Curry powder is a versatile spice blend that adds depth and flavor to Indian dishes without the need for using several varieties of spices. This blend of spices is used to flavor Indian dishes and contrary to popular belief, it is not commonly used by Indians. It has become more popular in the US as a way to simplify the spice selection in Indian cooking.
While it's commonly found in any grocery store, making your own homemade spice blend is easy and customizable. Have a jar of homemade curry powder on hand and use it in your favorite Indian curries, dips, or salads. This will undoubtedly elevate your favorite Indian dish and make it much better than ever before.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Balance of flavors: This recipe has a balanced mix of spices that complement each other without any one spice overpowering the others.
- Customizable: It is highly customizable and allows you to adjust the spices as per your personal preferences.
- Freshness: I am using a mix of whole and ground spices in this recipe. The whole spices are toasted and ground ensuring that the resulting blend has maximum flavor.
- Versatility: This homemade curry powder is versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. It is suitable for use in curries, dips, marinades, and more.
Like most spice blends, there is no single recipe to make curry powder, and even the most popular brands have their own ratios of using the spices. However, the most common spices used in curry powder include turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, fenugreek, black peppercorn, and chili pepper. Other ingredients such as cinnamon, cardamom, black mustard seed, and fennel seed can also be added.
My recipe for curry powder uses some of the most common Indian spices to create a perfectly balanced blend of flavors without any one spice overpowering the other. By adjusting the ratio of spices, you can customize it to your taste preferences. Making your own curry powder allows you to have a hands-down better flavor and ensures that you always have a fresh supply of the spice blend on hand.
Is curry powder the same as garam masala?
No, they are not the same. While both are spice blends commonly used in Indian cuisine, they have different compositions and are used in different ways.
Curry powder is a blend of various spices, including turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder. It is typically added to Indian dishes like curries during the process of cooking.
On the other hand, garam masala is a spice blend made up of warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and black pepper. It is often added to dishes towards the end of cooking or used as a finishing spice to add depth and warmth to the dish.
Turmeric is a key ingredient in both, but it is used in different quantities and for different purposes. In curry powder, turmeric is typically used as a base spice and is responsible for giving the blend its distinct yellow color. It is usually used in larger quantities here to create a strong, consistent base flavor. In contrast, turmeric is used in smaller quantities in garam masala and is often combined with other warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper.
Whole spices versus ground spices
When it comes to adding flavor and depth to any dish, choosing between whole spices and ground spices can make a big difference in the taste and texture of your final product. They are dry roasted before use which releases the oil and intensifies their flavors, adding depth to the dish.
On the other hand, ground spices are more convenient and easier to use, as they are already pre-ground and ready to be added directly to your dish.
In this recipe, I am using a mix of whole and ground spices to make this spice blend. Firstly, using whole spices adds depth and complexity to the flavor as they release their essential oils and aromas slowly over time. This can help to create a more nuanced and balanced flavor profile. Secondly, using ground spices makes it easier to incorporate the flavors into the blend and ensures that the spice mix is evenly distributed throughout the dish.
Whole spices: Coriander seeds, whole cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, and whole black pepper.
Ground spices: Ground turmeric, dry mustard powder, ground cardamom, ground ginger, garlic powder, and chili powder.
How to make curry powder at home?
Step 1: Toast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, and black peppercorn in a dry pan for 3 minutes on medium heat. Let it cool down to room temperature. Transfer it to a spice grinder and grind it into a fine powder.
Step 2: Add the powdered spices - ground turmeric, mustard powder, ground cardamon, chili powder, ground ginger, and garlic powder. Grind again for a few seconds.
Dry roast the whole spices before grinding. This will help to bring out their flavor and aroma.
Use a spice grinder or coffee grinder to grind the spices. While it is possible to use a blender or food processor to grind spices, a spice grinder will give you the most consistent texture.
Experiment with different spice blends and ratios as there is no one "correct" way to make it. Feel free to experiment with different spice blends and ratios to find the flavor profile that you like best.
Store curry powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Like all spices, this spice blend will lose its flavor over time, so it is best to make small amounts.
More spice blend recipes
Curry powder as we know it today is not a traditional Indian spice blend, but rather a British invention during their colonial rule in India. The British colonists had a fascination with Indian cuisine and spices and sought to replicate the flavors of Indian food in their own kitchens. The British home cooks began to create their own spice blends using a combination of Indian spices, which they popularized in the early 18th century and sold as "curry powder".
Although they are nearly identical and have common ingredients, Madras curry powder is typically hotter due to the increased use of chili powder. If you switch them in any recipe, the heat level may change substantially.
While it is possible to make a curry paste using curry powder, it is not the traditional method and may not yield the same depth of flavor as making a paste from scratch. Curry paste typically consists of whole spices, and aromatics like onion, garlic, ginger, and fresh herbs, all ground together with a little bit of oil to form a paste. However, for quick access to curry paste, you can try mixing curry powder with some oil, onion powder, garlic, and ginger to make a paste. The resulting flavor may not be as complex as a traditional curry paste, but it can still be an easy way to add Indian flavors to your dishes.
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Homemade Curry Powder
- ¼ cup coriander seeds (substitute with 2 tablespoons of ground coriander)
- 2 tablespoon cumin seeds (substitute with 1 tablespoon of ground cumin)
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (substitute with ½ tablespoon of fennel powder)
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds optional
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorn
- 2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne (use paprika to make it mild)
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, and black peppercorn for 3 minutes. Let it cool down completely.
- Transfer it to a spice grinder and add the powdered spices - ground turmeric, mustard powder, ground cardamon, chili powder, ground ginger, and garlic powder. Grind into a fine powder.
- Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store.
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