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There are many things I love about making my own homemade mild yellow curry powder mix.
Firstly, I love knowing exactly what ingredients are going into my mild curry mixture.
No fillers, no additives, no preservatives, no nasties, no nothing!
Just gorgeous mountains of the best, most gloriously scented curry spices.
Which suits me just fine.
Secondly, I love that I get to control the heat of my yellow curry powder.
I’ve never been a big fan of heat, and I think my tolerance for bite may have even gone down over the years.
So these, days, even mild curry mixtures can sometimes be too spicy for my taste buds.
But when I make my own seasoning blend, I get to decide exactly how much heat I add.
Not too much, not too little – my homemade mild curry powder recipe is just right.
No more unpleasantly-singed taste buds for me!
Thirdly, I love how simple and easy my homemade mild curry powder recipe is to make.
Just throw together a bunch of dry curry spices and voila – instant curry powder (in more ways than one).
In fact, this whole recipe came about one day because I ran out of curry powder in the middle of cooking something, and had to get creative to find a substitute for my usual curry powder blend.
So there’s no unusual ingredients in this DIY curry mixture – just the kind of spices and seasonings that most households tend to have in their pantry – cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cayenne and mustard.
Seriously, the longest part of making this curry powder recipe is finding all of the different sized teaspoons in the jumble that is my kitchen drawer!
And lastly, but most definitely not least, is that my homemade mild curry powder tastes fantastic.
It goes really well in all kinds of dishes, and tastes especially good in my raw veggie burgers.
And of course my curry seasoning goes equally well in stews, casseroles, dips and more, or anything that requires a great Indian-style curry taste.
It really is an amazingly versatile and fabulously delicious substitute for curry powder.
So, head off into your kitchen and make your own mild curry powder from scratch today!
Mild Yellow Curry Powder Recipe
Make sure to read the tips below the recipe to get the most out of this homemade mild yellow curry powder mixture.
Homemade Mild Yellow Curry Powder
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Store in an air-tight container and add to your favourite recipes as required.
- Before: -
- During: 5 mins
- After: -
- Need: Teaspoon, small bowl
Tips for making homemade mild curry powder
- Coriander is also called cilantro in some parts of the world, so if you’re having trouble finding ground coriander, you could try looking for ground cilantro powder instead.
- Yellow mustard powder is a dry powder made from yellow mustard seeds, so if you have seeds on hand, but not powder, you could always grind some in a spice or coffee grinder and make your own mustard seed powder.
- Mustard seeds also come in different colours, ranging from white through yellow to brown and black, so if you don’t have any yellow mustard powder on hand, but you do have white or brown mustard powder, then just use this instead. Your curry powder might not be quite as bright yellow, although the turmeric will definitely still help with that.
- Cayenne pepper is a type of chili powder made from the moderately hot cayenne pepper, from the capsicum family. It’s similar to chili powder, but is generally pure dried and ground cayenne peppers, while chili powders may sometimes be a blend of different chili powders and spices. As a result cayenne pepper can often be hotter than chili powder, so keep that in mind if you substitute one for the other.
- This recipe is designed to use dry, ground spices, not fresh ingredients. This makes it quick to throw together because there’s nothing to grind, and helps it to keep really well in the pantry, but it also means that it’s not really raw. However, it does add something special to all kinds of raw recipes, like my raw veggie burgers or my vegan deviled egg filling.
- This really is a very non-spicy curry powder recipe. The cayenne pepper and mustard are what gives it heat (and maybe the ginger a little as well), so if you find that it’s not hot enough for your tastes, feel free to increase the quantity of these ingredients to turn up the heat. You could also substitute a hot chili powder for the cayenne pepper to make the curry powder even hotter. If you want an even milder curry powder, you could decrease the cayenne and mustard, or swap the cayenne pepper for sweet red paprika powder.
- It’s up to you whether you use organic spices or not to make this DIY mild curry powder. There are some fantastic organic spice ranges available these days, and if you want to use as much organic produce as possible, you have some great options. But equally, if you’re not ready to buy organic, remember that you’ll only be using small amounts of this in your dishes anyway, so conventional spices would be fine to use as well.
- You can also double, triple or quadruple this recipe if you use a lot of yellow curry powder in your day-to-day cooking, and use it up quickly. It’s certainly fast and easy to make, and it won’t take much more time to make a bigger batch of your own homemade curry powder.
Yellow curry powder recipe variations
- Curry powder can be made to as individual as you are, so don’t think this is the only way you can make your own curry powder. Use this recipe as a starting point, and increase or decrease amounts, and try substituting ingredients to create your own ideal curry power blend.
- You can definitely swap cayenne pepper for hot chili powder for a hotter blend, or use paprika for an even milder curry powder blend.
