With curry powder, like garam masala, everyone has a different blend with countless combinations of spices used to produce an array of flavours suited to particular curries. Curry powder gets its colour, aroma, and distinctive flavour from the dark roasting of its spice components, including coriander, cumin, fennel seeds, fenugreek, and cardamom.
Curry powder usually either comes roasted or unroasted with a few differences in flavour and aroma:
Unroasted curry powder is the typical curry powder found in supermarkets and is traditionally used in Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes or curries. The unroasted version uses lightly dried spiced to get rid of excess moisture and has a more mild and vibrant taste typical of fresh spices.
Curries are generally classified as white: mild and rich in coconut milk; red: rich in chilli powder or ground chillies; or black, in which powered spice mixtures are given a deeper, richer flavour by pan toasting them until they are blackened.
Unroasted curry powder is generally best used in white curries, dahl or vegetable dishes, and some lighter red curries. You wouldn’t want to overpower out the beautiful flavour of coconut milk and the tertiary ingredients.
Roasted curry powder on the other hand is generally best used for the more powerful curry dishes, having an equally powerful flavour and rich, deep aroma. Roasting the various spices over heat deepens the colour and the aroma, allowing for the flavours to hold up next to stronger meat dishes, red and black curries being the most common dishes to use the ingredient.
Try our recipes featuring Curry Powder:
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