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The basic ingredients of curry powder are coriander (seed), cayenne, cumin and turmeric. From then on it"s up to the chef or the character of the dish required - cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, garlic and ginger are general additions and fenugreek is the pungent smell we associate around Indian restaurants. But different mixtures are concocted around the globe, so that an authentic African blend will be quite unlike one found in Thailand (where coconut cream or milk and lime leaves would form part of the total mixture).
The first pre-mixed curry powders appeared on the British market in about 1830.