Spiced Tomato Sauce

beef biryani
Photo: Bobbi Lin
2 cups

Fresh ginger, jalapeno, and red-pepper flakes give this bold tomato sauce just the right amount of heat. It's a key component of Martha's Beef Biryani.


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 small red onions, chopped

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger

  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

  • 6 cardamom pods

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds

  • Pinch of red-pepper flakes

  • 1 tablespoon Biryani Spice Blend

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons tomato paste


  1. Heat oil in a medium saute pan over medium. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, cilantro, cardamom, cumin, red-pepper flakes, spice blend, tomato paste, and 1/2 cup water.

  2. Transfer to a food processor and process until mixture is smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Let simmer on low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.

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