Basic and Madras Curry Powder Recipes

Curry powder, despite its name, does not typically contain any part of the curry plant.  Most curries are simply dishes made with a mixture of spice.  There are multiple kinds of curry and curry powders, with regional flair and flavors that represent what is grown and cooked locally. Curry powder tastes nothing like the curry leaves that are often included in Indian recipes.  This is a general all purpose curry powder that can be used for a seasoning rub, or used in a recipe calling for a prepared curry powder.  The most common is Madras Curry, which is a British invention by Britons returning home from India, and became popular in Jamaica.  Increase or decrease the amount of chillies to reach desired heat level.

Basic Curry Powder

Ingredients

2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons crushed red peppers or dried chilies, broken (more or less depending on desired spiciness level)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger powder
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

Heat a pan to medium heat.  Add all of the ingredients. Heat the spices until the seasonings start to become fragrant.  Remove from heat.  Using a spice grinder, mortar and pestle or food processor, grind all the ingredients into a fine powder.  Store in an airtight container, and use within 6 months.  It will taste best if used fresh after grinding.

For a spicier curry powder that contains curry leaves, try Madras curry powder.

Madras Curry Powder

Ingredients

15 dried curry leaves
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
4 teaspoons crushed red peppers or dried chilies, broken (more or less depending on desired spiciness level)
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 whole cloves
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Directions

Heat a pan over medium heat.  Add all but the curry leaves to the pan, and cook until it starts to become fragrant.  Add the curry leaves to the pan, toss with the other spices, and remove from the heat.   Using a spice grinder, mortar and pestle or food processor, grind all of the ingredients into a fine powder.  Store in an airtight container, and use within 6 months.  It will taste best if used fresh after grinding.

Use the curry powders to flavor fish, chicken, goat or tofu. It can be used as a flavoring base for a sauce, or to liven up a soup or pasta salad.  It makes an excellent addition to a bowl of couscous served with cashews and dried fruit.