Differences in Curry Powder
I just saw a recipe for Prawn Curry that calls for Madras Curry Powder. In my spice shelf I only have Jamaican style curry that I've had for years and don't really care for it the times I've cooked with it. However I do like curry dishes so I'm wondering if maybe the different curry varieties vary significantly? Is there a particular curry powder that can be used well for all dishes worldwide?
" Is there a particular curry powder that can be used well for all dishes worldwide?"
short answer - no.
longer answer - there are as many curries as their are cooks. a curry is a masala - a mic - of spices... best to make your own really
There is a big difference. I bought some inexpensive (say CHEAP) curry powder and the dish was seriously lacking in flavor. I bought a can in the Asian market and it is great!
I could write a book to answer this question – I will try to be succinct as other posters have said curry powder is a mix of different spices. There are also different styles of curry / curry powder and curries vary greatly from region to region and from country to country (compare Thai green curries vs Indian yellow curries)
Technically speaking madras curry comes from southern India and is usually a spicier curry that has a redder color due to ground chilies being added into the spice mix. However, as with most ethnic food much of what we call madras curry powder in the states is just a regular mix of curry powder.
For people who want a good brand of pre-mixed curry powder I suggest the sun brand madras curry powder. It is not as hot as most but the flavor is excellent, I find many people who I have hooked on this cannot go back to any other pre-mixed brand of curry powder.