This DIY Curry Powder Recipe is just the thing to spice up your routine! A dash of this blend will give just the right amount of savory, sweet heat to turn your tired tried-and-true sauces, salads, and stews into something completely new.
My pantry is full of homemade spice blends, but lately I’ve found myself reaching for my homemade curry powder more often than others. Not too hot, not too salty, not too sweet — it’s just right for almost every dish that I put on the table!
It might surprise you to learn that curry powder isn’t used in authentic Indian kitchens at all. It was invented by British employees and travelers who loved Indian flavors so much that they tried to recreate them back home in England when cooking.
That being said, you won’t find it in India. Authentic Indian dishes use their own selection of spices and seasonings — for example, Madras or Vindaloo curry powders are completely different in composition and flavor.
This easy, generic curry powder recipe can be used in so many recipes, like my spicy, tangy take on Chicken Salad. But if you’re preparing a chickpea dish, I’d recommend using my Chana Masala blend instead.
More Indian Spices For Your Homemade Curry Powder
There is so much variety in these blends — no two jars on the shelf will contain exactly the same ingredients. I use a very common blend of Indian spices that are incredibly versatile and applicable to any number of Indian dishes. But if you’re looking to switch things up, you could also try some of these seasonings in your next batch of DIY curry powder:
- Chili powder
- Fennel seeds
- Red pepper flakes
- White Pepper
- Bay leaves
Many of the following ingredients can be swapped out for more or less heat, tanginess, or sweetness. Alter per your preferences, and let me know what combination you like best!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Turmeric - This is what gives this blend its iconic yellow color. It’s a warm spice with bitter undertones. I would not recommend substituting this ingredient — it’s a staple of Indian cuisine and should be present in any DIY curry powder recipe.
- Cumin - A bold seasoning that bolsters savory dishes with its hearty, lemony taste.
- Coriander - This leafy herb is refreshingly sweet.
- Ginger - Ginger is an extremely common ingredient in Indian dishes, both sweet and savory. Its distinctly spicy and sweet flavor is difficult to replicate, and so it should not be swapped out.
- Cinnamon - Another sweet and spicy seasoning. It is also very smoky and warm. Similar spices include nutmeg and allspice.
- Dried Mustard - This ingredient is tangy, sharp, and acidic. Its flavor is mild at first, but becomes unmistakable when used in sauces and marinades.
- Fenugreek - A sweet herb that is almost licorice-like in flavor. If difficult to find in the store, try fennel seeds instead.
- Black Pepper - A mild, neutral seasoning to add additional heat to any rub or blend.
- Cardamom - This herb is warm and peppery, and is another curry powder recipe staple.
- Cayenne - This ground pepper gives a fiery color and flavor, giving off a “fresh” heat.
HOW TO MAKE MY CURRY POWDER RECIPE
Mix All Ingredients Together. Simply mix the ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, dried mustard, fenugreek, black pepper, cardamom, and cayenne together with a whisk or for a finer powder, spice grinder. Store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, in your pantry or on your countertop for up to 3 months.
Is curry powder a thing in India?
It might surprise you to learn that this staple of homemade Indian dishes isn’t used in authentic Indian kitchens at all. It was invented by British employees and travelers who loved Indian flavors so much that they tried to recreate them on their own back home in England.
Westerners started using curry powder in dishes they termed as Indian. Curry powder is a quick "cheat" to get that flavor of Indian cuisine without the extra effort sometimes associated with curries.
What is curry powder made of?
Ingredients vary from brand to brand, and homemade combinations are based entirely on preference.
My homemade curry powder recipe contains a mix of common Indian spices and seasonings. Along with the usual suspects of turmeric, cumin, cardamom, and ginger, I also throw in cayenne and black pepper for additional heat. Coriander, fenugreek, and cinnamon add a warm, refreshing sweetness, while dried mustard contributes a much needed zest to the mix.
How do I use DIY curry powder in a dish?
It’s best to mix this spice blend into some kind of liquid to bring out the flavors of the various seasonings. An added liquid like a stock, yogurt or coconut milk will also help meat and vegetables soak in the spices.
Is garam masala the same as curry powder?
Not quite! Garam masala is a true Indian spice blend with an intoxicating heat, vibrancy, and delicate sweetness. Similar to our homemade curry powder, garam masala is used in a wide variety of dishes.
What is curry powder used for?
Any dish that could benefit from a warm, earthy heat! It levels up any meat marinade and spices up dull, boring sauces. Soups and stir fries also take well to these seasonings. And, of course, curries are a no-brainer!
What is BIR curry?
If you've ever heard of the term, BIR stands for British Indian Restaurant curries. It is a style of cooking utilizing pre-made curry sauces, not a specific curry powder.
As my friend Dan, better known as The Curry Guy states, "There is a difference! BIR recipes were developed with flavour, economy and speed in mind. These curry sauces have become famous for many years. When people go out for a curry, these are the dishes they look for." His site is dedicated to these and are superb. Check him out!
Curry Powder Recipe
- 3 tablespoons ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Whisk the spices together, or for a finer powder, spice grinder. Store in an airtight container. Use within three months for maximum freshness.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.