British manufacturers developed curry powders in an attempt to provide a ready-made spice mixture equivalent to the kari podi (podi means “powder”) that British colonists became accustomed to in southern India. Essential to the fiery cooking of southern India, sambar podi is the combination of spices that evolved into British-style curry powder. Poudre de Colombo came to the French West Indies with Sri Lankans who were taken there to work on the sugar plantations. Japanese curry powder, under the S&B brand, has been produced since 1923, when Minejiro Yamazaki began blending a well-balanced and sweetly aromatic curry powder especially suited to Japanese tastes. For all curry powders, starting with whole spices and lightly toasting them before grinding yields a more fragrant, fresher mixture.
- 1Combine 3 tablespoons ground coriander; 3 tablespoons besan (chickpea) flour; 1 tablespoon ground cumin; 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground
black pepper; 1 teaspoon each salt, ground fenugreek seeds, amchur powder, dry mustard, and hot red chile powder; 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and turmeric; 8 crumbled dried curry leaves; and 1/4 teaspoon asafetida. Makes about 2/3 cup.
To make a basic curry powder:
- 1Combine 5 tablespoons ground coriander seeds, 2 tablespoons ground cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon ground turmeric, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon
ground cardamom, and 1/2 teaspoon ground chile peppers. Makes about 3/4 cup.
To make poudre de Colombo:
- 1Toast 1/4 cup white rice in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking frequently, until light brown, about 5 minutes. Remove and cool. In the
same skillet, toast 1/4 cup cumin seeds; 1/4 cup coriander seeds; 1 tablespoon each black mustard seeds, black peppercorns, and fenugreek seeds; and 1 teaspoon whole cloves until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Cool the spices, combine with the rice, and grind to a fine powder. Stir in 2 teaspoons turmeric. Makes about 1 cup.