This Madras curry powder is a great all-purpose blend appropriate for many kinds of Indian food. It uses curry leaves which are optional, but if you can get hold of some I can recommend them. They're inexpensive, and I think they add a touch of authenticity to your food. (See the bottom of the page for other recipes)
What You'll Need: (makes about 7-8 tablespoons)
3 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
4 tsp hot chili powder
2 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp paprika powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp ginger powder
2 tsp salt (see note 2 below)
1 tsp asafetida powder
2 inch piece cinnamon
20-30 dried curry leaves (optional)
tbsp = tablespoon
tsp = teaspoon
Store your Madras curry powder in an airtight jar in a cool place and out of direct sunlight. Use within 3 months before making another lot.
Note: You could dry toast the peppercorns, cumin, coriander and fenugreek seeds before grinding and combining to release more flavours and aromas. See the grinding page for step-by-step info on this. (Link opens in new window)
Note 2: Whilst regular table salt is perfectly fine to use, I do recommend using a quality salt: sea/rock/flakes etc, as these are usually less processed and I think add better flavour to your homemade blends.
Ingredient Note: When making your Madras powder, I usually recommend using as many whole ingredients as you can. If you don't have them all, substitute with pre-ground powders, but halve the amount the recipe says. For example, instead of 3 tablespoons of coriander seeds you would use 1½ tablespoons of pre-ground coriander. Reduce any others you don't have whole by half as well and stir in with the other pre-ground ingredients when making.
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Of course you buy a jar from the store, but if you value delicious home cooking then why not have a go at making your own?
The way I see it there are a few downsides to store-bought blends...
So make a Madras curry powder yourself and you're in control of what goes in. Don't like a certain ingredient? Leave it out or swap for another. On a low salt diet for whatever reason? Reduce the salt or leave it out completely. Want more heat? Add an extra teaspoon or two of chili powder etc.