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Feb 3, 2013 02:33 PM

Yellow curry powder help

I recently purchased some really nice yellow curry powder from a gourmet spice shop. I have made "curried chicken salad" and "coconut curry chicken soup" But tonight would like a nice main curry dish. I have white fish, cauliflower, snap peas, tomatoes (home canned), coconut milk, all basic pantry and fridge staples. I was anticipating serving over rice. Does anyone have a recipe or can they steer me in the right direction? All the ones I seem to find use a paste.

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  1. If I were doing this, I would fry some onions and then add the curry powder and fry for a bit until flavorful - add a little water if you think it is getting too hot - if your coconut milk is separated in the can with the thick, oily milk on top, you can use this in the frying too. then add the coconut milk and perhaps a little broth - cook until you see the oil coming out on top and then add your other ingredients. for long enough to cook them to crisp doneness (say, 10 min for the fish). garnishing with some cilantro always helps lift the flavor of this kind of dish (along with the onions).

    1 Reply
    1. re: jen kalb

      i second jen kalbs method. my mom hated using those blocks for our curry. in japan, those curry blocks are popular but have a ton of additives so mom made it with S&B powder. she sautéed the curry powder with onion and then added cubed meat to brown. after she added carrots and potatoes and water. simmered for a long time until the meat was tender. i know sometimes it didn't thicken enough so i remember her adding a bit of flour with the curry to the stew.

    2. try this for a starter… but add the peas near the end….the cauliflower goes in first, then the fish, then snap peas…so they all get "done" at same time….don't overcook.

      1. Honestly, I'd ditch the curry powder and find a recipe that lists the individual spices for the curry.

        8 Replies
        1. re: LMAshton

          no need to waste it, but it can be supplemented, surely. since it is fish, i'd focus on the fennel and coriander seeds, especially.

          the real difference between your powder and a paste of similar quality is oil and likely a puree of garlic and ginger (moisture). so don't worry too much. it is always best, no matter what you start with, to sauté the spices in oil (if starting from scratch, you'd pan-toast them to start).

          this following recipe has coconut milk and -- even though you've made your dish by now -- it looks to be a good jumping off point (for later readers of this thread).

          one of my favorite seafood curries is the south indian shrimp curry with mustard seeds, curry leaves, coconut milk, a little diced tomato and shallots; wow, it is sublime! see the second and third recipes here for an idea…
          how did your dish turn out?

          1. re: alkapal

            The problem with curry powders is that they're one person's interpretation of what a curry spice mix should taste like. It doesn't take into consideration personal preferences or regional/cultural variations. And since they can vary so wildly in taste, it's difficult to recommend how to adapt them. Curry powders can have anywhere from 4 to, what, 15 or so, different spices in them - which ones does this one have? What other flavours will go with it and which will clash?

            1. re: LMAshton

              They won't know until they've tried it, I guess. Hence, the suggestions. I have both, a variety of individual spices, as well as "curry powder," and both approaches have their place. The OP was wondering what to do with what they had.

              1. re: LMAshton

                i understand that, and i suggested a couple of specific tweaks to what i suspect is probably a generic commercial "curry powder" profile -- tweaks that are good with fish. (remember that the OP is in america --florida, i believe-- and not singapore, where you live and have exposure to a wide variety of regional variations from the indian subcontinent, and all over SE asia.

                commercial "curry powder" here in the US, and i am making an assumption, has a certain predictable flavor -- unless it is a special curry powder. i've not seen commercially available curry powders that skew to one region or flavor profile or another without being labeled as such. for example, i know when i buy jaffna curry powder, i will get this:

                Ingredients: Dry Chilli, Coriander, Dil Seed, Pepper, Cummin seed, Fennel Seed, Rice, Saffron, Cardamon, Cloves & Curry Leaf (larich brand)

                look at the ingredients in the seafood curry powder: Larich Fish Curry Powder 250g. Ingredients:
                Chillie Powder (27%), Coriander (23%), Fennel, Cummin, Cinnamon, Red Rice and Other Tropical Spices

                this is the other one i use a lot: Larich Roasted Curry Powder - Product of Sri Lanka. Ingredients:
                Coriander, Fennel, Cummin, Fenugreek, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamon, Cloves, Rampa & Curry Leaves

                i'm happy to see you love pol sambol. i like mine with egg hoppers.
                ;-). my sri lankan husband is the string hopper nut! right now he is in melbourne, australia, so i am extremely jealous that he can go to the "hopper guy" and eat till he falls over. LOL

                i checked your blog, and am thrilled to see all your information there!!! i can't wait to explore it more.

