The Five Spices in Curry and How to Use Them to Make Your Own

Curry is actually made up of a combination of five spices. By using these five spices, you can make your own fresh and delicious curry powder.

Indian food has such an exotic flavor with its unique blend of healthy, tantalizing spices. Yet many people shy away from preparing Indian cuisine because of being intimidated by the world of Indian spices. One of the most popular of the spices used in Indian cooking is curry powder which is actually a blend of five basic spices. Although there’s confusion as to exactly what spices constitute a curry, the spices in curry are composed of these five:

Mustard Seed

Mustard seed adds a hot and spicy flavor to curry and gives it a subtle hint of crunchy goodness. It’s an excellent spice for enhancing the flavor of beef, fish, and fowl which makes it a natural for curry dishes containing meat.


Coriander is derived from the seed of a plant found in the parsley family and has a somewhat citrusy taste. It has the distinction of being one of the first spices in recorded history used by man. The citrus taste of coriander provides a nice compliment to the hot and spicy flavor of the mustard seed.


Cumin is also a dried seed derived from a plant in the parsley family. It has a very earthy taste with a distinct toasted flavor that not only enhances curry based dishes but is also purported to be good for digestion.


Tumeric is a bright yellow-orange colored spice that has a peppery, warm, but slightly bitter flavor. It’s the spice responsible for giving mustard its characteristic shade of yellow. Tumeric is also known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties making it a spice currently in vogue for its health benefits.

Red Chili Powder

This is another spice that adds heat to the flavor of curry. To make this spice, red chili peppers are sun dried until they’re crisp and then ground into a fine powder.

Although you can buy ready made curry spice combinations at your local grocery store, it’s easy to make your own using the above ingredients. In order to make your own curry blend, you should first toast the spices in a non-stick pan with no oil until they turn a darker shade. This helps to release their flavor and aroma. You can then grind the toasted spices in a spice grinder before storing or using in your recipes. You’re now ready to add your freshly prepared curry to all of your favorite Indian recipes. Imagine how the fresh aroma of those luscious spices will fill your kitchen with fragrance as you prepare your curry dishes. Enjoy!

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Published in: Cooking


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