This yellow curry powder recipe is primarily made up of turmeric, cumin, coriander, and fenugreek, with some warm and spicy background notes. This blend works well raw, but tempering in oil or roasting in a pan for 1 minute deepens its flavor. You can use this blend in a number of different dishes—check out the archives for a full list, but here are a few of my favorites:
- vegan biryani (Assyrian)
- mango fish tacos
- amba slaw
- easiest chicken biryani
- Assyrian potato stew | shirw’it kirtopie
- sheet pan chicken curry
- red lentil soup
- chicken curry
- sheet pan kirtopie | sheet pan potato curry
- a vegetarian meze dinner party
Feel free to follow along with the recipe at the end of this post, or use this video if you’re more of a visual person:
History of curry powder
You’ll find yellow curry powder in a lot of Assyrian and Iraqi dishes. It’s become an important part of our cuisine in recent centuries, and it’s in everything from biryani to amba to masgouf. And it feels essential to the food that makes me think of home cooking. So many family recipes begin with a spoonful or two of Madras curry powder. But it’s important to note that the whole idea of curry actually has a history of colonialism and a connection to our shared experience with the Indian subcontinent (check out articles by Sucharita Kanjilal, Naben Ruthnum, and Little Global Chefs for more information and context). And while it’s not strictly an “authentic” Middle Eastern ingredient (nor an authentic Indian one), it’s certainly become a part of Iraqi and Assyrian cuisines.
What is authenticity anyway? Things are always changing. Some new things come from beautiful instances of cultural sharing. And some new things happen from violence and conquest. But in either case we’re left with whatever remains. When we take stock, maybe it’s just important that we remember and acknowledge our history and our circumstances, while working toward an equitable future.Print
Yellow Curry Powder + recipes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: about 3/4 cup
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons ground fenugreek seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons ground curry leaves (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom *
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground chili
- Prep any whole spices by grinding them and then measuring them. Use a very clean coffee grinder, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle.
- Combine all ingredients and store in a sealed glass container for 6 months to a year.
* If you’re using whole pods, use green cardamom, rather than black, and discard the shells before grinding the seeds. If you’re using ground spices, green cardamom is the same thing as a standard shaker of cardamom you’ll find in the supermarket.
An easy to follow and make recipe for yellow curry powder. It also tastes great, which makes it even better!
I’m so glad you’re enjoying it!
This recipe is both reliable and versatile. Nice warm flavor, perfect for chicken and fish.
That’s a perfect combination!
Curry powder is a staple in Caribbean kitchens too, but even so your recipe is the first time I’ve tried or even considered mixing it myself. I don’t know anyone at home (in The Bahamas or Jamaica) who mixes their own powder, we just buy it pre-jarred. Maybe for people of Indian descent, in say Trinidad, it’s not unusual. (I could go down a rabbit hole of heritage and how there are Indians in The Bahamas that aren’t the same as the Indians in Trinidad…) Anyway, I loved the flavour the first time I made this, and it was just like the curry we use, which is very cool because it means I can use it everywhere I want curry. That time I had to leave out a few spices I didn’t have, but this time I had everything except the mustard powder, so I’m even more excited to put it to use! Thanks so much!
I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying it Gabrielle! (Also, IDK how I missed your comment months and months ago, and am just now seeing it!!)
Love your blog, Kathryn. And the photos !!!!
Aw shucks, thank you!! 😀
Where do you buy your spices? Do you buy in bulk? What do you recommend? Thanks
I do buy in bulk! When I’m in Hong Kong, I buy from Regency Spices, and when I’m in the US I buy from the Spice House. But sometimes when I find a really good deal, I go for a bulk Amazon purchase. And I prefer Rose Dose for edible roses. (BTW, none of this is sponsored—although full disclosure, I did collaborate with the Spice House and Rose Dose on two Instagram giveaways. But I’m just a big dorky fan and think their spices are great).