Curry powder is a blend of spices that come together to give a warm and robust flavor to whatever dish it is used in. While traditional Indian curry powders are mixed from whole spices as needed for cooking, our simple homemade curry powder is an easy way to have instant access to curry powder, using spices that you probably already have in your pantry.
What Is Curry Powder?
Curry powder is a spice mix that is used widely in Indian cooking.
Spice blends have been prominent in Indian cooking for ages. And, while it’s easy for Westerners to think of “curry” as a dish or spice with one characteristic flavor, at its most basic, curry powder is simply a mixture of spices.
You won’t find a single “curry powder” in India. Rather, you’ll find many varieties of curry powders depending on what dish you are looking to make.
What’s In Curry Powder?
Since the term “curry” is so general in India, you will find the spice mixture used to make up a “standard” curry powder different depending on the region you are in and even from family to family.
Think about it like the way an Italian Grandmother would season her meatballs or pasta sauce. There’s no ONE gold standard Italian recipe for either of those. The flavors will vary from region to region and chef to chef.
Most curry powder recipes do include a few common ingredients:
- chili peppers
Other ingredients that could be added are:
- black pepper
And the list goes on.
As you can see, once you have the basics, there are SO MANY ways you could tweak your curry powder recipe to make it your own.
How To Make Homemade Curry Powder From Scratch
Traditionally, curry powder is made by first toasting whole spices. Toasting releases some of the oils in the spices and makes the mixture more fragrant.
The toasted and cooled spices are then ground finely.
Typically, this spice mixture would be made fresh for each dish that called for it. That way, Indian chefs really aren’t tied to any one flavor combination. (Like a set “Italian seasoning blend”.) They can vary the flavors, sweetness, heat, and so on, of their curry powder spice mix depending on what flavors they are looking for in their curry dish.
Easy Homemade Curry Powder Recipe
While toasting whole spices and grinding them fresh will give you the most fragrant and flavorful curry powder, sometimes you just want easy access to curry powder, without the extra steps.
That’s why we came up with this easy homemade curry powder recipe.
It’s made from spices that you probably already have ground in your pantry.
- black pepper
- chili powder
We take a shortcut and use each of these spices in their already ground form, so all you have to do is mix them together.
Seriously, we told you this curry powder was really easy to make!
If you do find yourself wanting a bit of a different flavor in your curry powder, feel free to use our recipe as a springing off point.
Add some of the other ingredients we mentioned earlier. Whichever sound like they’ll go well with the dish you’re making.
With this easy curry powder recipe, making curry powder isn’t much of a commitment at all. So you can add a pinch of this and a dash of that and not have to worry about re-toasting and re-grinding small additions of spices as you find your perfect curry powder.
How To Use Curry Powder
Curry powder is truly a unique combination of spices. It’s slightly sweet, slightly savory, quite earthy, with a bit of heat.
The nice thing about curry is that you can use pretty much anything you have on hand to make a delicious curry. Here are some of our favorite, easy curry recipes:
- Cauliflower and winter squash curry
- Paneer and potato curry
- Mango chicken curry
- Curried chickpeas
- Curried lentil soup
- Singapore noodles
- Cashew nut curry
- Mushroom masala
- Shri Lankan chicken curry
And, you can’t talk about curry powder without mentioning the classic German take on curry: currywurst!
So the next time you find yourself craving curry with no curry powder in sight, don’t worry. Just whip up a quick batch of this easy curry powder!
Our simple homemade curry powder is an easy way to have instant access to curry powder, using spices that you probably already have in your pantry.
Yield: 8 tsp curry powder
(We have found that 2 Tbsp of curry powder is typically enough to season one recipe of curry for 4 people.)
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1 ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp ground ginger
In a small bowl, mix all the ground spices.
Use immediately, or store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.