View All Spice Definitions
Information for Curry Powder
Curry powder is a mixture of spices similar to the Indian garam masala and the South Indian sambar. The term curry is believed to have come from the Tamil word, kari.
This spice which is native to Asia and the Middle East was popularized in Europe and the Americas between the 19th and 20th Centuries. It can be composed of up to 20 different spices.
Although the exact composition of curry powder may vary from place to place, some of the more common spices used are cumin, cloves, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, chili, fennel, mace, pepper, saffron, turmeric and nutmeg. Due to the ingredients used curry powder has a distinct dark yellow to bright orange color which is often seen in dishes it is used in.
Contrary to popular belief, not all curry powders are hot. Generally these carry a very strong distinct smell and have a particular flavor with some spiciness but they may not necessarily be hot. As mentioned earlier, the type of curry powder is distinguished by the area it originates from.
Indian curry powder may range from mild to hot while Malaysian curry may be slightly sour. The use of curry powder is not limited to the usual curried meat dish. It can be used in many different ways in varied amounts to suit a person's taste.
Photo Credit: artizone