Indian Essentials: Madras Curry Powder for Quick Anglo-Indian Flavours

I grew up with Keens Madras Curry Powder, the Australian introduction to the flavours of India. It was used for all sorts of Western dishes that home cooks believed were enhanced by a bit of spice and heat. It is still used by many to provide a generic curry base to English style curries and in general to add colour and spice to any non-Indian dish. Thankfully those who do cook more traditional Indian food (at least in Australia) generally grind their own spice blends that are specific to the dish. For anyone interested, this recipe is similar to the Madras Curry Powder of old.

Actually, Madras curry powder is not a traditional Indian spice blend while it does use Indian ingredients. It was originally a selection of ingredients that were designed to suit English colonial tastes, and differs quite a bit from the spice blends used in Tamil Nadu and South India.

Madras Curry Powder gets its heat from Indian chillies and black pepper, and has a lot of turmeric which provides an intense yellow colour. Spices like fenugreek and cumin provide much of the flavour. Use in lentil and vegetable dishes, as well as soups, dips, and slow cooked bean dishes. Add it to coconut milk, pureed tomatoes or tamarind water, to form a base for any dish.

There are many different blends for Madras Curry Powder. Here is one that I particularly like.

Similar recipes include What is Curry Powder?, Sri Lankan 5 Spice Curry Powder,  and Malay Curry Powder.

Browse all of our Curry Powder Spice Mixes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here.
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