                PS, for anyone interested in what is "pol sambol" -- and a delicious curry...see this recipe from sri lanka for "black meat curry," where i have links to a couple of sambols.


                as wyogal says, the OP really has to try it out and experiment.

            2. re: LMAshton

              there are some pretty good curry powders out there with a range of flavors from specialty vendors- Ive had good ones from Kalustyan and from some malaysian stores for example.And there are some typical types for West Indian curries.

              I have a cabinet with literally hundreds of spices in it. Im always conscious when I cook Indian food that my spices are not as fresh as they would be if I was cooking with them daily or if they had come straight from an active spice merchant. Heresy I know, but sometimes its better to get a fresh spice mix from a trusted source than to compound your own from less fresh whole or ground spices.

              So if the OP likes their commercial curry powder and wants that flavor, no reason to discourage. Now, if its been sitting on the cabinet shelf for 5 or 10 years like my Mom's, thats a different matter.

              1. re: jen kalb

                a little off topic (well, a whole LOT off topic, but involving curry powder): there is a really great chicken salad recipe with plain old "american" (LOL) curry powder, soy sauce, mayo, grapes, water chestnuts, almonds and sometimes pineapple (either in it, or served in a half-pineapple). something about the combination makes it quite delicious, despite how outlandish a concoction it appears to be.

                here is how it is described, and its origins: "* DeLane Haren of Etowah, Tenn., makes her Chicken Salad Fit for a Queen with soy sauce, curry powder, pineapple, grapes and water chestnuts. The recipe, with its strong Asian influence, was deemed delicious enough to serve Queen Elizabeth when she visited the University of Virginia in 1976.""

                i think another version adds celery, which is a nice touch. i serve mine on a croissant. really nice for a ladies luncheon, either as a sandwich or atop some hearty salad greens.

                i see the net has a ton of variations. but the key is the mayo-soy-curry. (or greek yogurt/sour cream kind of thing -- something creamy).

                1. re: alkapal

                  my mother makes (or used to make a mayo-curry-tuna-celery-rice etc salad mix that is really tasty. I think it was called "Tuna Bombay" and it had many potential garnishes, peanuts, etc, that made it more "authentic".

                  I used to make curried rice all the time for my family growing up.- it was a favored side dish. McCormick's of course (try to find any other type in Columbus Ohio in the 60s)

                  We can sneer at curry powder as an ingredient - but as a spice mix Madras-style curry powder its a fairly longrunning part of the American, English and West Indian cuisine culinary scenes- its more of less detached itself from its roots.

                  some of the upscale mixes are better in recreating east asian style curries but the yellow stuff works pretty well in the dishes that have become part of our own tradition.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    the first experience for me was the "country captain" dish.

            3. Thanks for all the suggestions. I am not that experienced with curries, however, this powder was purchased from a specialty spice market where they grind all there spices and make some awesome blends as wells as really unique salts (ghostpepper salt, applewood smoked salt) I never got around to making this last night, as the Superbowl caught my attention. AND today the husband ate the fish for now i am using chicken, lol. I will search for a few more recipes and adapt. If anyone has anymore suggestions, I welcome them. I really like the flavors in the typical Thai coconut chicken soup, just want something more filling that I can serve as a main. I might just end up making that and reducing and thickening it up a bit, and add plenty more veggies to serve over rice. However, please share your idea for this curry novice!

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodieop

                I'm not sure if you are still looking for ideas, but this is a really simple and very delicious dish that would work great with a good blend of yellow curry. It's called In a Hurry Chicken Curry and was originally a CI recipe:

                This one is just slightly more complicated, but still very good.It's chicken Mulligatwany:

                I'm not sure which Thai Coconut soup you are referring to, but if it's Tom Kah Gai I don't think that has any yellow curry in it? I'm sure that whatever you have in mind would taste wonderful, it just wouldn't have the same flavor profile as Tom Kah Gai.

              2. oh, forgot a very simple dish i make with flounder or halibut filets. i mix the curry powder with flour, salt and pepper. coat filets on both sides then fry in a hot pan with oil. serve with lemon.