- Other ingredients that you might want to experiment with in your yellow curry powder include cinnamon, clove, cardamom, fennel, allspice, black pepper, celery powder and fenugreek. Start with spices that you like, and keep experimenting.
My homemade curry powder recipe budget
Here’s roughly how much this homemade curry powder cost me to make:
|Ground cumin||4 tsp (8g)||$4 / 30g bag||$1.07|
|Ground coriander||3 1/2 tsp (7g)||$4 / 30g bag||$0.93|
|Turmeric powder||2 tsp (5g)||$4 / 40g bag||$0.50|
|Ground ginger||1 tsp (2g)||$4 / 30g bag||$0.27|
|Mustard powder||1/2 tsp (0.5g)||$4 / 30g bag||$0.07|
|Cayenne pepper||1/2 tsp (0.5g)||$4 / 30g bag||$0.07|
|TOTAL||23g||$126.09 / kg||$2.90|
- All prices are in Australian dollars
- Your costs may vary quite a bit depending on whether you buy in small or large quantities, as conventional or organic, and the time of year.
- Although the various spice ingredients in this curry powder recipe are reasonably expensive per kilogram, because you’re using such small amounts, this curry mixture ends up being pretty inexpensive to make, at just $2.90 for the whole recipe.
- When you use a teaspoon or two in your next recipe, each of which weighs about 2 grams, that’s only going to cost you 25 to 50 cents, which is very reasonable for an ingredient that can transform a bland recipe into something amazing!
FAQs about making your own yellow curry powder
- What is curry powder?
- What’s in curry powder?
- What does curry powder taste like?
- Is curry powder spicy?
- How to use yellow curry powder
- How much curry powder to use
- How to make curry with curry powder
- Curry paste vs curry powder
- Curry powder substitutes
- How long does homemade yellow curry powder keep?
- Where can you find the ingredients for making your own mild curry powder?
What is curry powder?
Curry powder is a blend of finely ground spices used to add flavour to dishes. Curry powder can be made in hot, medium or mild strengths and is most often used to make curries, curry sauces and other Indian dishes.
The classic “curry powder” was invented in Britain, and was inspired by the local cuisine in India, where there are lots of unique curry blends, such as garam masala. Most Western curry blends are a more general spice mixture that uses some standard curry powder ingredients.
What’s in curry powder?
Most curry powder blends contain coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili at a minimum, although no two curry powder blends are the same. Other common ingredients in curry powder recipes include ginger, fenugreek, garlic, mustard and black pepper.
Curry powder blends may also contain cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, clove, nutmeg, bay leaf and caraway. Interestingly, curry spice mixes generally don’t contain curry leaves.
What does curry powder taste like?
Curry powder adds a warm, earthy flavour to dishes, transforming a bland recipe into a flavour-packed experience.
The spices typically used in curry powder recipes add both sweet and savoury notes, while mustard and pepper-based spices add heat. Spices like cumin and turmeric add depth to a curry blend, while cinnamon and clove add brighter notes.
The ideal curry blend is well-balanced, and is only as hot as you like it.
Is curry powder spicy?
Curry powder usually includes pepper, chili or mustard, all of which add heat and make curry powder spicy. However, curry powder recipes vary widely and are available in a range of heats, from sweet and mild curry powders that generally use black pepper or paprika (red pepper) for their heat, to super hot curry blends with lots of chili powder, ginger and cayenne pepper.
The heat of a curry powder blend can also be influenced by the region of the world they come from, with the hottest originating from Southern India and Asia.
Keep in mind that if you make your own curry powder, you can easily control the heat to suit your taste buds.
How to use yellow curry powder
Curry powder is generally added to meat and vegetables dishes to add flavour and interest. You can add curry powder to a range of dishes including soups, stews, stir-fries, sauces and marinades.
The different ways to use curry powder are almost limitless.
How much curry powder to use
The amount of curry powder to use depends on the dish you’re making and the heat of your curry powder, but typical recipes include 1 to 4 teaspoons. Be careful not to add too much curry powder to your recipe, as it can make your dish overly hot, bitter and potentially inedible. (Trust me, I know!).
You may get better results if you blend your curry powder with water before adding it to your dish (although that depends on what you’re making) and make sure to allow lots of cooking time for the flavours to develop.
How to make curry with curry powder
Most curry recipes follow a similar process when you’re making a curry using curry powder.
First, you saute your onions until browned and translucent, and then you add your spices and curry powder blend and saute briefly to bring out the flavours.
Then you add your protein ingredient, such as chicken or tofu, along with tomato paste, stock, yoghurt, coconut milk or other liquid ingredients to suit your dish. You then simmer the curry for 20-30 minutes, or until all ingredients are fully cooked, and serve over rice.
