Widely used in Indian cooking, curry powder is actually a blend of up to 20 spices, herbs and seeds. While there are different combinations possible, the most commonly used ingredients are cardamom, red chillies, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel seeds, fenugreek, mace, nutmeg, red and black pepper, poppy and sesame seeds, saffron, tamarind and turmeric. The colour of the spice blend may vary from a bright golden yellow to a toasty brown. It has a musky aroma, and a spicy taste.
Turmeric and fenugreek add earthiness, cinnamon and cardamom add sweetness, while the red chillies and pepper add spiciness to the powder. Since each household has its own proportions to make this powder, the resulting flavour will also be different depending on the ingredients that dominate the blend.
How to Select
• Curry powder can be prepared at home or bought readymade from stores.
• If buying readymade, choose a reliable brand to ensure a good quality, and check the seal of the package and the use-by date to ensure freshness.
• In general, the better the quality of the ingredients, the tastier the curry powder, and the dishes it is used in. So, when making at home, choose high quality spices.
• In India curry powder is used in a variety of subzis, curries and other savoury foods.
• It is used to flavour soups and stews, and does wonders for sauces and marinades.
• For a quick dip to complement fruit and vegetable sticks, blend sour cream or yogurt with curry Powder, marmalade, and thyme!
How to Store
• Curry powder quickly loses its pungency; it should be stored in an air-tight container and used before two months.