As I mentioned in Part 1 of this mini-series, about making authentic restaurant-style Indian curries, a key ingredient is the spice mix powder. This is used for making the curry base – or gravy (I’ll cover this in the next part). It is also used in conjunction with chili powder (for heat) and often a commercial Madras powder when putting it all together and cooking your Indian curry.
You can make this spice mix powder ahead of time and keep it in a sealable jar. Then it’s ready to be deployed for curries or spicy rice, or in fact you can use it as a seasoning for whatever you want.
If you decide you’ve got something that tastes a little bland, sprinkle with this seasoning to give it a spicy and exotic flavor. My recipe does not use salt because when making other recipes (curries, etc) I like to keep control so I don’t add too much! Here’s the recipe I’m using at the moment.
Mild and Highly Spiced Indian Mix Powder
- 4 tbsp turmeric powder
- 3 tbsp coriander powder
- 3 tbsp paprika (sweet, not smoked)
- 2 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp fenugreek (methi) leaves (dried, crushed)
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder (or granules)
- 0.5 tsp fenugreek powder
- 0.5 tsp ginger powder
- 0.5 tsp green cardamom powder
- 0.5 tsp hot chili powder (optional)
This recipe makes a nice sized batch, which you can store in a clean instant coffee jar or some other suitable container. I do like to add just a touch of chili powder, as most of the curries I make are quite hot. If you love spicy flavors but are not a huge fan of lip-tingling chili, you can omit the chili powder.
I’ve decided to keep this blog post deliberately short today, with just the salient information, so you can dig out all the ingredients and start combining them to make your mix powder.
As I said in Part 1, this mix will play a role in many of the future Indian style recipes that I post to this site – so keep a lookout for those!
Finding the Ingredients
Most of the ingredients are common enough to find in your local grocery store or supermarket. Some have ethnic aisles where you can find lots of wonderful spices, sauces and other delicious ingredients. You might have to rummage around the internet to find some of the rarer spices.
The UK certainly has plenty of Asian stores, hidden away like gems, where you can buy all types of spices. For US readers, I dug out a website which looks to have a giant selection of spices – The Great American Spice Co. – if you’re struggling to source your spices Stateside, give them a try.
What’s Up Next?
Next time, I’ll show you how to make a rich and delicious curry base gravy. Again, it’s a good idea to take the hassle out of curry-making by making a stock batch. Then you can split it into portions and freeze them individually for later use. Here’s Part 3 – Making the Base Gravy.
I have been rummaging around the internet looking for great information and ideas on British Indian Restaurant recipes. There are some awesome resources out there. One such example is Misty Ricardo’s Youtube channel. It’s worth checking it out!
As ever, I’ve tried experimenting with some of his recipes – I’m always trying out new ideas, and I’d definitely urge you to do the same.
Similar But Different – and More Control For You
His mix powder is different from the one above, and I thought it worth making a chronicle of it here. It’s a simpler spice combination than mine, so you might like it for its simplicity. Just six ingredients instead of eleven. And it makes sense in a way. If you’re looking for a VERY different taste to each type of curry, you’re going to need a smaller set of common spices. Then you can vary the other ones with more control.
Here’s Misty Ricardo’s mix powder recipe:
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1.5 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 0.5 tbsp paprika
- 1.5 tbsp Madras curry powder
- 0.33 tsp garam masala
And here’s his video, showing you how to do it. You can use store bought cumin and coriander powder, but for best results, use the whole spices and grind them yourself.
The suggestion at the end of the video to check out the BIR recipes and chat forum is one I commend to you too. I joined fairly recently and it’s got a bunch of great people all seriously into their curry-making. It’s almost exclusively British Indian Restaurant info, but with a section on other curries as well.
As it is a forum, you’ll need to join up and say hi to get your mitts on the delicious recipes: BIRCurries.co.uk