Homemade Easy Thai Curry Powder Recipe

Curry powder
John Block/Photolibrary/Getty Images
  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: Approx. 1/2 Cup
Ratings (76)

Curry powder is easier to make than you think, and the taste is so much better than store-bought powders, which, unless you're lucky enough to find an organic blend, usually contain bulking ingredients as well as preservatives (which you won't find listed on the package). This recipe shows you how to make your own so you can be sure it's fresh-tasting as well as healthy--and you can adjust the spiciness of it according to your preference.

Most Thai curries are made from a spice paste rather than curry powder, but this isn't to say Thai cooks don't use curry powder - they do. Using a curry powder rather than a paste means the curry is quick and easy to make--many of the roadside curries in Thailand are made this way. The following recipe creates one of the best curry powders you'll ever try and makes for superior tasting curries or curry-flavored dishes such as this easy classic curry chicken.

What You'll Need

  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 3 bay leaves (remove lower stem)
  • 3 tablespoons coriander (whole or ground)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed (whole or ground)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (ground or whole white peppercorns if you can find them)
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons chili flakes or cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • Pinch of cloves (or 1 whole)

How to Make It

If Using Whole Spices

  1. Place all ingredients in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir continuously for 1 minute, or until pan is very hot. Then reduce heat to medium and continue stirring 6 to 10 minutes. This will lightly toast the spices, leaving them even more fragrant and tasty.
  2. Remove pan from heat and tip spices into a bowl to cool. Meanwhile, prepare your grinder. If using a coffee grinder, you will need to wipe it out very well with a damp cloth or paper towel to remove all traces of coffee.
  1. Place toasted spices in the grinder and grind well to make your curry powder. 

If Using Ground Spices

  1. Stir together all of the ground spices--omitting the bay leaf until you cook your curry--and then dry fry them all together as instructed when using whole spices.
  2. When using this powder for curry, be sure to add 1 to 2 bay leaves to your curry pot.