Have you ever tried one of those mass produced curry powders found at the supermarkets?
They show little resemblance to the traditional curry powders that are made freshly every day all over India. These special blends of spice vary from region to region and even from cook to cook. Each cook has their own special recipes that are often top secret. This is why it is rare for the same curry dish cooked by two different chefs to taste the same.
Curry Powder Ingredients
There are many but the most popular and used are coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel seed, fenugreek, chillies, nutmeg, mace, black pepper, cloves, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and saffron.
These and other whole ingredients are ground daily in India to create each meal and are so much nicer than commercially made powders.
How is Curry Powder Used?
Curry powder is used to flavour curries and other indian food. It is often used to spice up soups, marinades, deserts and relishes.
Although the Indian chef may frown at this, I usually make my homemade curry powders in large batches so I can easily and quickly add them to my favourite Indian dishes.
Note that if you are not a keen cook of Indian curries you will not want to make large batches of ground powders. The flavours tend to weaken quite quickly after being ground.
You can, however make the whole spice mixtures and grind them as and when needed. Ground spices will keep well for one or two months in a tight container in a cool, dark place.
There are so many different recipes to explore and experiment with but three you will want to keep in your personal cookbook are garam masala, curry gravy masala and tandoor masala.
Garam masala is generally used at the end of cooking just to pick the flavours up a bit. Tandoori masala and curry masalas are used in marinades and during cooking for flavour.
They are also often made into a gravy which are used as a base for many different curry dishes.
As mentioned, ever good Indian chef varies their recipes slightly. You will find this in the many Indian cookbooks and online references to Indian food.
I recommend starting with a basic recipe for the curry powder you want to make. Cook with it and by all means experiment.
There are no rules so play with your spices and have fun! You could just make the most amazing curry powder mix ever.