Curry Powder & its Enigma

Curry Powder & its Enigma

Curry powder is a blend of Indian Spices, which is a masala mix found out by Britishers trying to mimic the Indian Garam Masala or the masala mixes made in India 😊, But for Curry powder turns out to be much more complex and more spices required, compared to Garam Masala. Its globally used by many people, but still a mystery to many.

When I was living in the UK, first saw curry powder on the shelf and was curious about the curry powder, never heard of this before 😊. Bought the bottle and from there on for the next 3 to 4 years used this for all my curry preparation, it gives a very unique taste, different from all the Indian counterparts we can speak or think of.

You will be surprised to see that Curry powder was a product or Invention of Britishers even though most of the ingredients are from India, In India, we used these spice preparations to store meat and other preparations as we did not have refrigeration before, this was the practice used by the locals in India. It turns out it was difficult to understand the complexity of Indian spice mixes.

 

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One would notice curry was associated/labeled with Indian dishes made with such kind of blend of spices, In Indian household kitchens typically refer to their day-to-day spice blends as “garam masala.” In northern India, In Maharashtra as “goda masala” and many places, the spice mix changes as per region, and typically masalas are freshly ground as per requirement. But in western countries they do not have this kind of practice, they have bottled spice mixtures that are ready to use.

Curry powders also have their variants as peruse and taste, for example, if it’s Spicer and red in color curry powder as it has more chilies it’s called “Vindaloo Curry Powder”, but for stronger yellow tint showing the presence of turmeric it would call as “Madras Curry Powder”.

Indian cuisine is known to use spices mix whose flavors don’t overlap each other, but complement each other in a way of enhancing the flavor and depth of the dish, i.e., for e.g., two or more spices are mixed with different characteristics for curry leaves, coconut, chilies, and onion. Whereas in western countries mostly use of Milk, butter, bread, and cheese, all of which are pillars of Western food, are found to be associated flavor pairings that match or are similar with each other when paired, which are simple and predictable.

Let’s now see what curry powder contains: paprika, cumin powder, fennel seed powder, red pepper powder, coriander powder, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.

In the above mix turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon & clove are 1 tbsp. and ½ tbsp., the other spices are 2 tbsp. and paprika 3 tbsp. i.e., they are in a ratio of 3:2:1. The spice quotient is kept higher and the flavor spices like turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon & clove are kept lower just to give the flavor to the curry powder.

One can notice that with all these ingredients it doesn’t really resemble the masala we prepare in India, as they’re a lot of spices missing in this like bay leaf, black peppercorn and cinnamon is one of the main spices in garam masala, if we see spices used in South Indian cooking it mainly red chilies and dry/fresh coconut and mostly fresh spices are used, that’s the main difference.  But it does definitely give the flavor of curry to the dish we are using it 😊 but in its own style.

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon #blogchatterhalfmarathon



4 thoughts on “Curry Powder & its Enigma”

  • I still haven’t cracked the mystery of curry powder. We don’t normally use it in our Indian kitchens but it is a big hit in the UK and few other countries. I’ve had Curry Wurst in Austria and I think I like that combination of curry sauce with sausages. It differs though with other preparations.

    • I think in Uk it’s a hit because of its unique flavor, which it gives to the dishes when added…never heard of curry wurst……it’s interesting !

  • Yes with the lockdown my interest in curries and indian cooking has expanded manifold and there are so many varieties… though the flavour is different I fail to identify what makes a big difference between pao bhaji masala, garam masala, chole masala and sambar masala.. interesting topic indeed

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