Staple Corner: How to Make Your Own Curry Powder

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
curry powder

Serious cooks who are smitten with Indian cooking should always have a fresh made spice blend of curry powder on hand. While you can get excellent pre-prepared blends at your local Indian grocery store, you can perfect your own version to add extra flair to your dishes. It will keep for several months in a tightly-sealed jar.

Toor dal, curry leaves, fenugreek leaves, asafetida, and all the ingredients found in this recipe are easily available at any Indian grocer.

Homemade Curry PowderHomemade Curry Powder
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on January 7, 2012

Fresh homemade spice blends have a vibrant taste that store-bought varieties just can't match — try this easy-to-make curry powder for a fresh burst of Indian flavor in your dishes

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon toor dal, rinsed and dried
  • 5 to 7 whole dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • generous handful of dried curry leaves
  • 4 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/3 cup ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • pinch of cayenne
  • Heat a teaspoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, toor dal, red chilies, cloves and peppercorns. Stir and fry for about 10 minutes or until the seeds turn a golden brown.

  • Now, toss in the curry leaves, fenugreek leaves, ground coriander, ground cardamom, saffron, asafetida, mustard powder, turmeric and cayenne. Stir and fry for another few minutes.

  • Remove from heat and grind into a smooth powder in a spice or coffee grinder.

  • Stored in a glass jar with a tight seal, this mixture will last for up to 4 months or more.

Makes 1 cup
homemade curry powder

Other spice blends you will likely enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Chat Masala
Sambar Masala
Garam Masala
Chana Masala Powder


Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Just brilliant Lisa!

Johanna GGG said...

I should try this as I am never very keen on the curry powder I buy and use it sparingly as a result - but I always love your spice mixes in curries

janet @ the taste space said...

I've made other spice blends but never curry powder... it sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the recipe, Lisa! :)

niki said...

Hi Lisa, what is toor dal? Is it similar to lentils?

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Niki,

Toor dal is a split legume, so in a sense it is similar to lentils. It is actually the split version of a pigeon pea, and you can easily find dried toor dal in any Indian or Asian grocer (and in many large regular supermarkets as well). If you can't find it, I would suggest yellow split peas instead of lentils.

Here is the information about toor dal from my Indian food glossary page:

Yellow-orange medium-sized split beans with a lovely slightly sweet and nutty flavor, toor dal is among the most popular of dals in India, and is a staple of South Indian kitchens especially. Sold dry or coated in castor oil, toor dal should be rinsed and soaked in hot water for at least 2 hours before cooking, after which it cooks quickly. Easily digestible, toor dal goes well with spices and vegetables, and is the basis of South Indian "sambars".

niki said...

Thanks Lisa, You are always so helpful. I am not sure what I would have done over the past few years if it were not for your blog. Your recipes are always so balanced and tasty :-) I will look at your glossary now as that will be helpful to me too. thanks niki x

Lisa Turner said...

Thanks for your kind words. A very happy new year to you.

Torviewtoronto said...

aromatic blend of spices looks wonderful

Rita said...

Thank you for this recipe. Here is my post with the Kitchenaid I wond. Thanks again.

hotpotcooking said...

wow!! good one.

Mel said...

This is fantastic! I love making spice mixes but have never made curry powder before. I'm bookmarking this to try when my store bought one runs out.

Shirley said...

Hi, just wondered how hot this mix is. I always have used authentic Indian roast curry powders in the past and would like a curry powder of at least Madras strength. Many thanks

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Shirley. My curry powder is fairly hot, as you might guess from the inclusion of dried red chilies. You could add more chilies for extra heat. If you try this mixture, do let me know what you think. Best, Lisa