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Curry powder

Curry powder is a mixture of spices of widely varying composition based on South Asian cuisine. Curry powder, and the contemporary English use of the word curry are Western inventions and do not reflect any specific Indian food. The word curry is widely believed to be a corruption of the Tamil word kari,[1] meaning something like sauce, but it may instead be derived from the French cuire.[2]

In the western world curry powder mixtures tend to have a fairly standardized taste[citation needed], though a great variety of spice mixtures are used in Indian cuisine.

Curry powder was largely popularized during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through the mass exportation of the condiment to the western table, throughout Europe and North and South America. Curry powder did not become standardized, as many of the original blends of curry powder were still available throughout the world.[citation needed] The late 1960s and early 1970s saw a large increase of Indian food consumption in the west and internationally. This led to an increase of Indian restaurants throughout the world. The tradition of keeping special blends of curry powder simply became uneconomical, and curry powder became increasingly standardized outside India.[citation needed]

Indian cooks often have readier access to a variety of fresh spices than their foreign counterparts.[citation needed] Some curry cooks will have their own specific mixtures for different recipes. These are often passed down from parent to child.[citation needed]



Most recipes and producers of curry powder usually include coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and red pepper in their blends. Depending on the recipe, additional ingredients such as ginger, garlic, asafoetida, fennel seed, cinnamon, clove, mustard seed, green cardamom, black cardamom, mace, nutmeg, long pepper, and black pepper may also be added.


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