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Easy Naan Dipping Sauce

This tasty naan dipping sauce is an absolute breeze to make for a quick satisfying creamy dip for naan or other flatbreads.

A hand dipping piece of naan bread into a small white bowl of orange sauce.

Why you’ll love it

  • It’s perfect for elevating naan bread to a starter instead of as side dish.
  • It’s really quick to make, you can have your sauce ready in just fifteen minutes or less.
  • It’s super tasty, like a creamy butter curry sauce.
  • It’s egg and dairy free so suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

And if you like quick spicy dips then you might want to try my 15-minute peri peri sauce, or this quick spicy crema.

Ingredients and substitutions

This is so simple that you do need to pretty much stick to the recipe but you can glance at the photo below to see what ingredients you need, and scroll down to see underneath any substitutions that can be made.

Labelled ingredients including crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, oil, garam masala, turmeric etc.

Crushed tomatoes: I recommend using canned crushed tomatoes or passata (without herbs) for this recipe to get the smoothest results, but you can also use canned whole or chopped tomatoes and just quickly blend them. I don’t recommend using fresh tomatoes as they contain more water and take much longer to cook down.

Coconut milk: Full-fat coconut milk will give the creamiest results but if you’re counting calories you can use low-fat coconut milk.

Oil: You can use any mild oil like olive oil, or a flavorless one like canola or sunflower oil. For an extra luxurious touch, you can also use butter or ghee (although it won’t be vegan then).

Garam masala: Preferably, use a high-quality Indian garam masala and not the mild mixtures you find in the spice rack in your local store. MDH and Everest are two great brands for high-quality Indian spices and masalas. My favorite Indian recipe website has a fantastic recipe for garam masala if you want to make your own.

Turmeric: This adds a lot of warmth, earthiness and color but you can omit it if you don’t have any.

Garlic: Use fresh garlic and don’t omit it (unless you hate garlic, in which case, feel free!).

Cayenne: Ground cayenne pepper adds some lovely heat to his medium-spicy dip but you can omit it if you prefer things less hot, although you will still get some mild heat from the garam masala.

Cumin: Use ground cumin and don’t omit it.

Ginger: Use fresh ginger.

Sugar: I know a lot of people don’t like to add sugar to recipes but it is a small amount and really helps to balance the flavors, and gives it that restaurant-curry-style edge.

Salt: I always give guidelines but recommend adding salt to taste. If you need to keep sodium levels low I recommend using a low-sodium or no-sodium salt substitute.

How to make it

For beginner cooks or in case you have any doubts, check out the detailed instructions accompanying the process photos below to check you’re on point at every stage.

I highly recommend measuring the spices out before beginning to cook as once started everything gets going very quickly and you’ll run the risk of burning the spices or garlic if you stop to measure them out one by one.

  1. Add the oil to a medium or large non-stick pan and heat on medium-high. Crush the garlic and finely grate the ginger and add when the oil is hot. Cook 1-2 minutes until the garlic no longer smells raw.
  2. Add the spices.
Split image with a frying pan with garlic and ginger on the left and with added spices on the right,
  1. Mix the spices well with the garlic and ginger and cook 1-2 minutes more until the spices are toasted and fragrant.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, sugar and salt.
Split image showing fried spices and garlic on the left and with added canned tomatoes and coconut milk on the right.
  1. Stir until a uniform pale orange-pink color and increase the heat until the mixture boils.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-high to maintain at a lively simmer and cook until reduced and a bright orange color, between 7-10 minutes depending on how thick you like it (but remember, it’s a dipping sauce not a dipping paste). Remove from the heat, taste and adjust seasoning.
Split image showing a pale orange sauce in a pan on the left, and the same sauce but reduced and now a deep orange color on the right.

Done! Serve hot, warm or at room temperature (not chilled) with plenty of delicious naan for dipping in and scooping up the sauce. Makes about a cup to one and a half cups (depending on how much you reduce it).

Can be easily made ahead and stored on the countertop for several hours (up to four) at room temperature.

Equipment notes

What you’ll need:

  • Measuring cups and spoons.
  • A garlic press.
  • A medium or large non-stick frying pan. You can also use a small non-stick saucepan.

Expert tips

Close up of a bowl of orange sauce on a white background with a few naan breads near the top of the image.
  • Don’t bother grating your ginger, it’s a totally unnecessary extra step. I scrub my fresh ginger when I buy it, leave it in the fridge and grate as necessary. The vast majority of the very thin and tasteless peel gets left on the non-business side of the grater with the other thick fibrous bits that you don’t use.
  • If you don’t have a garlic press, you can either chop the garlic finely, and then use a handheld stick blender to blend the sauce once you’ve added the coconut milk and crushed tomatoes, or simpy mince the garlic and crush/squish it with the back of a spoon, applying plenty of pressure and wiggling the spoon from side to side.
  • If you’ve over-reduced your sauce and it’s looking more like a paste than a dip, no worries, just add a little more coconut milk, mix and repeat until it’s at your desired consistency. If you don’t have any coconut milk left, you can thin it with some sour cream, Greek yogurt, or failing that, some water.

Storage

This sauce will keep at room temperature for up for for hours, after which it needs to be refrigerated. It will last in the fridge for up to five days, or can be frozen for up to three months.

To reheat you can either leave it on the counter until it reaches room temperature (up to one hour), or microwave for one minute, stir, and return to the microwave and continue to heat and stir in 30 secomd increments until warm or hot (as you prefer).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What tastes good with naan?

Well, this dip! But if you want to have a range of dips some other ones that pair wonderfully with naan bread are raita, cilantro dip, spicy Indian pickled mango or limes, hummus, blender salsa, and even nacho or queso dip.

Did you make this dish? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, review, and/or comment below.

Yield: 1 cup

Easy Naan Dipping Sauce

A hand dipping piece of naan bread into a small white bowl of orange sauce.

A delicious spicy creamy butter curry style luscious naan dipping sauce, vegan and it comes together in minutes!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)*
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes (240ml)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (240ml)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Add the oil to a medium-sized non-stick saucepan and heat on medium-high.
  2. When hot, add the crushed garlic and grated ginger. Fry for one-two minutes until the garlic no longer smells raw.
  3. Add the spices, mix with the garlic and ginger, and toast for one-two minutes more until the spices have darkened slightly and are very fragrant.
  4. Add the canned crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, sugar, and salt and increase heat to high until the mixture has begun to boil, then reduce to medium-high to maintain at a lively simmer and cook for 7-10 minutes more until thickened enough .
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning (salt and sugar) as needed. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with plenty of naan or pita chips for dipping.

Notes

*Cayenne pepper will make this sauce medium-hot spicy, omit for a mildly spiced sauce (there will still be a little heat from the garam masala)

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 172Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 0mgSodium 412mgCarbohydrates 8gFiber 1gSugar 4gProtein 2g

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