So you’ve finished your pot and you’re planning to cook your Indian curry, the one that will blow everyone away! You search your closet. You search all your drawers. No more curry powder. Are you considering changing the menu? Why not give these curry powder substitutes a try?
Curry powder is a great addition to sauces, stews, soups, marinades and of course savory savory curries. An East Indian spice, curry powder is a blend of herbs and spices. Although curry powder varies in flavor and taste due to its composition, it remains a complex seasoning that gives your dish a change in smell, smell, taste, color and consistency. And while it’s quite complex, the flavor profile can be replicated. Discover all our curry powder alternatives below!
What is curry powder made of?
Usually curry powder contains cumin, turmeric, coriander, chili, celery, salt, fenugreek and allspice. Indian curry powders usually contain more cardamom while Thai curry powder is heavier on ginger or chili. While ingredients may vary from region to region, curry powder has a base of cumin and roasted coriander. (FIY, this is a good bit of information for when you feel like making your own batch of curry power!)
Sometimes curry powder may contain caraway, ginger, nutmeg, black cardamom, garlic, curry leaves, fennel seeds, and white turmeric. By putting all these spices together, you can see why the taste and aroma range are so complex! What can you replace curry powder with? First, let’s take a look at all the flavors you’ll find in curry powder!
What does curry powder taste like?
Before we jump into the wonderful, fragrant world of curry powder substitutes, let’s talk about all the different flavors curry powder has. Made from many spices, curry powder has a range of flavors. Cumin, turmeric and bay leaf offer a savory, warm and pungent aroma. Cloves and cinnamon contribute with a shiny, sparkling, extra warm taste. Cinnamon also has a sweet taste. And they all bring heavy, earthy, rich and deep flavor profiles. Caraway seeds and cardamom, when added, also bring spice to curry powder, while pepper and chili flakes bring heat.
And let’s not forget the floral, spicy scent of coriander and the fresh scent of turmeric, ginger and fenugreek (if added)! What a kaleidoscope of flavors and tastes that can be found in curry powder! It can be a challenge to find a good replacement!
Eight curry powder substitutes to try!
Since it is an Indian spice blend, substituting curry powder can be overwhelming. Since it puts a lot of aromas together, you would think it would be difficult to find a replacement. That’s why we did the work for you! Here are some simple ingredients you can use to save your recipe.
1. Garam Masala
Is Garam Masala a Good Substitute for Curry Powder? Garam Masala is another spice mix used in Indian cooking. With cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, cumin and cardamom, Garam Masala is close to curry powder, although it can be more intense, with a pungent aroma and a slightly bitter taste. However, it is used to add flavor at the end of the cooking process, to add a finishing touch, while curry is added at the beginning to reveal the aromas.
But if you don’t have curry powder, you can add Garam Masala. Keep in mind that you will get a milder, more delicate taste.
2. Ground Cumin
Ground cumin is one of the best alternatives to curry powder. Chances are you have cumin on hand, even though you may not have curry powder. Although cumin is present in curry powder, it has a different aroma.
Still, you can use it to replace curry powder, as it will mimic the warm, spicy, earthy, spicy, and intense flavors of the latter. It also adds a soft yellowish tone. If you want to bring ground cumin closer to curry powder, add some black pepper and some chili flakes. Extra tip: roasting the cumin seeds before blending them into a powder will enhance the flavors.
3. Curry Paste
Curry paste, although it has a similar name to curry powder, is very different. Don’t let the name fool you! Usually added to Thai dishes, curry paste is a good alternative to curry powder.
It has a bold aroma, mixing chili, garlic, lemongrass, turmeric, shrimp paste, and sea salt, and it will add more pungency and pungency to your dish, but it can also work in stews and curries. You will love the warm, firm aroma. Just be sure to dilute it with some water to achieve a delicate, milder aroma. A tablespoon of curry paste with a tablespoon of water should easily replace a tablespoon of curry powder.
4. Chaat Masala
What can you use if you don’t have curry powder? Chaat Masala is a good option if you are passionate about oriental cuisine and don’t have curry powder, but do have this blend lying around.
Chaat Masala is made from many aromatic plants, herbs and spices such as cumin, coriander, amchoor, ginger, black pepper, fennel, asafoetida, Kala Namak, red chili, tamarind and green mango powder.
This blend is very spicy and has a savory taste, but is also warm and hot. So you may want to use it to add some heat to your dishes. It’s safer to start small and work your way up, as Chaat Masala is much stronger than curry powder and can overwhelm your food.
