Written for Spice Station Silverlake by: Amanda Csolak
If you find yourself confused about curry powder, you’re certainly not alone. This diverse spice blend varies significantly in flavor, brand, and even color. It’s a versatile ingredient, featuring in a wide range of dishes—from elevating deviled eggs to enhancing dry rubs and enriching roasted sweet potatoes. I’ve used curry powder in many dishes, and it is one of my favorite spice blends to keep in my kitchen among my arsenal of spices
Interestingly, the term “curry” was originally popularized by British colonists to encapsulate a broad spectrum of Indian flavors and dishes. In its traditional Indian context, curry usually refers to a saucy dish comprised of meats or vegetables, often with a tomato or coconut base. While curry powder may not be a staple in authentic Indian cuisine, it has undeniably made a significant impact on Western culinary practices and spice collections.
Here we will dive into the subject of curry. Read more to learn about what goes into a curry powder, the various types of curry, how to use it, and where you can find the best curry anywhere, Hint it’s not in your local store in the spice aisle.
Curry Powder – What’s In It?
There are many different types of curry powder all around the world. Most consist of turmeric, ginger, cumin, and black pepper. Some blends also contain garlic and cinnamon. While these various curry powders can have differing flavors, one thing they all share in common is a pleasant pungency and a sweet warmth to any dish.
Types Of Curry Powder
While the Indian-inspired variety may receive the lion’s share of attention, curry powders from other parts of the world offer their own distinct flavor profiles. For instance, Thai curry powder incorporates elements like lemongrass and lime leaves, lending a tangy kick to dishes. On the other hand, Caribbean blends tend toward a sweeter palette, incorporating spices such as anise and allspice for a unique flavor profile. Garam masala is a Southern Indian spice blend that is comparable to curry powder, but it uses spices that offer more pungency, such as nutmeg, cloves and black cardamom. All of these spice blends and other varieties of curry powder can be found at my personal favorite spice shop, Spice Station Silverlake.
Using Curry Powder
Keeping curry powder in your pantry is a smart move for versatile cooking. Whether you’re roasting a sheet pan of vegetables or pan-frying some salmon, a sprinkle of this dynamic spice can really elevate the dish. Its complex flavors breathe new life into soups and stews, and it can make staples like potatoes and seafood suddenly feel fresh and exciting.
Take it from me, if you’ve been following my cooking journey you know I love trying new recipes and new spices, so of course utilizing only one of these blends of curry powder is simply not enough for this foodie.
Where To Find The Best Curry From Around The World
Sure you can find curry in your local grocery store, but it might not be the best curry. To find the best curry from around the world you don’t have to look too hard, because I know exactly where you can find it. Spice Station Silverlake has spices from all over the world. Proudly offering over ten different types like curry blends from the Caribbean, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, and Thailand. They also carry both a French/Belgium blend and a French Caribbean curry mix originating from Guadeloupe.
Jamaican Curry Chicken Recipe
A delicious Jamaican dish incorporating coconut milk, potatoes and a few unique spices.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 breasts)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, very finely chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, very finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 4 1/4 tablespoons Mama Maria’s Jamaican Curry blend
- 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced
- 1 15-ounce can light coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce plus additional to taste
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Prepared rice of your choice. I prefer basmati rice but you may use jasmine, long grain white, or brown rice. Additionally there are gluten free alternatives like quinoa, and cauliflower rice if you prefer.
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Set aside.
- In a Dutch oven or similar deep, sturdy pot, heat the oil over medium. Once it is hot, add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in the red bell pepper, jalapeños, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
- Add curry powder, turmeric, allspice, and cayenne. Cooking, stirring constantly, until spices turn deep gold and become ultra fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the chicken and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often. It should look golden on the outside but does not need to be completely cooked through.
- Add the potatoes. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, Worcestershire, vinegar, and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer, reducing the heat to low as needed, until the chicken is tender and cooked through, the potatoes are tender, and sauce has slightly reduced, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir every few minutes to keep the sauce from sticking.
- Taste and season with additional salt or hot sauce as desired. Serve hot over rice, with a big sprinkle of cilantro.