In this article, let’s explore some substitutes for curry powder for those nights when you are craving Indian food but have run out of it.
Whether you are from the subcontinent or not, curry must be a part of your favorite cuisines. Curry is a South Asian dish, but lately, it has gained a lot of popularity in the West. For good reason…it’s delicious!
Curry powder and curry paste is one of the important constituents of curry. Its manufacturers use a mix of spices to make this special curry seasoning.
Many curry blends have a mix of coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper.
Curry powder imparts a distinct tangy, pungent, and spicy taste to the food it is added to. It’s aromatic and can be added to all kinds of food. A simple example is sprinkling curry powder on popcorn.
In a lot of kitchens, curry powder is a staple. But sometimes, when luck is not on your side, you might run out of this heavenly mix.
In such situations, you should look for a suitable curry powder substitute. Here is a list of tried and tested alternatives for curry. And I encourage you to check out your local East Indian market. You will find incredible spice blends, maslas, and curries!
Remember if you have a lot of spices you can try making your own curry powder!
Curry Powder Substitute
1. Garam Masala
Garam masala is the most famous blend of spices used in South Asia.
Cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, and fennel are common ingredients in garam masala. The ingredients in about half of this powder are the same as those in curry powder.
It is a universal spice used in vegetables, chicken, salads, and soups. The plus point is that it is readily available in grocery stores.
Therefore, you can easily replace curry powder with garam masala. But keep in mind garam masala is a bit more robust, so keep your hand light while using it.
2. Sambar Masala
Sambar masala is the current buzzword in town.
It is a South Indian blend of spices containing almost the same ingredients as curry powder, including coriander seeds, cumin, mustard, peppercorns, red chilies, fenugreek, and cinnamon.
This is because both curry and sambar originated in the same region, namely South India.
Sambar powder has a more intense fragrance and flavor, but you can use it as a substitute for curry powder. Moreover, it will bring a unique warmth to your dish.
3. Tandoori Masala
If you’ve ever had tandoori chicken, you’re probably familiar with tandoori masala.
“Tandoori masala is used extensively with dishes such as tandoori chicken. In this dish, the chicken is covered with a mixture of plain yogurt and tandoori masala. The chicken is then roasted in the tandoor on high heat; when prepared in this fashion the chicken has a pink-colored exterior and a savory flavor.” (Source)
It is the Punjabi blend of spices that provides you with a delicious taste and aroma. Simultaneously, its ingredients vary according to region.
Tandoori masala has a slight citrus flavor. Therefore, it is recommended to use half the amount of tandoori masala.
Additionally, your dish’s color may change to a light crimson because of the faint red-orange color of tandoori masala.
4. Chaat Masala
Chaat masala is a combination of spices that offers your meal a sweet and citrusy flavor.
If you don’t have curry powder on hand, swap it with chaat masala since it is a great substitute.
Due to its mild flavor and aroma, it can be used the same way as curry powder.
Moreover, you can add a bit of cumin and cardamom to enhance its flavor. If you prefer a somewhat sharper, spicy flavor, increase the amount slightly.
5. Cumin + Allspice
Cumin is the most often used spice in Asian cuisine. It has a slightly spicy flavor that is earthy, citrusy, and sour.
On the other hand, allspice has a little bit of a sweet taste. You can mix a full teaspoon with ¼ spoon of allspice to make a perfect match of spices with great taste.
Cumin is also a key ingredient in curry powder. So, this mixture can work very well in substituting.
6. Turmeric, Coriander, and Allspice
Turmeric and coriander are already part of curry powder.
If you don’t have a package of curry powder on hand, simply include the top components in your list of substitutes. It helps you to maintain the same flavor as curry powder.
In addition to this turmeric and coriander, add a half teaspoon of allspice. Allspice adds a kick of sweetness to your spicy cuisine. Overall, it will be an excellent choice to substitute curry powder.
FAQs about Substitutes for Curry Powder
1. Can I use paprika powder instead of curry powder?
This isn’t recommended. The paprika powder adds a deep red color and spicy flavor, which alters the genuine taste of curry. Since curry powder targets different taste buds.
2. What makes curry powder yellow?
The yellow hue of curry powder is provided by turmeric. In addition to this, ginger roots also contribute to maintaining this color.
Final Thoughts On Curry Powder Alternatives
When we are talking about Asian cuisine, curry is a staple food. However, you may find yourself short of it or unable to find it for any reason.
Therefore, those mentioned above are some of the substitutes for curry powder that you can use in your kitchen.
These alternatives provide an amazing taste and aroma to your food. Happy cooking!