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Mar 24, 2013 11:32 AM

More mild than normal curry powder, recipe or favorite blends

Ok, foodies, here's one for you. I love Indian food, my husband is a huge wimp about hot foods. I'm looking for a nice all purpose curry powder that has very little heat, but is still good. The milder the better as far as he's concerned. I've not had good luck with store bought varieties, but would be interested in a recommendation or a recipe... Thanks!

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  1. I am a huge fan of making your own in small quantities. The small quantity helps avoid having so much it goes stale and lets you tinker with the recipe. I will toss most any spice in the grinder, but the ones I use most of the time include cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, cardamom, turmeric, black mustard seed, tellicherry pepper, cumin, and fennel seed.

    5 Replies
    1. re: tim irvine

      I would love a recipe with quantities... do you have one?

      1. re: mrssmithcooks

        Sorry, I don't, but if you "ask the Google" to direct you to garam masala recipes she will give you a good starting point. My only tip is only one star anise or it will overwhelm.

        1. re: tim irvine

          Good timing......I recently found a recipe that looks great. I'm not big on "curry", but the ingredient listed calls for "a mild curry". Now, what the heck is that?

          Btw, I'd be curious what I could substitute. The recipe is for Curried Crab with watermelon & arugula. In the current F&Wine mag. Looks delish.

          1. re: chloebell

            Just buy garam masala, which has typical curry spices, plus some sweeter ones like cinnamon, without the heat.

          2. re: tim irvine

            Like danged near all foods/spice blends, garam masala has many variations. Here are 2 that we like and find reliable (altho' I do tweak the proportions, depending on what I'm making):

            adapted from Madhur Jaffrey:
            25 seeds from cardamom pods
            1/2 c whole black peppercorns (I use Telecherry)
            1/3 c whole cumin seeds
            1/4 c whole coriander seeds
            3 sticks cinnamon
            4-6 whole cloves

            Combine all in a spice blender & grind very fine. Store tightly covered.

            You can decrease the heat by reducing the peppercorns and, of course, can scale down the amounts. I prefer to toast the whole spices prior to grinding. Buying large quantities of the whole spices is much cheaper from Indian stores.

            2nd one, adapted from Pranati Sen Gupta:
            5-6 pieces of cinnamon, about 1 inch each
            1/2 c whole cardamoms
            1/4 c whole black peppercorns
            1/4 c whole cloves
            1/4 c whole cumin seeds
            1/4 c whole coriander seeds.

            Roast in a baking dish at 200 degrees for 20-30 minutes, stiring often. Discard cardamom hulls.
            Grind at high speed 1-2 minutes, stir, blend again. Keeps well (in well-sealed jar) for up to 3 months.

      2. Curry powder is an English invention. :)

        Every kind of Indian dish uses a different blend of spices. There is no "all purpose curry powder". You use different spices in different proportions to get the flavor you need for that particular dish. you are better off buying the individual spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and red chilli powder... Those are basics. Then add in whole mustard seed, bay leaves, fennel seed, whole cardamom, etc for more complex flavors.

        3 Replies
        1. re: boogiebaby

          That's for sure, but they may well be looking for "English Indian" curry powder. Like many popular adaptations in different countries.

          1. re: lagatta

            True, but the OP referenced loving Indian food, so I assumed she was looking for curry powder to make Indian dishes, not Curried Chicken Salad or whatnot. :)

            1. re: boogiebaby

              I try to explain that most of us wouldn't buy a jar of French Cooking Spices and use it on all foods to create a French meal. Using a one-size/blend-fits-all approach to curry is the same thing.

        2. Penzey's makes both a sweet and hot curry, you can dial up the heat you want.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Veggo

            also, Penzy's sells absolutely terrific cayenne to use for the person who wants to dial up the heat.
            doesn't taste at all like the store-bought stuff to my palate. it's in another, far better, league

            1. re: westsidegal

              Penzey's ground red Chipotle is good, also, although I would not combine it with curry.

          2. What you need is: "Ship Madras Curry Powder" in Tin. It comes in a green rectangular tin and is very popular at Indian or world food stores. It is intensely flavorful and aromatic and has very little heat if any.(My wife also dislike the heat but eats it if I make it without cayenne pepper) It is made that way to enable you to add your own cayenne pepper to taste or leave it out altogether. I normally add it in after I have dished up the first batch. The tin Comes with a small recipe book. I buy it from a local Indian store for $8 for 500g but it is also available from smaller tin for $4.99 I will haul out my favorite curry recipes and post some in the next few days.Here is a link to some Madras Curry recipes Make sure when you buy the tin, that you empty the contents into a jar as it will keep longer. The following is a list of complimentary spices to Curry:
            Yellow mustard seed
            Small pinch of cinnamon (careful!
            )Garam masala (a recommended add)
            Turmeric (a recommended add)
            Bay leaves (a recommended add)
            Coconut Milk
            Star aniseed
            Cumin (also called Jeera - very popular additive)
            and of course served with Naan bread and or aged basmati rice
            Enjoy - MN

            1 Reply
            1. re: aerofanatix

              I must begin by admitting that I don't know that particular product, but in general, any Madrasi curry (now called Chennai) is hotter than other types. I don't buy curry powder, preferring to customize my blends depending on the recipes.

            2. Great question/post....first where do you live?....what products are available to you?..Would you buy items/spices/ingredients via mail?
              Do you want a curry to use with meat/poultry/fish or vegetables?....
              I love curries, but being in NYC, more specfically Jackson Heights, I have a wonderful source for curry....and if i have a question , I have great resources to ask what I should use...

              Give us a heads up!