Just this week while I was fantasizing about escaping to an exotic location, I decided that the end of winter eating is all about root vegetables seasoned with curry.
Curry is a massive collection of spice blends of infinite variations with warming spices like coriander and cumin with real heat from chili and black pepper. Just looking at the orange-gold turmeric root (which is very mild flavored but gives curry its orange hue) elevates my core body temperature.
Since I’m not heading to any distant lands real soon, the curry’s going to have to cut it.
Store-bought versus homemade curry powder.
Once upon a time, I purchased curry powder without a second thought. It was fine.
Maybe it was stale, like many ground spices get while waiting at the store to be sold. Maybe the blend didn’t ring my bell because it was too mild or did not have enough coriander.
Whatever the reason, I’ll never go back to pre-made curry powder now that I’ve customized my own from the master recipe in Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking published in 1985.
Using homemade curry powder
Curry powder is something I probably don’t use often enough because it has myriad uses, like:
- this vegetable curry stew
- these zucchini pancakes
- in soups, like lentil, squash or pumpkin
- in yogurt for a dip for sweet potato fries
That’s just a start. (I also like it a lot in mayonnaise-based salads, like chicken salad, tuna salad and broccoli salad).
Curry powder is never the same thing. Curry is about possibility.
My latest super-easy supper is to toss cubed veggies (such as squash, parsnips, cauliflower, potatoes–or a combination) with vegetable oil and season generously with the curry powder and salt. Then, I roast the vegetables in a 400ºF oven until tender, turning once or twice, about 40 minutes.
Top with yogurt and cilantro, serve with chutney and eat. Revelation for winter’s tired vegetables. May it restore and revive you, too!
Homemade Curry Powder
- 1/2 cup coriander seeds
- 2 dried red chiles optional
- 1 3/4 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 3 tablespoons ground turmeric
- Measure the coriander, chiles (if using), cumin, mustard, fenugreek and peppercorns into the bowl of a mortar or an electric spice grinder.
- Grind to a fine powder and stir in the turmeric.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.