Thanks so much for the recipe!! I have been craving veggie curry & chips since I arrived home from my trip to Ireland in January. So hard to find an equivalent here. I am so eager to try this recipe with veggie stock, and see if I can recreate that delicious meal I had from the chipper several times late at night.

    • Danielle – I hope my version of curry sauce will satisfy your cravings for this little taste of Ireland. I always get chips and curry sauce from the chipper when I am home. Yummy!!!
      Thanks for stopping by. Glad you found my website.
      Mairéad

  6. This sauce is, in a word, epic. Thank you for taking the time to share it!

    • Jeremy – Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment with your seal of approval for this curry sauce. Glad you enjoyed it. For me, it the perfect accompaniment to chips.
      Take care,
      Mairéad

  7. I’m so pleased to finally find a good recipe for this – it is one of the things I miss most about home. Thanks so much for posting it! Quick question – are your tablespoons US measures (i.e. dessert spoon) or Irish measures (i.e. double that)?

    • Hi Ciara – My measurements are US. I try to convert all my old Irish recipes and tweak them so they work in America.
      Glad you found my site and I hope you enjoy these chips and curry sauce. It is one thing I love to make to remind me of home.
      All the best,
      Mairéad

  8. Thank you for sharing. My boyfriend and I had chips and curry sauce at an Irish pub in Phoenix and wanted to make our own. This is spot on! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

    • Lisa – I’m so glad you enjoyed this curry sauce recipe. I like the balance of sweet and spicy flavors, especially when poured over chips. Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Best wishes,
      Mairéad

  9. Hi, can you give a specific measure for salt and pepper? Just a sprinkle, or more? I don’t know if I get it right since I don’t know what it should taste like.

    Can’t wait to try it!

    Cath

  10. This looks great, I opened up a food Truck in Woodside, Queens with a large Irish Population, and they keep asking for it. I will try it soon and let you know their response. One question I have for you is how long will it stay freash for in the refrigerator?

    Thanks,
    Patrick

    • Patrick – So glad you found this recipe and I hope it is a big hit with all your Woodside customers. To be honest, I have never kept this sauce for more than a day in my fridge. If I have any leftovers I serve it over grilled chicken the next day. I guess it would be safe for up to 3 days in the fridge if stored properly in an airtight container.
      Best of luck,
      Mairéad

  11. JARMA OF TIPTON says:

    excellent curry sauce recipe, tastes like the “irish” sauce served in my local chippy, i cant wait to pass this recipe on to my friend joona. he will love this too.
    regards
    JARMA..

  12. Love chips and curry sauce. We always had ours with coleslaw from the chipper in my local town in Co. Clare. You should try it, brilliant flavour combination.

  13. This is fabulous!! I’ve been trying to make this sauce on my own since I tried it on my last trip to the UK and you gave the perfect steps and ingredients. I have everything to make it in the house except for the apple, but I do have applesauce so I will substitute that until I can get to the grocery store. I especially like your suggestion of adding raisins and blending.
    The photos are great, it really looks like authentic English chips and curry!
    Thank You and keep up the good work ; )

  14. I made this last night (along with chicken balls&fried rice) and I don’t think I’ll order takeout again because your sauce is so good. I am living in Ireland and can get the curry sauce you crave, but yours is way better!! Do you always make it to order or have you done bigger batches and frozen it?

    • Maebh – I’m delighted you enjoyed my curry sauce so much. I have not yet made a big batch for freezing – it seems to disappear with no leftovers every time I make it. I think it should freeze well. I’ve frozen a chicken curry I make which is similar and it held up well to freezing.
      Best wishes and thanks for stopping by.
      Mairead

  15. Mairead, I love you site, thank you so much for sharing with us! I was making a batch of your curry sauce yesterday and was wondering what type of curry do you find works best, while digging through my spice pantry I found I had several…. Madras, Sweet, Hot, Garam Masala, and Maharajah. Also I was wondering if you have ever used creamed coconut or coconut milk in your curry, The County Clare here in town has a great chips and curry sauce but I swear I pick up a hint of coconut in it, next time we go I am going to have to ask the chef! Thanks again!

    • Dawn – I haven’t used coconut milk for this curry sauce, but I do make a Thai chicken curry with coconut milk which my hubby loves. If you ask the chef at The County Clare for his recipe, I hope he shares his secret ingredient with you. My favorite curry powder is Sharwood’s, which I can by at my local Meijers. They have a good English food section. I think Madras curry will be hot and spicier than the others you have on hand. For this sauce the sweet curry powder might work nicely to combine with the fruit.
      All the best,
      Mairead

  16. Wow, I love this recipe. I was hesitant to add the raisins after blending the mixture but I loved the final results. I was able to find the recommended curry powder at my local grocery store (Publix). My sister does not like spicy foods and didn’t mind the heat level. The spiciness does not linger. I served this with panko crusted chicken and french fries. Everyone cleaned their plates and asked me to make this dish again. Thank you for sharing this great recipe!!!

  17. Popular in Scotland too.

  18. ChipsCurryLOVERFANATIC says:

    Irish American Mom,

    Take a bow! I was searching for the taste that i had found in Athlone during my studies (10 years ago) and you made me realize that i still miss that. Gonna try the veggie version of the recipe this weekend!

