If your only experience with curry powder is the sad yellow dust with the red lid, stick around. I’ll show you how to make homemade curry powder and it may change your curry life. You can grind it from whole spices or use pre-ground. I included instructions for both in the recipe notes!
Grinding my own curry powder set me on a 10+ year journey of grinding my own spices.
Not all of them, mind you. I do have a life. Just a handful — including this curry powder.
What is Curry Powder?
If you’re new to using curry powder, it’s a blend of spices that is typically used in Indian style cooking. The yellow curry powder that you see in the grocery store is actually madras curry powder.
Curry itself isn’t a spice. The closest word that would describe it is “gravy”. If you’ve had Indian cuisine, you’ve most likely had some sort of curry — a blend of vegetables and meat (but sometimes meatless) simmered in a thick, heavily spiced sauce.
There are some high quality curry powders in nicer grocery stores, but I’d stay away from the most common one with the red lid. You know what I’m talking about.
Curry Powder Ingredients
This varies wildly, but most yellow curry powder has a base of cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Sometimes other spices are thrown. It’s actually pretty adaptable. This particular combination is my favorite:
How to make Homemade Curry Powder
There are a couple of ways to do this — by grinding your own spices (highly recommended and best flavor for sure) or by using pre-ground spices. You’ll get a great curry powder using pre-ground spices — probably more flavorful than a basic store curry powder.
If you’re going to grind whole spices, you need to get a coffee grinder. Or a second coffee grinder if you happen to use yours for coffee. Unless you want “spiced” coffee.
If you’ve never used one, it’s like a super-strong mini food processor. For dry things. Don’t try to make pesto or anything.
After toasting the whole spices in a skillet to deepen their flavor. Let them cool off and grind them in a coffee grinder.
My grinder is literally a super cheap one I got from the clearance rack at the grocery store after my nice, Cuisinart one died. Expensive isn’t always better.
Then you add in the ground turmeric and cinnamon.
Using whole turmeric would involve grating and drying and pulverizing fresh turmeric. Even I have my boundaries.
Now it’s ready to use! Store it like any other spice blend in your cupboard.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Recipes using Curry Powder on Perry’s Plate
Indian-Style Butternut Squash Soup is a silky, paleo-friendly soup with hint of curry flavor!
We love Mulligatawny soup, too! It’s another silky smooth soup with bits of chicken & rice added. Our kids love it.
For an easy, meatless dinner, try Vegetarian Chickpea Curry.
My kids will only eat cauliflower in the form of Curry Roasted Cauliflower.
Mango Chicken Curry is another great family-friendly meal.
If you make this recipe, be sure to post it to social media and tag me at @perrysplate or #perrysplate so I can send you some love!
- 1-4 small dried chilis
- 1 Tablespoon coriander seed
- 1 Tablespoon cumin seed
- 1 Tablespoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon green cardamom pods
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Decide how spicy you'd like your curry powder and put 1-4 chilis into a small skillet along with the coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom, and cloves. Toast over medium-low heat for a few minutes until the spices are warm and fragrant. Watch them closely since they burn easily.
- Allow them to cool for 5 minutes and then grind everything in batches in a coffee or spice grinder. Transfer the ground spices into a small lidded jar.
- Add the turmeric and cinnamon and shake well. Store at room temperature for about a year.
If you'd rather use all ground spices, here are the measurements:
- Pinch - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon ground fennel (if this is hard to find, just use more ground coriander)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
This recipe is slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks.
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The Spice Way Fennel Seed - bulk whole seeds great for tea and cooking 8 oz
The Spice Way Cardamom Pods- ( 4 oz ) Whole Green Cardamom Pod
Organic Premium Grade Hand Picked Whole Cloves 3.5oz
The Spice Way Coriander Seeds - 5 oz
The Spice Way Cumin Seeds - whole cumin seed 8 oz resealable bag
Microplane 45000 Gourmet Series Coarse Cheese Grater, 18/8, Silver
Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Coffee Grinder for Beans, Spices and More, Stainless Steel Blades, Removable Chamber