5. Sambar Powder
If you are passionate about Indian cuisine, chances are you have this spice in your kitchen. Sambar powder is used in many South Indian recipes. It contains cayenne pepper, ground coriander seed, fenugreek, ground ginger, black mustard seed, garlic powder and clove powder. From its spices, you can guess that it is one of the best substitutes for curry powder.
6. Curry Roux
Japanese Curry Roux is made from flour, oil, sugar, salt, curry powder, Garam Masala and cayenne pepper. You can imagine that it is a good substitute for curry powder.
7. Coriander Seeds
Coriander seeds, like turmeric, are an important ingredient in curry powder. They have a fresh, minty, floral scent and a subtle sweetness. While you can add roasted and ground coriander seeds in place of curry powder, adding some roasted ground cumin seeds and chilies to the coriander seeds will make the mixture look more like authentic curry powder.
8. Tandoori Masala
Tandori Masala, usually added to Pakistani and Punjabi dishes, is made from a mixture of ground coriander, ground cumin, garlic powder, ground ginger, ground cloves, ground mace, ground fenugreek, ground cinnamon, black pepper, ground cardamom, and ground nutmeg. How to replace curry powder with Tandoori Masala? It is better to start with just a pinch of this Masala (blend) as it can be powerful. It will also give your dish a rather pink or reddish hue, so that will be different from your usual yellow curry powder tone.
Make your own curry powder: try these mixtures!
If you’re feeling bold and creative, the following blends of aromatic herbs and spices are great subs for curry powder. Just try them!
1. Turmeric + Coriander + Allspice
Can you replace turmeric powder with curry powder? You could when it comes down to it. The good news is that you get the yellow tone of curry. However, to recreate the delicious mix of flavors, you need to supplement the turmeric with a touch of coriander seeds and allspice. And if you want to pack a little more heat, a pinch of chili flakes is enough.
2. Cumin + Allspice
What to use instead of curry powder? Raid the closet! Do you have cumin and allspice? Good! You can also use them together instead of curry powder. Cumin is already part of curry powder and has an earthy, lemony, shiny, intense and spicy taste. Allspice makes the blend even warmer and gives a hint of sweetness. Proportionally, use a teaspoon of cumin + teaspoon of allspice for every teaspoon of curry powder listed in the recipe.
3. Cinnamon + Cloves + Fenugreek + Coriander Seeds + Cumin
If you’re trying to get a medium heat blend but one that packs in a lot of aromas, this one is for you. Mixing equal parts fenugreek, cloves and cinnamon with the base of curry powder, also known as coriander seed and cumin, gives an amazing result.
4. Mustard Seeds + Ground Ginger + Smoked Paprika/Chili Powder + Cumin + Coriander Seeds
Another good curry powder substitute! One with an extra kick of spicy, spicy and shiny tones! For each cup of cumin and coriander seeds, add a tablespoon of ginger and a teaspoon of each of the remaining ingredients.
5. Garam Masala + anise/ground fennel seed
By mixing Garam Masala with some roasted and ground anise or ground fennel seeds you get an intense, sweet and spicy alternative to curry powder. In fact, this is one of the best substitutes for curry powder for sauce-based dishes.
6. Ground cumin + ground coriander + turmeric + ground ginger + cayenne pepper + yellow mustard + ground black pepper
You can make your own curry powder at home by mixing the following ingredients. If you want a stronger flavor, roast the cumin, black pepper, and coriander before grinding.
- 4 tablespoons ground cumin
- 3 ½ tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ginger powder
- 2 tablespoons turmeric powder
- ¼ tablespoon yellow mustard powder
- ¼ tablespoon cayenne pepper
- ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
7. Cumin + Coriander + Turmeric + Ginger
What can you use instead of curry powder when you run out? Well, if you have the ingredients mentioned above, you’re in luck! If you use a teaspoon of each spice, you get a great blend that is resistant to curry powder. Adding a dash of cinnamon, ground cloves, pepper and salt will perfect the mix.
8. Ground Coriander Seeds + Cumin + Turmeric + Chili Powder + Ginger + Black Pepper
To get a perfect DIY curry powder at home, you need to mix the following spices and herbs. To make their flavors even more potent, make sure to toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns before grinding them.
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander seeds
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
The ultimate homemade curry powder recipe
If you’re planning on making your own signature curry powder at home to use while it’s still fresh and aromatic, here’s what you need to get that perfect taste. It helps if every ground ingredient you find below is obtained from the roasted whole ingredient.
- 4 tablespoons ground coriander
- 4 tablespoons ground cumin
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 3 tablespoons ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground peppers
Yes, curry powder has a plethora of flavors, scents, flavors and aromas, revealing themselves in beautiful, explosive ways. But they are no match for your creativity! We’re pretty sure you’ve mastered this now!