    Just had to tell this!
    Thanks a tonne!

    PS: Just a tip, please improve the key tags for landing on this webpage as only curry chips leads to this page. Search terms like French fries with Gravy, fries with gravy all lead to poutine. Just my 2 cents.

    -IE

    • So glad you like this recipe. I hope it brings back tasty memories of your days in Athlone.
      Thanks also for the tip about my tags. I’ll take a look and see how I can beef them up to ascend the Google listings.
      All the best,
      Mairéad

  19. Eunice B. says:

    I love this recipe. I am from Northern Ireland, now living in America. I have been trying SO many sauce recipes, but I LOVE this one. So flavorful. Thank you.

  20. Andy Britner says:

    Hi there,

    I just tried the sauce and found it pretty great! I did not like the way it was finishing up as it was quite grainy, which I felt was more to do with the cinnamon powder (Kirkland, Costco) than anything else. So I added a bit more water and a teaspoon of Chilli powder and cooked for an extra 15 mins. It needed the chilli as the curry powder (Suraj brand) needed a kick. I then did give it a few pulses in the blender and done. I had it with chips and mushy peas. Really did end up being tasty and authentic.

    We are in BC Canada, moving here from the UK (Myself Manchester, wife Sinead from Belfast) and have not had a decent chip shop style curry sauce.

    We are in the process of opening a British fish & chip shop. If I can’t find a decent curry powder then I will make our own, based close to this recipe!

    Thanks again.

    • Andy – Thanks so much for stopping by with such great feedback about my curry sauce recipe. I’m so glad you were able to tweak it a little to get the result you were looking for. I find I get the best results with Sharwood’s curry powder. Their spice blend just has the perfect kick for my palate. I haven’t been able to find an American curry powder blend that comes anywhere close to Sharwood’s on my taste tests. Luckily my local supermarket has an English section where I can buy this curry powder.
      Wishing you every success with your new fish and chip shop venture, and I hope your customers will enjoy chips and curry sauce as much as we do in England and Ireland.
      All the best,
      Mairéad

  21. John Quesenbury says:

    Really appreciate you posting your recipe. When I was in London I had curry and chips every chance I got and that was more often than not. You are correct there aren’t a lot of places to get it. But i have found a couple of supermarkets. One market here in NC has a jarred Vendaloo sauce that is actually made locally! Then I have another jar of powdered curry but have never tried to make it. I think I will try that with your recipe for the first time.

    Raisins added to the sauce sounds outstanding! Gotta try that. But I think I’ll stray away from using prunes lol. Anyway this is almost like a southern comfort food to me now. Thanks for sharing gonna try.

    • John – I hope my recipe will satisfy your cravings for curry. Matched with nicely cooked chips, this truly is comfort food at its best.
      Thanks for checking out my recipes.
      Best wishes,
      Mairéad

  22. Hi,

    i am very thankful for this recipe. i tired Irish curry few times when visited Ireland, as I am from Lithuania, and tried many recipes, but nothing worked out, but this is definetly best of the best. Today i am cooking again :) wanted to print recipe again, so decided to write, as really tried it and i am super satisfied, the taste is awesomeeeeeeeeee, thanks again

    Gintarė

  23. I loved this as a starting base. I may try to make this a sweet curry next time to compare. I used a dark roux (about a 1/8 to 1/4 cup) instead of raw flour since I had some leftover in my fridge from a gumbo. I made my roux with grapeseed oil and high quality flour. I also added a little white sugar as stated in your recipe, but had a bit of unbalanced heat so I added a dash of apple cider vinegar and instead of golden raisins I added about a tablespoon of dark brown sugar. This is amazing with rice, I can’t wait to try it with chips!

    • Hi Marlene – Thanks for all these wonderful tips and variations on this recipe. Apple cider vinegar is a great addition to balance heat. It’s lovely to hear from readers who have modified and tested my recipes. There are always so many ways to tweak ingredients to get the perfect blend for every palate.
      Thanks again, and all the best,
      Mairéad

  24. I used to be able to get Knorr’s Curry Sauce mix in the US, and I loved it on lamb and beef. It has not been available for several years, and i find that I can only get it from Ireland or Irish food US internet sites, or German sites. Is this recipe good on meats or would it be a different curry sauce recipe?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Peter – This curry sauce is a little fruitier than Knorr curry sauce mix, and it goes really well with chicken. I think it would work great over lamb too, but I don’t think it would pair as well with beef. When I make a beef curry I use a little more ginger and chilli than in this recipe.
      Like you, I can only get Knorr sauce packets online in the US. I wish my local supermarket would stock it. I was able to get it at World Market once, but recently I have only seen a Knorr Currywurst sauce for serving with sausages.
      Best wishes,
      Mairéad

  25. Let me just say this is not the Curry Sauce you get from an English Chippy….its sooooooooo much better.

    I moved from the UK to the US 4 years ago and still miss going to the Chippy for a take out on a Friday night. So most Friday nights I make chips and my husband and I have a huge plate of them each, smothered in Salt and Vinegar. Now thanks to you we have Curry Sauce over the top as well….really delicious.

    Thank you.

    It freezes really well.

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