Cumin, Turmeric, coriander, chilli, celery, salt, fenugreek, and allspice are common ingredients in curry powder. Cardamom is more common in Indian curry powders, whereas ginger and chilli are more common in Thai curry powders. Curry powder comprises a basis of cumin and roasted coriander, though the components may vary by area. This is useful information to have on hand for when you want to make your batch of curry powder!)
Caraway, ginger, nutmeg, black cardamom, garlic, curry leaves, fennel seeds, and white Turmeric are all common ingredients in curry powder.
What is Curry Powder?
Curry powder is made up of various spices with a yellow colour. Contrary to popular assumption, it is not a common component in Indian cuisine. Curry powder was invented by the British to imitate the flavour of Indian cuisine, but it is not used in traditional Indian cooking.
The misunderstanding may stem from a popular Indian cuisine known as “curry,” however that phrase refers to the dish itself, consisting of a sauce or gravy and meat and veggies. Garam masala is the most used spice blend in Indian curries, and Turmeric is one of the key ingredients in curry powder. Spices such as ginger, cinnamon, garlic, cloves, mustard seed, black pepper, and fennel seed can all be used.
Uses of Curry Powder
Even though curry powder isn’t meant for typical Indian foods, it has a place in the spice cabinet because it may provide a unique flavour to a wide range of dishes. Curry powder is a versatile seasoning that can season roasted vegetables, pureed soups, hummus, egg salad, and even popcorn. It will add a bit of warmth and depth to a simple recipe. This spice can be used in various dishes, from sheet pan veggie roasts to pan-fried salmon. Curry powder breathes new life into soups, stews, potatoes, and shellfish.
Curry Powder vs. Garam Masala
Curry powder and garam masala are spice blends that add a nuanced flavour and vibrant colour to a dish. Turmeric is the principal ingredient in curry powder, which gives it its distinctive yellow colour but little flavour. Spices like fenugreek and cumin, as well as coriander, contribute to the blend’s mellow flavour. Garam masala is sweeter and more intense than curry powder, and the recipe varies by location. The spice combination commonly includes cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, cloves, coriander, and cumin.
Warmth is directly translated from the Hindi word garam, while masala describes a spice blend. A blend of warm spices known as garam masala adds richness, nuance, and warmth to any dish. Garam masala is commonly mistaken for curry powder, but it’s not the same thing. Unless you add chilli powder, this spice combination is traditionally warm and not particularly hot. Unlike curry powder, primarily used to form a dish’s foundation, garam masala enhances the taste. Instead of a spice, think of it as a form of seasoning. The best approach to using garam masala is to add it to your dish as soon as it’s ready. A half teaspoon of gram spice will perk up almost any dish.
How to Cook with Curry Powder?
Before adding the curry powder to the recipe, mix it with a liquid (such as broth or coconut milk) or yogurt to help the flavours of the curry powder seep into the other components. Curry powder is also designed to be used in slower-cooking recipes so that the flavours can develop.
You can use curry powder as an all-purpose seasoning now that you know you won’t be making typical Indian foods. Soups, stews, sauces, marinades, meat, and vegetables are widely flavoured. As curry flavour becomes increasingly popular, chefs are coming up with new ways to incorporate it into hamburgers, scrambled eggs, and potato salad dishes. Try curry-flavoured deviled eggs or curried chicken salad to put that jar to good use. Curry powder can also be used as a salt-free table seasoning due to its vibrant flavour.
Curry Powder’s Ingredients
You’d assume that because curry powder was intended to symbolize a specific flavour, there would be a standard recipe, but there isn’t one. However, the main ingredients, cumin, coriander, and Turmeric, are frequently the same (which gives it its signature colour). Red or black pepper, mustard, ginger, clove, cardamom, bay leaf, and fenugreek are frequent components. Mild and hot (sometimes known as “madras”) commercial blends are frequently offered. It’s worth noting that curry powder does not contain curry leaves.
