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DIY Curry Powder, Sauce & Chicken Curry

DIY Curry Powder, Sauce & Chicken Curry

So, you want to make a curry?

Simple, uncomplicated, not too spicy, mostly with what you have in the cupboard?

Four popular curry powder recipes, very simple, full of flavour.  If you really want to get into the depths of Indian flavours we highly recommend the very informative and friendly Curry Recipes Online.

Meantime, try these, look for ingredients you have/like then simply blend them together.

Homemade Curry Powder (recipe 1)
3 tbs ground coriander seeds
1 tbs ground cumin seeds
2 tbs ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cinnamon
plus a large pinch of each:
ground cloves
cardamom powder
cayenne, or chilli powder, or bassar masala

Homemade Curry Powder (recipe 2)
3 tbsp paprika
2 tsp ground red pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground fennel seed
2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cardamon
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves

Homemade Curry Powder (recipe 3)
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cayenne, or chilli powder, or bassar masala
½ tsp black peppercorns

Homemade Curry Powder (recipe 4)
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cayenne, or chilli powder, or bassar masala



Many curry recipes involve a sauce which is known as a base or gravy.  There are as many different ways of preparing these as there are curries but, in essence, they are typically made by combining fried onions, tomatoes and spices.  Here's a simple curry base to try. Once you've learned to make this how you like increase your batch size and freeze portions ready to use any time you want to make a curry.

Onion & Tomato Base
2 Large onions, finely chopped
1 Tin of chopped tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
500ml of water
1 Teaspoon of turmeric
1 Teaspoon ground cumin
½ Teaspoon ground ginger

NB. If you get the temperature and cooking of the onions just right something magical happens to the flavour; any pungency or intense onion flavour is replaced by a delicious sweetness. Having enough oil to fry the onions in rather than on makes all the difference.

In a pan, heat the olive oil to a high temperature, gently introduce the onions and fry until golden brown, about 10 minutes (it is important to avoid blackening the onions, you're looking for soft, translucent golden onions, without brown edges). Be careful, obviously the hot oil is dangerous.

Reduce the heat to simmer, add the spices and garlic and fry for about 30 seconds.  Then add the tin of tomatoes and water and bring back to a boil.

Again, reduce the heat to simmer. When the oil separates you can remove as much or little as you like. Reduce the sauce to desired consistency. Then set aside and allow to cool.

Use a hand blender to make your gravy base as smooth as you can.



First we learned how to make a curry powder at home, then how to make a curry powder into a curry sauce. Finally, here's a simple chicken curry recipe that you can make with any of the four curry powder recipes above.


1Kg of Chicken (thighs, wings, legs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-4 tablespoons of your homemade curry powder
300ml gravy base
1 tablespoon tomato purée
2 tablespoons Greek-style yoghurt (if you like it creamy, optional)

Remove any skin on the chicken

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan then add the chicken, browning  it on all sides over a medium heat (6-8 minutes). Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, add your chopped onion and fry until golden, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes).

Add the chopped garlic and your curry powder and stir, heat through for 30-60 seconds.

Add your gravy base and tomato purée, mix well then add the chicken. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until tender and cooked through (about 45 minutes). Make sure to turn the chicken pieces during cooking.

Remove the chicken to a serving dish then continue to heat the sauce, reducing it to the desired thickness.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the optional yoghurt.

Serve with your favourite Indian meal accompaniments like rice, salad, naan bread.


If a curry powder recipe uses seeds try pan frying them to release aroma and flavour then cool and grind in an electric grinder or pestle and mortar.

Any curry powder you have left over from making your own batch will keep up to 2 months in an airtight container in cool, dry, dark conditions.

  • June 19, 2016
  • Jessica Warren
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