Unable to find a great commercial curry powder, talented cook and friend Sandy Gluck divined her way thorough an array of spices to make this curry powder, with its lovely balance of sweet pungent flavors. Use it in any recipe that calls for curry powder, or to crust panfried shrimp and scallops.
When I do stumble across a decent commercial curry powder, usually at an Indian food market or from a fine spice store like Penzey’s, I note that invariably, the list of spices on the label begins with either coriander or cumin seeds. I have found that turmeric is usually the main ingredient in inferior curry powders. This inexpensive, rather one-dimensional spice with an appealing yellow color is often used to extend more expensive ones.
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1½ teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a small heavy skillet, combine the coriander, cumin, and peppercorns and toast over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining spices.
Scrape the spices into a blender container or spice grinder and blend for at least 1 minute at high speed, until you have the finest-possible powder. Let the mixture settle for about 30 seconds before removing the cover, so the fine powder does not fly into the air.
Use a dry pastry brush to press the powder through a strainer into a clean dry container. Blend and strain the larger bits again.
Store in a tightly sealed jar away from light for up to 3 months.
Fiery Curry Powder.
Increase the peppercorns to 2 teaspoons and add ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes after the spices are toasted.
Nutritional information is based on 5 servings.