Tag Archives: Spices

Curry in a Hurry. How Curry Powder Came to America

Here in the States, when most of think of curry, we immediately think of a “golden colored powder”, and a few curry dishes that we may have tried, or enjoyed.

Nothing too complicated.

Maybe a Curried Lamb, or perhaps, a Curried Thai or Indian dish at favorite restaurant in town.

But there are a few misconceptions about the curry powder that you’ve come to know all of these years, and we thought we’d clear up a few of them here.

Curry 101, so to speak.

And “psssst”, don’t feel bad if you learn something new here, there are professional chef’s out there who, if they were honest, would have to admit that they don’t know much about curry’s interesting past either.

Let’s start from the beginning.

The Curry Tree is native to the Indian subcontinent and its leaves are used in many Indian and Asian dishes.

However, curry leaves, are not in curry powder.

Surprised?

Actually, curry powder is a blend of herbs and spices all its own. In fact, curry powder is kind of a “short cut” creation, replicating the spices most “commonly” used to make the traditional yellow curry from scratch as it was done in India for centuries. The yellow color coming primarily from the spice, turmeric.

And curry dishes aren’t exactly a new thing in America.

In fact, while curry dishes themselves originated in India and Southeast Asia, curry powder actually made its way to America via…. Wait for it…

Britain.

The Story…

The story goes that after the British arrived on our shores, (well before the battle for our own independence) so too did the East Indians, and with them, their passion for curry dishes.

By that time, even the East Indians living in Britain were reluctantly beginning to use a convenient, pre-blend form of curry powder made in India. Mainly due to the difficulty of finding the many different spices in the British markets that were needed to make their traditional curry blends.

Interestingly, by all accounts, the Indians back in India didn’t care much for this new powder that they were making for the Brits, choosing instead, to continue grinding it together from scratch with a mortar and pestle. Giving them the freedom to continue making their time honored, individual curry recipes from the spices that they had no trouble finding in their markets.

But they made this curry powder for the Brits anyway, and sent it along to them. In turn, that same powder came over on the ships from Britain to us here in the States (along with a bunch of men in fancy red coats with silver buttons interested in making it their permanent home.)

What was sacrificed in the process however, was the many different expressions of curry flavors treasured by cooks and enjoyed by so many in back in India.

They were mostly lost the western world for some time.

The “dumbing down” of curry by the creation of this one size fits all, “short cut” powder, became quite a sore subject back in its homeland, India.

So, in summary:

  1. Curry powder doesn’t use curry leaves, which are actually green. Curry leaves are however, used in some Indian cooking recipes. They are, when dried and ground, the color of…mmmm? Ground sage?
  2. Curry leaves don’t taste anything like curry powder.
  3. Curry powder is a blend of spices, not a single one.
  4. The curry powder we know it, is a “shortcut” form which didn’t come from India or in Indonesia by choice but rather for convenience.

So, now know a little something about the “blend” called Curry Powder. The yellow one.

But the word “curry” also became, over time, a phrase used to as much to denote a cooking style, as the flavor we associate it with. Much the way we use the term “barbecue” here in America.

For example, it’s often said, particularly in our Southern states, “we’re having barbecue tonight”, which doesn’t tell you what meat, or “exactly” how it may be cooked (although you can basically assume slowly and smoked), or even how it is seasoned.

You do however, generally know what you’re getting and generally the range of tastes.

Similarly, “we’re having curry” doesn’t divulge the meat, (but you can generally assume it’s braised or stewed), or for matter, exactly what type of curry it might be?

In essence, from a cooking style perspective, this is one cooking style…

This, is another…

So, beyond the “yellow” curry most people are familiar with, what are the other types of curries out there?

First, it’s important to mention that there are dozens upon dozens of different flavored yellow curry powders out there depending on the blends. And some curries are red in color, due to the addition of red chilis and some are even green.

All look and taste uniquely their own. But they are all curry blends.

The answer to the question it’s probably thousands. Especially if you also take into consideration the word ‘curry” as both the flavor AND a category of cooking method.

If this were a math problem, it would look something like this…

Cultural taste preferences, (Indian, Thai, African, Asian, British and so on), X the spice choices used, X ratios of each spice to one another, X Scoville (heat index) of chilis used (if any), X meats and other proteins used, X the cooking method employed.

In other words, thousands.

As such, curry has become globally popular and a welcome addition to menus of all types.

Of course, The Red Goose Spice Company not only has a fabulous yellow curry powder in stock, but we can also custom blend any recipe you have or that you might wish to create for your business or retail sales.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you bring the ancient and historical flavor of curry to your customers.

Red Goose’s EVERYTHING Seasoning Blend. With Recipe!

Special,…memorable.

Sometimes, in moments of true culinary inspiration we indeed find that one “key” ingredient that’s missing and, as a result, we proudly turn ordinary, into EXTRAordinary.

Then again, like a song writer with a “writers block”, try as we might, there are just those times when nothing, absolutely nothing seems to create that same magic.

More of this, less of that and finally pulling out all the stops by trying those long-forgotten seasonings you pushed to the back of the cupboard ages ago, and still, even THEY don’t seem to quite do the trick.

You throw everything at a recipe idea but the “kitchen sink”.

In the end, the kitchen sink is where all of the attempts eventually end up.

We’ve all heard the expression that “sometimes”, less IS more.

But just like every rule has its exceptions, there are actually times when, truthfully, MORE is more.

When anything you try doesn’t seem to be the answer…

Try EVERYTHING!

Red Goose Everything Seasoning Blend.

Long since known for its blast on bagels, Red Goose Everything seasoning is a welcome seasoning addition to your standard breading procedures, in salad dressings mixes, sprinkled on vegetable stir-fry’s, or, as a remarkable salad seasoning topper.

Another delicious application for the Everything Seasoning Blend is on baked breads, or for the recipe we’d like to share with you below, for our Red Goose Soft, Petite Pretzel Loaves.

Red Goose Soft, Petite Pretzel Loaves with Everything Seasoning 

Makes 6 – 5 ounce Petite Pretzel Loaves

2 lbs.                 Frozen Bread or Pizza Dough (Any Brand)

3/4 Cup             Baking Soda

2 Qts.                Water

½ Cup               Red Goose Everything Seasoning

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Thaw frozen bread dough in the refrigerator overnight or until completely soft and pliable.
  3. Place the water in a non-reactive saucepan or metal casserole dish of at least 2” of depth and 9” to 10” in diameter then stir in the baking soda until it dissolves. Place the solution over medium low heat until it JUST simmers.
  4. Portion the dough into 6 equal pieces approximately 5 + ounces each.
  5. Roll out each portion of dough into an 8″ long, thick stick. Repeat for the remaining pieces.
  6. Let the sticks rest 5 minutes.
  7. Place the dough sticks in the gently simmering baking water and poach on both sides approximately 2 to 3 minutes rolling over the sticks as they “poach”.
  8. Remove the sticks with a slotted spatula and place on a non-stick baking pan (approximately 2″ apart from one another). You may also want to spray this pan lightly with a non-stick vegetable spray.
  9. While the dough sticks are still moist and VERY sticky, sprinkle evenly, and heavily, with the EVERYTHING SEASONING so that it will stick to the dough.
  10. Before baking, slash each dough stick with a sharp knife with diagonal cuts approximately 1/4″ deep and 1″ to 2″ apart. Bake for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until the “Pretzel Loaves” are medium brown and baked through.
  11. Serve plain or with your favorite mustard.