Madras Curry Powder Recipe

Madras curry powder is a versatile Indian spice blend that can add bold, fiery flavors to your curries, stews, marinades, and more. This flavorful spice mix originates from the city of Madras, now known as Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India.

Madras Curry Powder Recipe

While store-bought Madras curry powder is readily available, making your own at home allows you to customize the flavors to your taste. It also yields incredibly fresh, aromatic spices that trump anything you can buy pre-made.

Why Make Homemade Madras Curry Powder?

There are several advantages to making your own Madras curry powder instead of buying it pre-made:

  • Superior flavor - Toasting and grinding whole spices like coriander, cumin, and mustard seeds results in unbeatable flavor and aroma. This blows away any store-bought powder.
  • Customizable - You can adjust spice quantities and types of chili peppers to create your ideal blend. Make it as mild or spicy as you like.
  • Fresher spices - No mystery how long store-bought powders have been sitting on warehouse shelves. Freshly made curry powder is vibrant.
  • No additives - Homemade means no added preservatives, fillers or colors like many commercial brands include.
  • Less expensive - Buying whole spices in bulk is cheaper than purchasing pre-made curry powder.
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Madras Curry Powder Ingredients

The ingredients for Madras curry powder vary slightly among recipes, but these are the basics you'll need:

  • Whole spices - Coriander, cumin, fennel, mustard seeds, peppercorns, fenugreek, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom pods.
  • Ground spices - Turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, and chili powder. Using different types of chili powder affects the heat level.
  • Dried curry leaves - These add a wonderful aroma. Use dried or crushed fresh leaves until crispy and dry.
  • Whole dried chilies - For example, mild Kashmiri chilies. Control the kick by adding fewer seeds.

Tip: Always buy the best quality, fresh spices you can find. This makes a difference in the final flavor.

How to Make Madras Curry Powder

Making your own Madras curry powder takes just a few easy steps:

1. Dry Roast the Whole Spices

  • Toast each whole spice separately in a dry skillet over medium heat.
  • Roast until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes per spice.
  • Immediately transfer to a plate to stop cooking.

Important: Watch spices closely to avoid burning. This makes them taste bitter.

2. Grind the Spices into a Powder

  • Let the toasted spices cool completely, about 5 minutes.
  • Grind them to a fine powder in a spice grinder or with mortar and pestle.
  • Stir in any ground spices like turmeric and chili powder.

3. Store in an Airtight Container

  • Transfer finished Madras curry powder to a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Store in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.
  • For a longer shelf life, freeze curry powder for up to 6 months.

And that's all there is to it! Now you have delicious homemade Madras curry powder ready to use.

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Tips for Making Madras Curry Powder

  • Use medium heat when dry roasting to prevent scorching spices.
  • Consider wearing a mask to avoid breathing in spice dust when grinding.
  • Deseed chilies for less heat or opt for a milder variety.
  • Add spices like garlic powder or curry leaves to customize the flavor.
  • Combine already ground spices if you lack whole spice versions.
  • Make small batches to ensure freshness.

How to Use Madras Curry Powder

This versatile Indian spice blend livens up all kinds of dishes:

  • Curries - Sprinkle into any vegetable, meat, or fish curries. Or try lamb Madras curry.
  • Marinades and rubs - Great spice rub for chicken, pork, and more or in a yogurt marinade.
  • Soups and stews - Add warmth and bold flavors to brothy dishes.
  • Vegetables - Toss with potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, and other veggies when roasting.
  • Salad dressings - Whisk a pinch into vinaigrettes for a flavor pop.
  • Pasta sauce - Simmer into tomato or cream-based pasta sauces.

So grab your whole spices and try this easy homemade Madras curry powder. Your curries and other dishes will never be the same!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What's the difference between Madras curry powder and regular curry powder?

A: Madras curry powder contains more turmeric for its distinctive color. It also includes chili powder or chilies, making it spicier than regular curry powder.

Q: Can I substitute garam masala for Madras curry powder?

A: They are not interchangeable, but garam masala can work in a pinch. Start with half the amount of garam masala and increase chili powder or cayenne for heat.

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Q: How long does homemade Madras curry powder last?

A: Properly stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, it will stay fresh for 3 months. It can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Q: What dishes use Madras curry powder?

A: It's excellent in curries, marinades, spice rubs, soups, and stews. Also, try sprinkled on roasted vegetables or added to salad dressings.


Making your own Madras curry powder opens up a world of flavor. Toasting and grinding whole spices results in an incredibly fresh, vibrant, and aromatic spice blend.

Customize the ingredients to your taste - make it as mild or spicy hot as you prefer. Use this bold Madras curry powder to add magic to all kinds of Indian dishes and more.

Madras Curry Powder Recipe

Homemade Madras Curry Powder

This homemade Madras curry powder recipe results in an incredibly flavorful and aromatic spice blend. Making your own allows you to customize the spiciness and tailor the flavor to your taste.



  • Dry roast each whole spice separately in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes each.
  • Let the toasted spices cool completely, then grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder.
  • Add the ground spices - turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. Mix well.
  • Store homemade Madras curry powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.


  • Adjust chili peppers to control spiciness.
  • Try adding spices like curry leaves or garlic powder to customize.
  • Can substitute some ground spices if you lack the whole version.
Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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