Kitchen Cupboard Curry


Vegetarian Planet

Published by Harvard Common Press

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

You may have heard that the curry powders sold in super-markets are a far cry from those made in Indian kitchens. Once you try making your own curry powder, you’ll see that this is true. Supermarket brands often use too much turmeric, which doesn’t have a lot of flavor or aroma. Also, curry bought in a store could be months old. If you put your homemade curry powder beside the commercial product and took in a large whiff, you wouldn’t think they were the same thing. So if you enjoy curry dishes, it’s definitely worth blending your own spice mix.

NotesCrazy for Curry

There are hundreds of ways to use curry powder. Here are just a few ideas:

• Whisk curry powder into olive oil, and toss vegetables in the mixture before roasting or grilling them.

• Add a pinch or two of curry powder to pasta dishes. (I like to combine curry, olive oil garlic, a squeeze of lemon, and broccoli with hotpasta.)

• Add curry powder to chutneys and ketchups as they cook.

• Sprinkle a little curry powder into vinaigrettes and other dressings.

• Add curry powder to hummus.



Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Halal, Kosher, Lactose-free, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

EquipmentMortar And Pestle, Spice Grinder

Taste and TextureSpiced

Type of DishCondiments, Dry Rub


  • 1 tablespoon black or brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, or 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper


  1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds. Shake the skillet over the heat continuously so that the seeds cook evenly. When the mustard seeds turn gray and all the seeds are fragrant, remove the pan from the heat.

  2. Grind the toasted seeds in a spice grinder or mortar along with the fenugreek and cardamom. Transfer the mixture to a container with a tight-fitting lid, and stir in the turmeric and black pepper. In a sealed container, curry powder will keep for at least 2 months.


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