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Homemade Hot Madras Curry Powder

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Take your curries to the next level with homemade hot Madras curry powder

You can use this homemade Madras curry powder in any recipe that calls for curry powder. You can use it in any of my Indian restaurant style curries instead of the mixed powder that is called for. 

It’s really good and you’ll be amazed at how much flavour you can add to a dish when your roast and grind your own spices.

So next time your planning a curry house feast with all those delicious curries, samosas, naans and chapatis and chutneys, don’t forget to make your own roasted curry powder. Read on to see how it’s done!

Homemade madras curry powder

Homemade hot madras curry powder

What is Madras curry powder?

A Madras curry powder is a spice blend like any curry powder that also has dried chillies in it to give it a spicy kick. So you could make this Madras curry powder recipe without the chillies and you would still have a great curry powder.

Why should you make your own curry powder?

The answer to that is quality! The flavour and aroma you get with this Madras curry powder is nothing short of amazing.

When you purchase curry powders, the spices are rarely if ever roasted as this would be too expensive for most producers. Add this to your curries or other recipes that call for curry powder and you will most definitely understand why shop bought blends just aren’t good enough!

What is the history of curry powders like this?

Commercially prepared mixtures of curry powder date back to the 18th century when spice blends were prepared by Indian merchants to sell to returning British army and government officials at the end of the British Raj.

Madras curry powder is still one of the most popular spice blends available in shops here in the UK.

Back then, returning British citizens wanted to be able to recreate the Indian dishes they had enjoyed so much while in India. In fact, the first UK curry restaurant chefs used imported curry powders to create their dishes as many of the whole spices used in the curry powders just weren’t available in the shops of the day.

What is the difference between curry powder and garam masala?

Garam masala translates as warming blend of spices. In a garam masala, there are only warming spices in the blend such as cumin, coriander, cinnamon, mace and black peppercorns. There are countless recipes for garam masala as the spice blends change depending on the recipe that is being prepared.

Curry powders, on the other hand, include other complimentary ingredients such as dried chillies, dried garlic, ginger and onions. They were developed so that you could literally add them to a stew and get yourself a curry.

In the Indian Subcontinent, curry powders are rarely used as they add fresh garlic, ginger and onions to their curries as we do now in the west too.

How long can you keep Madras curry powder?

Whole spices keep for years but once they are toasted and ground, their flavour begins to weaken quickly. 

You can keep your homemade Madras curry powder for at least three months with little loss of flavour. Store it in an air-tight container in a dark location.

Think about how long those shop-bought curry powders sit in warehouses and shop shelves before making their way to your cupboard! You just can’t get fresh madras curry powder like this unless you make it yourself. 

Step by step photographs. 

These photos are really just to show you what goes into a good Madras curry powder. At expensive restaurants, these spices are toasted separately as whole spices all have different smoking points.

For the home cook, you could just toast the spices together in the pan. Heat them until fragrant and warm to the touch but not yet smoking. You will get a delicious Madras curry powder that can be used in so many dishes.

Making curry powder

Be careful not to burn fennel. It cooks quite quickly.

Making curry powder

Fenugreek seeds pop all over the place when roasting.

Making curry powder

These have a similar flavour to fennel seeds. Break them up a bit before grinding.

Making curry powder

You can also use dried curry leaves. If using fresh, wash them thoroughly before drying them in the pan.

Making curry powder

Peppercorns don’t really need to be roasted but I do it anyway.

Making curry powder

Roast lightly until you can smell the magnificent aroma.

Making curry powder

Mustard seeds are a nice addition!

Making curry powder

These bay leaves are from the cassia tree and taste a lot like cinnamon.

Making curry powder

Freshly made curry powder.

Yield: 20

Homemade Hot Madras Curry Powder

Homemade Hot Madras Curry Powder
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 6 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 6 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 x 5" piece of cinnamon or cassia bark
  • 4 x Indian bay leaves (leaves from the cassia tree)
  • 3 tablespoons fenugreek seeds
  • 3 star anise
  • 20 curry leaves
  • 15 cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric powder
  • 8 Kashmiri dried chillies
  • 2 tablespoons hot chilli powder (optional)


  1. Roast each of the different whole spice types individually as different spices roast faster than others.
  2. In a dry frying pan, roast each spice until they become fragrant. The curry leaves need to dry out and become lightly browned.
  3. Transfer the spices to a bowl to cool.
  4. When cool, grind them together into a fine powder in a spice grinder. You can also use a pestle and mortar but spice grinders make things a lot easier.
  5. Add the turmeric powder and chilli powder to the blend and stir to combine.
  6. Store in a dark location in an airtight container and use as required.
  7. Use within three months.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 40Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 30mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

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I hope you enjoy this Madras curry powder recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’m also happy to answer any recipe questions you might have. 



Wednesday 28th of February 2024

omg... sorry I should have looked at the books better! I see you have a vegetarian one. I would delete these last two comments if I could, lol. sorry bout that!


Wednesday 28th of February 2024

Hey Dan, Thanks for this recipe. I haven't tried it as of yet. I have been using another recipe I found on YouTube and made another batch yesterday. I just read this post and every comment! I've never done that before, lol. I see that you mentioned a few times to taste it..... you mean after we blended it all up? Like before we cook with it? I've never done that. Maybe thats why my vegan curries are tasting yucky. And I learned about fenugreek in here can be bitter, or maybe I roasted them to long or that "burnt spices taste bitter! Especially cumin, coriander, cloves and fenugreek". I've only been experimenting with all these new spices since Jan 1, 2024. I dunno what I'm asking here, lol... maybe I'm just mumbling away... trying to get it perfect. I think I tried to many new spices all at once and now I don't know really which ones I do like and how to start at the beginning again. Any suggestions? Yeah... I have no idea what I'm asking! Thanks!

Dan Toombs

Saturday 9th of March 2024

Thanks for the message. Yes, always taste as you go, just a little bit on the end of a small spoon. Make sure you only ever use fresh spices so not more than 6 months old and definitely be sure not to burn them or you will get a bitter taste. Thanks again. Dan


Friday 12th of January 2024

Hi Dan

Great recipe, thanks! Two questions: 1. Are curry leaves and Indian bay leaves the same thing? 2. Do you use green or black cardamom pods? 3. The recipe here and in the book still calls for 3tsbp of fenugreek seeds. Is this still meant to be 2nd o based on previous comments?

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

Great you enjoyed the recipe and thank you for letting me know. Curry leaves are not the same as Indian bay leaves. you can get fresh curry leaves in most Asian shops, don’t bother with dried ones as they are tasteless. You can use dried Indian bay leaves, also available in Asian shops or on line. Dan


Monday 30th of October 2023

Is the recipe using fresh curry leaves? Can dried also be used>

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 1st of November 2023

Don’t use dry ones as they have no taste. Just leave them out if you can’t get fresh ones. Thanks Dan


Thursday 4th of May 2023

Hi Dan,

just purchased your book and looking forward to making some good old British curries (expat living in Aus where the standard of curry is very poor).

I have some Roasted Sri Lankan curry powder from a recent trip there, do you think it would be ok to use this in some of the dishes (ie. Jalfrezi) or is the blend too different to affect the outcomes.


Dan Toombs

Thursday 4th of May 2023

Thanks for buying my book. I think that curry powder should work but maybe add it gradually to taste. Dan

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