Traditional Malaysian curry wouldn’t be the same without Malaysian curry powder! Make your own homemade version by toasting 8 different spices and then grinding them into a fine powder. You’ll be surprised how easy it is!
The first time I used homemade curry powder I was blown away by the flavor. It taught me an important lesson: the more you can make from scratch, the better! I decided that from then on out if I could, I would try to make all of my spice blends myself. The process is a lot simpler than you would expect, and most of the time I already have the various spices and seasonings in my pantry. In this case, a little bit of effort goes a long way, people!
I’ve made a Turkish spice blend, a 7 ingredient Lebanese blend, and this Moroccan seasoning. Then, I decided to try my hand at curry powder. I’m thrilled with how my madras curry powder and this classic curry powder came out too. Next on my list? Curry powder from Malaysia!
It’s made by combining 8 different spices and seasonings. The key to making a homemade spice blend is to toast the ingredients before grinding them into a fine powder. You can use this Malaysia curry powder for your Asian-inspired recipes, like chicken Panang. What will you use yours in?
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
You can get these ingredients at most markets that sell bulk and the international shelves in Walmart or international markets.
- Dried Red Chiles - The chiles add a bit of heat to this curry powder from Malaysia.
- Green Cardamom Pods - There are two different types of cardamom pods: green and black. You’ll need green for this recipe! It boasts a somewhat citrus flavor that adds a zest to the blend.
- Cinnamon Stick - Use a full stick of cinnamon instead of a powder. The flavors are warm, sweet, and spicy.
- Cumin Seeds - Remember to use seeds here! When you toast them, the cumin flavor is even stronger. Cumin is a staple in most curries!
- Coriander Seeds - This ingredient also boasts a slightly citrus taste. It’s also a bit sweet! Again, opt for seeds.
- Fennel Seeds - These are the final seeds you’ll need for Malaysian curry powder. Fennel tastes like licorice and pairs perfectly with the other spices. Most Asian curry powders use fenugreek instead, but I really prefer the sweetness of fennel. If you do prefer fenugreek, feel free to use it!
- Cloves - Similar to cinnamon, cloves will bring a spicy and warmth to the spice blend.
- Black Peppercorns - Bursting with powerful flavor, these are the most intense variety of peppercorns out there. It adds much to the final flavor profile of this Malaysia curry powder!
HOW TO MAKE MALAYSIAN CURRY POWDER
- Toast The Spices. Using a dry skillet that’s been heated over medium heat, toast the 8 spices for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant. Make sure not to leave them for too long as they could burn.
- Grind The Mixture. Place your toasted spices in a spice grinder, or you can simply use a mortar and pestle.
- Storage. You should store your Malaysian curry powder in an airtight container. My preference is a mini glass jar!
What Is Malaysian Curry Powder Made Of?
This special blend features spices like red chiles, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, fennel seeds, cloves, and black peppercorn. As mentioned, you can use fenugreek instead of fennel if desired. It’s all up to your personal flavor preferences!
Is Malaysian Curry Powder The Same As Normal Curry Powder?
Malaysia curry powder is NOT the same as normal curry powder! This is especially important to note if you see this type of spice blend in the supermarket. Many are also specifically labeled for meat or for fish, and each blend features different seasonings. Curry powder from Malaysia is unique in that it uses a special blend that isn’t seen elsewhere. Think Sweet Heat. You can use this homemade version for a variety of different dishes!
What Is Different About Malaysian Curry?
Curry powder from Malaysia is different from other types of curries as it combines Malay, Indian, and Chinese cooking styles and flavors into one dish. It tends to be less thick than Indian curries, and it always features a bit of citrus flavor as a nod to Malay cuisine. It usually also contains a bit of soy sauce, which is a mainstay in Chinese cooking!
Are Malaysian Curries Spicy?
It all depends on the Malaysia curry powder! Some recipes are heavy-handed with the dried red chiles, and so they tend to be quite spicy. You can also play around with the other seasonings and make a sweeter Malaysia curry powder by adding in more cinnamon or cardamom (more of a sweet heat). That’s the best part about working with homemade blends — you have a lot more control over the flavor!
Malaysian Curry Powder
- 4 dried red chiles
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoon fennel seeds (See Note 1)
- 12 whole cloves
- 20 black peppercorns
- Toast the whole spices in a hot, dry skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
- Grind to a powder in a grinder or mortar and pestle. Store in an airtight container. This makes about ⅓ cup.
- While most Asian curry powders typically use fenugreek seeds I prefer the sweeter essence fennel seeds give here. Feel free to use fenugreek seeds if you prefer, same amount.
*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.