To make a basic curry sauce, saute onion in butter or coconut oil, add garlic, curry powder, flour, stock and blended tomatoes or coconut milk and simmer on low heat stirring constantly until thickened.
Curry paste vs curry powder
Curry paste is a blend of spices combined with fresh ingredients, such as garlic, ginger, red chilies or lime, and vegetable oil. It is a wet paste, and generally has a much more intense flavour than curry powder, which is a blend of dry ground spices.
Although curry paste and curry powder do share some common ingredients, their flavours are very different, and they are typically used to make quite different dishes.
Curry paste is typically used in Thai dishes, while curry powder is used in Indian-style cooking.
Curry powder is better when you’re new to curry dishes, or making milder, long-cooked stews, and as an addition to a dish. Curry paste is better for seasoned curry-lovers and richly-flavoured soups, and as the base of an entire dish.
Curry powder lends itself to being used in a much wider range of dishes, and is generally more widely available than curry paste, although can always make your own.
Curry powder substitutes
If you find yourself without any curry powder on hand, the best substitute for curry powder is generally to make your own curry blend, as in the curry powder recipe above. But if you don’t have most of the ingredients for curry powder on hand, you can use a mix of ground cumin and coriander as a quick replacement.
If you’re wondering whether you can substitute curry powder for curry paste, the answer is generally no, as the flavour profiles are very different. But if you’re in a pinch, you can swap them out, being very careful to add just the right amount, to create a final dish that tastes very different from the original.
If you don’t like the taste of store-bought curry blends in your dishes, then making your own curry powder will allow you to create a mixture that you like. You could try using garam masala, which is more traditional Indian curry spice blend, with a very different flavour profile. Other possible spices to try as curry powder substitutes include allspice and cumin and chaat masala.
If none of those options appeals, remember that you’re aiming to add flavour and depth to dishes when using curry powder, so consider adding other strong flavoured powders, including stock powder, mushroom powder or vegetable powders. Ultimately you’ll have to experiment until you find a taste that you like.
How long does homemade yellow curry powder keep?
Because this curry powder recipes uses dried spices, so long as you store your curry powder mixture in an air-tight container in a cool place out of direct sunlight, it should keep for months.
As a general rule, ground spices keep for 2 to 3 years, so your curry powder should last for a similar period of time, although the flavour may decrease in intensity over time.
If you want to make sure that your curry seasoning retains the maximum flavour for as long as possible, then you might want to store it in the refrigerator, or even the freezer.
And to make sure that your homemade curry powder doesn’t go to waste, make sure that you only make as much curry mixture as you’re likely to use in about a 12 month period.
Where can you find the ingredients for making your own mild curry powder?
For years I bought my dried spices and herbs from my local supermarket, and many of them have a pretty good range of herbs and spices.
In more recent years, I’ve been slowly converting my spices across to organic versions of things, and exploring all of the different places that I can buy the necessary ingredients to make my own DIY curry powder.
Here’s a list of the many different places that I’ve managed to find these tasty curry spices over the years:
- My local supermarket
- My local greengrocer
- My local health food store
- My local asian/indian food store
- My local delicatessen
- My favourite online health stores
- Online herbal suppliers
So if you’re having trouble finding any one or more of these ingredients to make your own yellow curry powder, then use my list as inspiration for other places that you could look.
My inspiration for this mild curry powder recipe
I developed this recipe one day when I was smack bang in the middle of cooking something (a veggie casserole I think) and discovered that I was completely out of my usual shop-bought curry powder.
Being too lazy to drive to the shops to get more, I decided to make my own curry powder blend (any excuse to get creative in the kitchen!) as a substitute for my usual mixture.
I looked at a few different curry blend recipes – especially mild ones – and ended up with this amazing homemade mild curry powder concoction that has served me well for many years.
It’s now one of my kitchen staples, and it almost seemed too simple to bother sharing.
But then I remembered how hard I found it at the time to figure out how to make my own homemade curry powder, so I hope you’ll find it as useful as I have.
And hopefully this mild yellow curry powder recipe will become a staple in your home too!
Yellow curry powder resources
To understand more about the different types of mustard seeds, check out these article on the types of mustard:
Here’s a couple of great articles that explain the difference between chili powder and cayenne pepper:
- Cayenne Pepper Vs. Chili Powder: PepperScale Showdown @ Pepper Scale
- Confused about cayenne pepper, chili powder and paprika @ Chowhound
If you don’t have any ground cumin, here’s some ideas for substitutes that might work:
- The Best Substitutes for Cumin @ Spruce Eats
And finally, to understand all about curry powder and the infinite variations that are possible, check out these articles:
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Have a spectacular day!
~ Nikki, Eating Vibrantly