Curry powder is one ingredient with all the potential to bring up the enchanting flavors of India effortlessly. Furthermore, this curry powder mix became essential in most households worldwide.
You choose any food, a dish loaded with vegetables or a meal packed with meat. Simply add the curry powder, and be ready to witness its enhancements to a dish(like this curry aioli).
Every spoonful of the curry powder is packed with bold flavors that could instantly flavor up and provide a facelift to the food, including simple steamed veggies(like these spiced brussel sprouts)
What is curry powder?
If you are here and reading this post, possibly you already know what curry powder is.
Curry powder is a flavorful spice blend made with warm Indian ingredients, mainly red chili, coriander seeds, cinnamon fenugreek, bay leaves, etc.
Curry powder is a generic term. Its flavor and taste vary between countries or continents. And it's not a surprise that every family has its own recipe for making curry powder.
In other words, there are no strict rules for the list of ingredients and the process of making the curry powder. The basic idea is to keep this spice blend full-bodied with more punch with a kick.
What is in curry powder?
Curry powder is usually added to a recipe to amplify its taste, give a body to the food, and flare up some extra flavors. Conventionally, the curry powder is made with coriander, cumin, peppercorns, red chilies, fenugreek, turmeric powder, bay leaves, and cinnamon.
What could be the best substitute for the curry powder?
Curry is one of the staple dishes in India, Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan, and other eastern countries. It has transformed into different forms according to the region.
It's difficult to state one spice blend as the best replacement for the curry powder. The curry powder is unique and made with multiple flavorful spices.
And no single ingredient could match the authentic flavors of the curry powder. However, we can assist you in choosing the closest possible substitute to make your food delightful.
Though the following substitutions may not provide a replica of the curry powder’s flavor, these are still lovely, delectable condiments that can meet your expectations.
This aroma intensifier has natural flavoring agents like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and star anise.
About 60% of the ingredients are standard in curry powder and garam masala. Hence, garam masala is the best substitute for bringing up rich Indian flavors. And this replacement works well in the recipes like gravy dishes.
The sambar powder is a spice blend used to make Dal curries. Sambar powder has everything curry powder has except the aromatic spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or bay leaves.
So, if you are substituting curry powder with sambar powder, compliment it with bay leaves and ground cinnamon to match the curry powder perfectly.
Tandoori masala is made with ground coriander, red chili, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, dry mango, cloves, and Maze. This spice mix has everything: the heat, the tanginess from dry mango powder, and the mild sweetness from the cinnamon.
This works as a great substitute for the BBQ recipes. Tandoori masala is more robustly flavored than the traditional curry powder.
And a heads up-this tandoori masala could be the best marinade mix for your grilling recipes.
Thai red curry paste
Thai curry paste is a wholesome marinade. Traditionally made with coriander, red chili, shallots, lemongrass, galangal root, and more spices.
Curry powder is made with Indian-inspired spices, whereas Thai curry paste is made with Thailand-inspired ingredients. Works as a good substitute in making curry recipes.
Thai yellow curry paste
Also works excellently the same as Thai red curry paste. It's made with turmeric, coriander, red chili, fennel, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, shallot, garlic, ginger, and galangal.
Works as a good substitute for the curry powder.
There is a common misconception that curry powder and chat masala are the same. But it is not.
The curry powder and chat masala has a different flavor profile. However, it is a substitute for bringing about the South Asian characters.
Chickpea curry masala
Suppose you have been to the Indian store and are confused with the different spice mixes. And this is the only spice mix you have in hand. Keep calm, and feel free to substitute with the curry powder.
Though chickpea curry masala’s aroma differs with every brand, each one tastes delicious in its way.
Chinese 5-spice blend
The Chinese five-spice blend is another excellent option for replacing the curry powder in gravy recipes. This is usually made with star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon, cumin, and Sichuan pepper.
In curry powder, red chilies are infused for the heat. In the Chinese five-spice blend, Sichuan pepper is added to provide the heat.
Works perfectly in Asian curry recipes.
Cumin and coriander powder mix
If you have cumin and coriander powder at home, you need not worry about searching for the curry powder substitution.
Swap them for the same quantity. For instance, if the recipe requires one teaspoon of curry powder. Then, replace it with half a teaspoon of ground coriander and half a teaspoon of ground cumin.
This could be the easiest and most fabulous option that will not disappoint you.
Make your curry powder
Blending your curry powder spice mix is not as difficult as you think.
The spice mix is good to make instantly in less than five minutes if all the ingredients are handy.
Making it at home is the best way to cut down the cost. On top of it, homemade blends are highly customizable to our personal preferences.
The ingredients needed are mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, bay leaf, coriander seeds, cinnamon, red chili pepper, and turmeric powder.
Dry roast them in a pan over medium heat, for about 3-5 minutes.
And grind them in the spice jar, until it turns to a powder. Store it in an airtight container, and this is good to use for up to 3-5 months.
To get a detailed description, you may refer to this Madras curry powder recipe.