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Homemade Hot Madras Curry Powder

Homemade madras curry powder

Homemade hot madras curry powder

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

This hot madras curry powder is curry powder in the true sense of the word. Most of the spice mixes I developed for this blog are garam masalas.

These are based on authentic blends of warming spices such as black peppercorns, cumins and cinnamon that are added to curries and other recipes to give them that delicious flavour boost.

Curry powder is essentially the same idea but usually a few other ingredients such as chilli powder, onion and garlic powder, turmeric and even flour are added to the mix to make it much easier to make a curry.

Some brands add flour as it is a lot cheaper than spices so they make a bigger margin.

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.

Many of the whole spices used in the curry powders just weren’t available in the shops of the day.

You can use this blend whenever hot curry powder is called for in a curry recipe. I like to use fresh onions, garlic and vegetables when I cook my curries so I leave these dried products out of my curry powders. Many companies still include them though.

If you love spicy madras curries, this is the curry powder to use!

Making madras curry powder

Roasting cardamom pods. You can also just roast the seeds.

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 with my GitaDini spice dabba in the background.

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.

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Friday 3rd of July 2020

Thank you so much for this simple and fragrant recipe. It was easy to follow; it was my first time making a spice mix, and I am now encouraged to try making more spice mixes at home.

I made this mix for a Jamaican Curry Goat recipe that I came across.

What other recipes may I use this curry powder for?

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Hi You can use it for a lot of the curries on my web site. You could even replace garam masala that is used in a lot of my recipes with this curry powder if you enjoy this one so much. Thanks Dan


Saturday 13th of June 2020

I've had madras a bunch of times. I'm also avery experienced cook that has made many Idian & Thai curries. Despite all my experience, I never tackled making my own madras curry. I tried 4 different recipes to see which one fit my palate the best. I thought it would be this one but I find on overpowering bitterness to this. I've even added salt & sugar, but it's still bitter. I have nothing but fresh ingredients & like I said, I have over 20 years experience. With so many 5 stars I was expecting better...

Dan Toombs

Monday 15th of June 2020

Hi Eugene I am sorry my recipe wasn't to your liking. Hopefully you will enjoy some of my others more. Dan

Sonja Menzi

Saturday 23rd of May 2020

Hi Dan If I only take green cardamom seeds, how many tablespoons do I need for that. Greetings Sonja Menzi

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 26th of May 2020

Hi Sonja If you use 1 teaspoon of cardamom seeds that should be fine. Thanks Dan


Tuesday 19th of May 2020

In September 2016, a commenter asked about the correct amount of fenugreek seeds. You replied that 2 Tbsp is correct, not 3 Tbsp. I just made this with 3 Tbsp because the recipe didn’t get updated. I like fenugreek seed flavor plenty, so this will be fine, but thought you might want to know! Thanks for the recipe!

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 20th of May 2020

Hi Aaron Thank you for letting me know and I am really glad theextra fenugreek worked for you. Dan


Monday 27th of April 2020

Hi Dan,

I've tried this (and some of the other spice blends from your book), but seem to be doing something wrong. I roasted all the whole spices (only about 30 seconds,) and they smelt great. I then put them into the grinder and after grinding, the combination smelt really bitter and a bit unpleasant. This was the second attempt at this (the last time was when making a curry from your book, which tasted bitter - presumably because I used these spices). I did wonder whether there was a typo of the amount of fenugreek seeds in the kindle version of your book (as they are quite bitter), but I can see from this page, that 3 tbsp is correct..

I made half proportions compared to the recipe above and roasted the spices all together - could that have caused a problem?

If not, are you able to suggest any reason for this? My tandoori masala, mixed spice and garam masala didn't seem to have a particuliarly great fragrance either, but the curry powder was the worst for me.

Thanks very much in advance for your help!

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 29th of April 2020

Hi Ade Roasting spices can be a bit troublesome for people who haven't done it before. We'll get you there though.

You mentioned that you roasted the spices for 30 seconds. If the pan was too hot during this time, some or all of your spices will burn. Different spices get to smoking point and different times. Once the spices are smoking, they are burning and you may as well start over.

I make spice blends all the time and tend to roast them just until they are warm to the touch and fragrant. Then I get them off the heat. For best results, you should roast each of the different spices separately but I rarely do this.

Burnt spices taste bitter! Especially cumin, coriander, cloves and fenugreek.

If you don't think that burning the spices was the problem, then it will be down to the flavour of the spices. As you mentioned, fenugreek is bitter. So is turmeric which is in that blend. Taste them and consider reducing the amount used or omitting them all together. I quite like the bitter flavour of these spices but we all have our own taste preferences so adjust the recipe to your tastes!

When I was learning to cook Indian food, I tried the different spices all the time in order to have a better understanding of how they would affect the flavour of the dish. Making spice blends is the perfect time to do this. Taste and taste often and you will be able to use spices better for your taste preferences.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any further queries. Happy to help.

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