Jamaican Style Curry Powder
Makes about 2/3 cup of spice mix
Unlike decent Indian-style curry powders that show up on most grocery store and natural food isles, Jamaican curry powder can be difficult to find outside of West Indian communities in the states. There are countless recipes for Jamaican curry, but almost all of them feature the unique additions of allspice berries for that uniquely West Indian flavor. It’s up to you how spicy you want this curry powder; make it fiery with lots of chile powder or leave it out all together for a mild, aromatic blend.
It’s fun to whip up a batch, and even using this curry powder in place of the spice ensemble of many of the curries in this book with transform them into something fitting for most any Jamaican or Caribbean meal. Try using this curry powder in the Okra Masala!
This recipe uses a combination of ground and whole spices, some of them lightly toasted. As with any spice mixture, store this in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark cabinet and use within 3 months for the best flavor.
Tip: Recycle an empty glass bottle of spice and fill it with your own blends. This recipe will comfortably 3/4 of the way fill a 3.81 ounce/108 gram glass bottle. Just be sure the glass is clean and absolutely dry before filling. I like to position upside down bottles on top of the radiator; the hot air dries the insides of the bottle perfectly in no time at all. A dedicated blast with a hot hairdryer works too.
Ingredient tip: Look for whole allspice berries–round dark brown seeds about the size of a tapioca pearl–in Latin American groceries or anywhere that stocks Caribbean spices.
- 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 4 teaspoons whole allspice berries
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
- 12 whole cloves
- 6 star anise
- 2 teaspoons black or mixed peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 to 5 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1. In a small skillet over medium heat toast the following whole spices, one batch at a time: coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, allspice berries, cumin seeds, cloves, star anise and peppercorns. Most of the whole spices will toast within 1 1/2 to 2 minutes at the most, with the star anise taking a little longer. Watch the spices carefully to make sure they don’t burn; when the spices become fragrant and lightly browned it’s time to transfer them to a small bowl.
2. Grind all of the toasted whole spices together in a spice grinder or clean coffee mill as fine as possible. Add the remaining ground spices and pulse a few times until everything is combined. Store the spices in a clean glass jar, tightly sealed. Use within 3 months for the best flavor.
Add one or both of the following to your curry powder along with the ground spices and proceed as directed.
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg