South African Style Curry Powder
If there is one thing I am passionate about, it is spices. My favorite days in the kitchen are days when the fragrance of toasting spices warms the air. I combine and grind these little treasures. Meanwhile, their heady aroma fills the kitchen. As I work, I daydream of all the delicious and nourishing dishes these spices will go into.
My love affair with spices began long ago, when my children were small and we lived in India. There, I learned to appreciate a host of new spices and spice blends. Naturally, in such a vast country, each region has its culinary traditions. Moreover, every family has its particular preferences. Often, families prepare their own, unique spice blends. These blends (known as masalas) run the gamut from savory to sweet. For me, spices present infinite possibilities.
If you love spices, as I do, you are probably quite opinionated. So, I preface this curry powder recipe with the caveat that, as stated in Durban’s recipe bible, Indian Delights (edited by Zuleikha Mayat), curry powder is “never used by Indians.”
However, Indian spices and flavors have been so widely loved in communities where Indians have migrated that most have developed their own curry powder. The flavors vary widely, depending on which part of India the majority of immigrants originally came from and what spices were available when they arrived.
The curry powder I’ve come to know and love in South Africa is a fiery red blend, often involving spices not typically found in other curries, and containing little, if any, turmeric. This is the powder I use (with a healthy dose of red chili flakes thrown in) when I make homemade Currywurst for my family in Johannesburg.
As you prepare your own curry powder at home, feel free to personalize it. Part of the fun of blending your own spices is the pleasure of adjusting the flavors to suit your own preferences.