Let’s talk curries!

What is curry, anyway? The word curry is commonly used to describe Indian dishes seasoned with a combination of several fresh spices; however, the word “curry” itself really just means sauce or gravy.  Curry recipes are a bit like meatloaf in that recipes vary greatly by region, family, and even household preferences. Today curries are enjoyed throughout the world.

Premixed curry powders are thought to have hit the scene in the hoppin’ 18th century as Indian traders sold blends of spices commonly used in curries to British colonial traders. Today there are all sorts of curry powder blends available, each with its own distinct flavors and spiciness.

While the word “curry” is commonly used to refer to Indian dishes, it’s also used to describe dishes from several other places around the world. At the shop, you’ll find a broad selection of Indian, Thai, and Caribbean curry blends. If curries are your jam, read on to learn a bit more about each curry powder in the AllSpice lineup.

Indian Curries

Let’s cover the Indian-inspired curry powders first. We’ve greatly expanded our selection over the years, and now offer eight different blends.

Curry Powder, Hot: This curry blend is as traditional as it gets, combining the flavors and colors of turmeric, coriander, cumin, and other spices with a bit of cayenne chiles for a bold punch of heat.

Curry Powder, Mild: If a punch of cayenne isn’t your thing, take a walk on the milder side with this Indian-inspired blend. Our mild curry powder is also built with spices commonly used in Indian curries, while turning down the heat and adding a touch of sweet.

Curry Powder, Madras Style: This blend reflects the flavors of the region around Chennai, India (formerly known as Madras). You’ll find it has less heat than our hot curry, and less sweetness than our mild curry. It’s a tasty and rich blend with just a hint of smokiness.

Garam Masala Blend: This blend is an Indian classic. It’s a Punjabi creation which literally translates to “hot” (garam) “mixture” (masala). Don’t be scared off by the name, though. The heat in this blend comes from black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves, not fiery chiles.

Tandoori Spice Blend: Also known as Tandoori Masala, this blend of spices is traditionally used with a tandoor (clay oven) to make traditional Indian cuisine. Over time, the word tandoori has evolved to refer to a specific flavor for Westerners, not just the method of cooking. The taste and aroma of the blend is tomato-forward and mild, with just a bit of heat.

Tikka Masala Blend: Tikka Masala is a popular British dish, sharing its name with the spice blend which gives it its distinct flavor. This blend is commonly combined with yogurt, then used to coat chicken which is then baked in a tandoor oven. The blend is a medium spice level, and is nicely balanced by the yogurt when making chicken tikka masala.

Vadouvan Curry: This curry powder is the newest Indian-inspired curry powder in the AllSpice collection … and, surprise! … it has a heavy French influence. That’s because it originated in the Puducherry region in southern India which was governed as a French colony into the 1950s. This blend is delicately flavored and will feel more familiar to American palates than some traditional curries. It packs a delicate, savory yet sweet flavor with a kick of heat, perfect for chicken and vegetables, yet bold enough to stand up to the richer flavors of lamb, goat, and dairy.

Vindaloo Blend: Vindaloo is a sour curry blend and is the culinary hallmark of Goa, a tiny state on the southwestern (Malabar) coast of India. It’s especially good with strong-flavored meats such as venison, duck, bluefish, pork, or lamb. While it’s an Indian-inspired spice blend, it is influenced by Portuguese cuisine, as Goa was governed as a colony of Portugal until the early 1960s. Try combining this blend with vinegar as a marinade for meats or use as a dry rub.

Thai Curries

The most common Thai curries are red, yellow, and green. You’ll hear the color used both to describe the type of curry and specific dishes. Thai curry dishes are typically made with a curry paste. Use equal parts water, olive oil, and seasoning blend to create a paste of your own using a Thai curry powder blend. We’ve expanded our selection at the shop and carry two Thai-inspired curry blends.

Thai Coconut Green Curry Blend: Coconut milk, brown sugar, shallots, and spices combine to create a wonderful, sweet but not-too-coconutty curry powder with a nice amount of green chile heat and richness from a bouquet of spices.

Thai Red Curry Blend: Lemongrass, paprika, onion, garlic, and several spices combine to create this rich, deep-red curry powder. This powder ranks somewhere between mild and medium in heat, and is less sweet than our Thai Coconut Green Curry Blend.

Caribbean Curries

Caribbean curries are often made with many ingredients common in Indian curries with the addition of locally available spices. Caribbean curries are traditionally made with curry powder rather than freshly ground spices like Indian curries. You’ll often find them used more like you’d use a spice rub. We added our first Caribbean-inspired blend to the AllSpice shelves late last year.

Jamaican Curry Blend: Our Jamaican Curry Blend starts with flavors commonly found in Indian curries (turmeric, garlic, mustard, and chiles) and layers in flavors of bay leaf and allspice, which are hallmarks of Jamaican curry dishes. Subtle sweet and floral notes round out this not-too-spicy blend.