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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Try this mixed powder in the following curry house style recipes!
- 3 tbsp ground cumin
- 3 tbsp ground coriander
- 4 tbsp curry powder
- 3 tbsp paprika
- 3 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- Mix all the ingredients together, store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, and use as needed.
- 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.