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Mixed Powder – Curry House Curry Powder

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Mixed powder is one of the most important recipes when making curry house style curries.

Before you start to make your favourite curry house style curry like chicken tikka masala, chicken Madras or lamb vindaloo, you are going to want to make this special blend of spices. Mixed powder, together with the essential base curry sauce is what makes curry house curries what they are!

mixed powder

Mixed powder is the curry powder you need for curry house curries.

About this mixed powder recipe

I have to emphasize how important this mixed powder recipe is. It’s one of the secret ingredients that makes BIR curries what they are.

You will use it in almost all of the classic curry house curries in my cookbooks and this site.The flavours of cumin, coriander, paprika and turmeric are in most BIR curries, and mixed powder makes it possible to add these spices all in one go, along with curry powder and garam masala.

Obviously, you can adjust the flavour of your curry by adding a little more of the individual spices or masalas to taste, but adding mixed powder is usually enough to get the task of seasoning off to a good and easy start.

When I first began experimenting with BIR recipes, and before I knew of the existence of this widely used spice blend, I would add the spices individually, which works fine, but slows down the cooking process.

How I got this recipe

I have to say it wasn’t easy to get the recipe because no one – and I mean no one – was giving it away. Chefs would wave me off and say that it was just ‘mixed powder’. It looked like garam masala or curry powder and I wrongly assumed that was what it was.

When I finally saw it being made by chance at a local restaurant, I didn’t pay attention to anything else in the kitchen. It all seemed so obvious, but it wasn’t until that afternoon.

I drove home and heated up some base curry sauce while I combined the ingredients for the mixed powder recipe from memory. With that one secret blend, my BIR curries suddenly became much less complicated to make.

I finally had what I didn’t even realize I was looking for! I’ve since learned that many chefs also add a little ground fenugreek (methi) to their mixed powder, but as it is quite strong and bitter I only add as required to some curries at the cooking stage. There is, after all, already a little fenugreek in the mix from the curry powder used.

Is there a substitute for mixed powder?

Not really because every curry house uses a mixed powder just like this in their curries. That said, if you have prepared my Madras curry powder, you will get excellent results with that too. This is not just any curry powder but one where you roast and grind the spices so it is a powerful and delicious alternative.

How long can you keep mixed powder?

That’s a difficult one so take this in! If you roast and grind each of the spices from whole, then your mixed powder should last for 3 months without much loss of flavour. If you purchase ground spices, then it should be used soon as once spices are ground, they lose their flavour quickly. 

Going forward…

Since I learned this recipe, you wouldn’t believe how many chefs have challenged me, asking if I knew what was in their special blend. They’re amazed when I name the ingredients exactly. This one is no longer a secret.

adding paprika to mixed powder

Add three tbsp paprika. I use sweet paprika. For a smokier flavour you could use smoked paprika.

Adding curry powder to the mix

Adding curry powder. Homemade is alway best.

Many people have asked me what the best curry powder is for mixed powder. Personally, I use my own homemade Madras curry powder. At curry houses, most chefs will use a commercial brand for ease.

If you don’t like spicy curries, you could still make my Madras curry powder and just leave the chillies out. Roasting and grinding your own spice blends will get you a superior flavour.

Adding turmeric to the curry powder.

Add the turmeric. Turmeric can taste very bitter to some. You can reduce the amount to taste.

adding garam masala

Add the garam masala. Homemade is always best.

Just like the curry powder mentioned above, most restaurant chefs will use a good commercial brand of garam masala. I make my own and here’s my recipe.

adding coriander powder

Add the coriander powder.

adding cumin to mixed powder

Add the ground cumin.

Many people just buy ground cumin and coriander. This will work for this recipe. However, if you roast and grind cumin seeds and coriander seeds, you will notice a big and tasty difference.

Not only does roasting and grinding your own spices make your meals better, there are also other bonuses! Purchasing whole spices is cheaper and they have a lot longer shelf life than ground spices.

mixed powder

Finished mixed powder mix. Great to have on hand!

Try this mixed powder in the following curry house style recipes!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Mixed Powder - Curry House Curry Powder

mixed powder


  • 3 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp ground coriander
  • 4 tbsp curry powder
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp garam masala


  1. Mix all the ingredients together, store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, and use as needed.
  2. If you are using fresh, homemade garam masala and curry powder in your blend, your mixed powder should last for up to 2 months without losing much flavour.

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Linda Alexander

Thursday 2nd of March 2023

My Curry Guy Bible has just arrived. I am so excited!!! I’m about to max the mixed powder! Thank you for your site.

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 7th of March 2023

Thanks very much for buying my book. I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog too. Dan


Thursday 23rd of February 2023


I've just made this mixed spice. I already have versions of your madras and garam masala so i simplu used those in this recipe. my question is this, in recipes like your dopiaza you call for a tbsp of curry powder, garam masala, cumin powder and 1 tsp coriander powder, so how would you use this spice according to those volumes?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 7th of March 2023

Just add the mixed powder gradually to taste as it is difficult to advise exactly how much. It should work though as a replacement for the spices you list. Thanks Dan


Saturday 17th of September 2022

Hi Dan, took your advice and made mixed curry powder, great addition to the making of curries, also made the base sauce, made enough to fill ten large take away trays and froze them, superb results when thawing them one by one in the fridge so easy to make curries now when all the work preparing them has been carried out weeks earlier. 10/10.

Dan Toombs

Friday 23rd of September 2022

I agree, great to hear! Thanks very much. Dan


Tuesday 24th of May 2022

I made this mix yesterday A small batch And used it tastes really really good It transformed a simple dish to a very very yummy one Thanks soo much for sharing

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 24th of May 2022

Thanks very much for letting me know, I am really glad you enjoyed it. Dan


Thursday 12th of May 2022

Hi, Thanks for your recipe for Mixed Powder - Curry House Curry Powder, much appreciated.

Based on your above mix, I want to make a curry sauce for a family of four. How much of the total mix would I use? Furthermore, how many ml of water would be needed to add the powder mix.

Kind regards,


Dan Toombs

Tuesday 24th of May 2022

I would use about 1 tbsp of mixed powder but maybe add it gradually to taste. Just follow the recipe as to how much liquid. Thanks Dan

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