Turmeric, cumin, ginger, and black pepper are common ingredients in curry powders, and garlic and cinnamon are also used in some blends. All curry powders have a sweet warmth and delightful pungency that gives everything it touches a toasty richness.
What does Curry Powder Taste Like?
Curry powder blends sweet and savoury flavours to create a spice powder that is earthy, warm, and slightly bright. Depending on the type and amount of pepper used, the powder can range from mild to spicy; moderate blends will include ginger and black pepper, while spicy blends will include chile peppers.
Due to the blend of savoury and sweet spices, curry powder has a distinct flavour. Sweet spices like cinnamon and clove bring brightness and energy to the curry, while savoury spices like cumin, turmeric, and bay leaf give it a deep, earthy flavour. The type and amount of pepper used determine the intensity of heat. Hot curry powders commonly contain red chillies or other hot peppers, whereas milder curry powders may incorporate black pepper or ginger.
Where to Buy Curry Powder?
Curry powder is sold in jars and canisters in the spice section of most stores. However, because many spice mixes lose freshness and taste as they lie on the shelf, buying from a spice store or specialty market specializing in Indian food, for example, should result in a more vibrant curry powder mixture. You may also use a spice grinder or an old coffee grinder to make your curry powder. Curry powder is a cheap method to add rich flavour to daily routine and can be found at almost every grocery store. In Indian grocery stores and internet vendors, regionally unique blends are offered.
Types of Curry Powder
Although Indian-inspired curry powder receives the most attention, there are many different curry powders throughout the world, each with its distinct flavour profile. Thai curry powder is acidic with lemongrass and lime leaves, whereas Caribbean curry powder has a sweeter base with spices like anise and allspice. Garam masala is a South Indian spice blend comparable to curry powder but with more potent ingredients like nutmeg, black cardamom, and cloves.
What is the Difference Between Curry Powder & Curry Paste?
The first major distinction is texture, as indicated by paste and powder. The high moisture level of curry paste’s constituents, such as chile, lime, and galangal root, contributes to its consistency. On the other hand, Curry powder is a dry spice blend made of ground spices.
Masalas (spice mixtures) are frequently tempered in Indian cuisine. This refers to whole spices that have been roasted or fried in oil before being ground into a powder. Adding whole spices to the pan throughout the cooking process is another approach to temper. In Thailand, for example, spice blends are frequently made up of fresh ingredients that have been blended.
Because curry paste and powder are manufactured differently, the flavour profile varies significantly—even if certain ingredients are the same. Fresh chilis, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass are common ingredients in curry pastes, which add a lot of heat. These ingredients, when combined, can give cuisine an extremely hot kick. Compared to the pastes, curry powder has a more well-rounded flavour and lacks spice.
So, the next time you’re cooking and realize you’re missing curry paste or powder and are tempted to substitute one for the other, remember that they each add various flavours and benefits to a dish. Watch this video to discover how to make a flawlessly impromptu and individualized curry.
Curry powder should be kept at room temperature in a cool, dark place. If you bought the spice blend in bulk, put it in a container with a tight-fitting lid and store it for three to four years. Smell and taste the powder to see whether it’s still fresh; if the aroma is weak and the flavour is barely discernible, it’s time to replace it. If kept in a cold, dark place away from direct sunlight with a tight-fitting lid, your new spice blend should last 3-4 years. You may check the potency of older curry powder by rubbing a small quantity between your fingers; if it’s still good for cooking, the aroma will be strong.
To maintain freshness and strength, whole spices are blended and ground just before use in genuine Indian cuisine. As a result, the flavour of pre-ground curry powder blends will be less vibrant. Basic curry powders are available in most grocery stores in the United States. However, they can be expensive and not always fresh. Look for curry powder in international food markets for a better price and freshness. Using whole spices and a clean coffee grinder, you may produce your curry powder.