What do you add to curry powder?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “What do you add to curry powder?”, discuss whether you can substitute garam masala for curry powder and mention how to make the most of curry powder.

What do you add to curry powder?

You can add turmeric, cumin, coriander and chili powder to curry powder. You can also add ginger, garlic, curry leaves and cayenne pepper.

Curry powder is a complex mixture of 20 or more different spices and herbs. The main component of most curry powders is usually turmeric. Other ingredients that are sometimes used are ginger, garlic, cinnamon, paprika, saffron, nutmeg, tamarind, and cumin. It can range from mild to spicy.

There is no fixed list of ingredients. Any blend can be made in different ratios of spices. This is why they differ in taste. Curry powders are also available in boxes in stores. They are ready made and differ in taste from brand to brand. 

Similarly, in homemade powders, one can add more chillies to increase spiciness or alternatively, use less chillies if they like mild food. 

It is believed by many to be a staple of Indian cuisine when in fact, it is not. The concept of curry powder comes from the British. It is their take on Indian cuisine. 

Indian inspired curry powders are most famous. On the other hand, there are other curry powders from around the world which have distinct flavors and each of them are unique in their own way depending on the type of ingredients used to make them.

In Thai cuisine, curries are very famous. Red, yellow and green are the most famous curries. They get their names from the main ingredient used to make them which give them their distinct flavor and color.

For example, the main ingredients in Thai red curry are red chillies and paprika. Red chillies give the curry a vibrant  red color and also make it one of the most spiciest curries. The main ingredient in yellow curry is turmeric and the main ingredient in green curry is green chillies. 

These curries are usually made with coconut milk to give them a nice and smooth texture. They can be eaten with meat and vegetables. They can be eaten with chicken or fish, and sometimes beef. The vegetables used are green, red and yellow bell peppers, onions, carrots, shallots, ginger, and garlic.

Is Garam Masala the same as curry powder?

No, garam masala is not the same as curry powder. They have different composition, flavor profile, and the way they are used in cooking.

Can you substitute garam masala for curry powder?

Ideally, garam masala and curry powder should not be substituted for each other as they both have different flavor profiles. Curry powder has a milder flavor while garam masala is more stronger and pungent. 

A lot of recipes mention using garam masala in place of curry powder because the two terms have been a matter of confusion among people. 

Although garam masala is not a suitable substitute for curry powder, you can still use it if you have no other substitutes or alternatives but in moderation. This should be your last resort. 

If you do not have curry powder and still wish to make curry, try using turmeric, cumin powder, and coriander powder mixed together. 

On the other hand, you can use curry powder as a substitute for garam masala as curry powder is milder and does not overpower the dish. You can add a tablespoon of curry powder in place of garam masala.

Find out the shelf lives of curry spices here.

How to make the most of curry powder?

For best results, add curry powder at the beginning of the cooking process. This allows all the aromatic spices in the curry powder to cook and release their flavors.

Cook it a little in a pan with a dash of oil or let it simmer in water or chicken stock. Later add all the ingredients like chicken or vegetables. 

Curry tastes better the next day as you may have heard. The curry becomes thicker and creamier. In addition, meat and vegetables soak up all the juices and flavors. Meat becomes more tender as it is allowed to rest. The spices also get time to release all of their flavors and combine to give a flavorful curry.

Other FAQs about Curry powder that you may be interested in.

What is the best curry powder?

What is the substitution for curry powder?

How do you turn curry powder into paste?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “What do you add to curry powder?”, discussed whether you can substitute garam masala for curry powder and mentioned how to make the most of curry powder.