Introduction: Proper Spicy Curry Powder - Without Chili!

Picture of Proper Spicy Curry Powder - Without Chili!

Many people think chilli is a spice; many in fact think it is the only spice! I don't; I think it is a wrecker of flavour and destroyer of taste buds. Many years ago a friend of mine at university showed me how to make curry powder. Like me, she didn't like chilli. It isn't necessary - recipe is nice and spicy, and has some heat, but allows the subtle, complex depth and combination of curry flavours to come through. It is worth the time and effort to mix your own blend for this reason alone. Because the blend keeps well, especially when kept in an airtight jar, the time exerted will repay you many times over!

Step 1: Ingredients List

Picture of Ingredients List

As you will see from this first photograph you need a selection of spices ...yes, proper spices, and as you will see, there is no chilli amongst them!

What you need:

  • Cloves (I buy whole cloves and grind them myself)
  • Nutmeg (again, whole ones, I grate them myself)
  • Fenugreek *
  • Cardamon *
  • Fennel
  • Ginger (dried and ground - it keeps well so that's how I buy it)
  • Cinnamon (again dried and ground)
  • Garlic powder
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin (dried and ground)
  • Coriander (dried and ground)
  • Salt

Those marked with an *asterisk may be left out if you can't get hold of them - but do try to, as they help to create a good, well rounded flavour.

Step 2: Cloves

Picture of Cloves

As I said earlier, I grind my cloves as I need them. I've re-purposed an old pepper mill, so that I can grind them without any fuss any time I need them.

You will need about a teaspoonful of cloves.

Step 3: The Essential Oils

Picture of The Essential Oils

The next spices we are going to add are valued for their essential oils.

You need to grate about one teaspoon of nutmeg. Use a small grater and try to scrape all the spice from the grater. You do not want to waste any. Empires have been built and wars waged over this little spice. It deserves respect!

Half a teaspoon of fenugreek is enough, and about the same of cardamon. These are both slightly peppery and add interesting flavours when mixed into the curry powder.

A good teaspoon of fennel completes this section.

Gently mix the five spices together, pulling them from the edges to ensure that everything is mixed thoroughly.

Step 4: The Flavour Ravers

Picture of The Flavour Ravers

Ginger add a gentle warmth to the mix. Dried ground root ginger does not have the fire and zing of fresh root ginger, but I am not aiming for a Chinese or Thai style curry here. Use one teaspoon of ginger.

Cinnamon comes in many grades of quality. I have found that cheap supermarket brands are inferior. As you can see, I use a well heaped teaspoon of this brand of cinnamon. If you are using a superior quality of cinnamon, you can reduce this to a level teaspoon.

Chopped garlic powder is used for convenience, as it saves having to prepare fresh each time we cook. Add one teaspoon.

Step 5: The Earthy Notes

Picture of The Earthy Notes

Curry is usually a nice cheerful golden yellow colour. That's because is has turmeric in it. Use three teaspoons of turmeric.

I also add three teaspoons of cumin. Cumin is used a lot in Indian cookery, but also in a lot of Mexican foods like enchiladas.

Coriander adds a lemony zest to the mix. Again, add three teaspoons.

I try not to add too much salt, 1/4 to half a tea-spoon is more than enough to enhance the spice flavours while maintaining one's blood pressure!

Step 6: ...having Said That...

Picture of ...having Said That...

As you can see, my arsenal does include some peppers! I have black pepper, paprika and cayenne. To add warmth you can add any of these to your taste. I add 1/4 teaspoon of paprika to the mix.

When I was 40 one of my Cousins bough me a really great spice rack with 18 jars of herbs and spices. One of those was ground bay leaves. That has long been used, fortunately bay grows readily in my back garden (...and my front garden!!!) so I occasionally harvest, dry and rough-ground my own bay leaves. Accordingly, I only need about 1/2 a spoon-full. Purists may argue that Bay is not part of the mix, but hey, I think it add a certain something.

Step 7: Finishing Off

Picture of Finishing Off

Carefully mix all the spices (and herbs) on the saucer then carefully pour them into a dry jar. Replace the lid then gently tumble the ingredients together for a few minutes.

Then put it into a cool, dark, dry cupboard for at least a day to allow all the essential oils and flavours to combine.

Most dishes will need only about 4 teaspoons of powder to add flavour and colour, but if your taste-buds are lacking, you may need to use up to six. Add after browning off meat and/or vegetables, turn the heat well down, add the curry powder and gently roast it for about two minutes before adding stock and simmering for a couple of hours. Add some coconut milk and simmer for a half-hour or more before serving.

Enjoy!

Comments

JohnE12 made it! (author)2015-08-25

I've remixed the curry power and used it to spice up uninspiring left-overs :- https://www.instructables.com/id/Spice-up-uninspiring-leftovers/

seamster (author)2015-07-27

This looks great. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

JohnE12 (author)seamster2015-08-07

You are most welcome. Please enjoy ... we do!

KerryW (author)2015-07-27

This looks wonderful! I love curry

JohnE12 (author)KerryW2015-08-07

Thank you for your kind comment. As you can see, I used up quite a good peg of it in a chicken curry shortly after writing up that Instructable.... time my Son got in from work he was ravenous and polished off the lot, complete with two naan breads and three slices of white bread!

Edbed (author)2015-07-27

Looks tasty

JohnE12 (author)Edbed2015-08-07

Thanks ...trust me it is! And your mouth will still be alive afterwards!

baysel (author)2015-07-29

Thank you, I've been looking for a good curry recipe, after I had one at an ashram.

JohnE12 (author)baysel2015-08-07

Thank you for your kind comment "good curry recipe"... we never have any left over...

malitam (author)2015-07-27

wow.. I find most store-bought curries to be useless. I think I have all of these spices and I can't wait to Try this. thanks for sharing!

JohnE12 (author)malitam2015-08-07

You are welcome... I've been browsing the shelves at my local supermarket and "Medium Madras" seems to be the closest fit ...but of course I leave out the chilli... enjoy!

About This Instructable

5,438views

52favorites

License:

Bio: Hey, in 1968 I wanted to be an Electronic Engineer. I graduated from Middlesex University (Enfield Campus - North London) when it was still a polytechnic ... More »
Add instructable to: