By Erin McIntosh | Published October 2016

With archeological evidence of its use in India dating back more than 4,000 years, curry may be the oldest and most enduring food tradition in history. Traveling along the Silk Road, spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and peppercorns were once worth more by weight than gold for their stimulating flavors, medicinal properties, and natural preservative powers. As cultures mingled through global trade and colonization, curry recipes were shared and transformed by new palates in lands around the world.

Curry comes from the Tamil word kari, meaning “spiced sauce.” Ranging in composition from region to region, these complex blends of aromatic seeds, roots, leaves, and barks differ from one household to the next in India, where each family passes down its own heirloom curry recipe. The diversity and versatility of this spicy stew has made its way into cuisines from the curry houses of London to Ethiopia’s berbere-infused wat dishes, and the tangy meats of the Caribbean islands.

Nothing quite compares to grinding these blends fresh just before cooking, and they are easy and affordable to prepare at home. Curry pastes and powders can add a pop of flavor to soups, spiced nuts, buttered popcorn, grains, roasted vegetables, and meat dishes. These fragrant spice mixtures are also warming and help support healthy digestion, which is important as the weather turns cool and we indulge in holiday feasts. I hope this collection of homemade curry recipes will inspire you throughout the season, and perhaps even make a wonderful and unique gift for a special foodie in your life.

How to make curry powders:

Toast all spices in a dry pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until warm and fragrant, stirring constantly. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool. On high speed, blend toasted spices until finely powdered. A coffee grinder or bullet blender will work great for this, just be sure it can be a dedicated spice grinder since the aromatics are strong and will linger. Store in a sealed jar for up to six months.

Classic Curry Powder

1/4 cup organic curry leaves

1 1/2 tablespoons organic coriander seeds

1 teaspoon organic turmeric powder

1 teaspoon organic brown mustard seeds

1 teaspoon organic onion flakes

1 teaspoon organic ginger powder

1/2 teaspoon organic fenugreek seeds

1/2 teaspoon organic garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon organic chili flakes

Jamaican Curry Powder

3 tablespoons organic turmeric powder

1 tablespoon organic cumin seeds

1 tablespoon organic allspice

1 tablespoon organic ginger powder

1 tablespoon organic fenugreek seeds

1 teaspoon organic yellow mustard seeds

1 teaspoon organic brown mustard seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons organic white peppercorns

Garam Masala Powder

4 tablespoons organic cinnamon chips

2 tablespoons organic coriander seeds

1 tablespoon organic cumin seeds

1 tablespoon organic cardamom, hulled

1 tablespoon organic cloves

1 tablespoon organic fennel seeds

1 teaspoon organic peppercorns

2 organic bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon organic anise seeds

1/2 teaspoon organic nutmeg powder

1/4 teaspoon organic mace powder

Ethiopian Berbere Paste

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon organic ginger powder

1/2 teaspoon organic cardamom, hulled

1/2 teaspoon organic coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon organic fenugreek seeds

1/2 teaspoon organic cinnamon powder

1/4 teaspoon organic nutmeg powder

1/8 teaspoon organic clove powder

1/8 teaspoon organic allspice powder

3 tablespoons fresh organic onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh organic garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fine sea salt

3 tablespoons organic vinegar

2 cups organic paprika powder

1-2 tablespoons organic red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon organic black pepper

1 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons organic olive oil

Directions:

Toast the first eight   spices in a dry pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until warm and fragrant, stirring constantly. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool. On high speed, blend toasted spices, onion, garlic, salt, and vinegar into a paste. Toast paprika, red pepper flakes, and black pepper in a dry pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Slowly add the water and stir to create a paste. Stir in the spice paste from the blender and olive oil. Continue to stir and warm together over low heat for 10 minutes. Store in a jar in the refrigerator.

Pan-Roasted Carrots with Masala Ghee

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons organic olive oil

organic carrots cut into 15 4-inch sticks

2 tablespoons organic ghee

2 teaspoons garam masala powder

salt to taste

Directions:

Warm olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots and salt lightly.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, turning the carrots so they caramelize on all sides. Add the ghee, garam masala, and salt to taste. Continue cooking until the carrots are tender.

Erin McIntosh is the Content Strategist for Mountain Rose Herbs.

Chickpea Coconut Curry Stew

Ingredients

2 tablespoons organic olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee

1 1/2 cups diced organic potatoes

1 small organic onion, chopped

1 can organic chickpeas

2 cups fresh organic spinach, chopped

4 cloves organic garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons classic curry powder

1 can organic coconut milk (13.5 ounces)

honey

salt

fresh cilantro

Directions:

Warm olive oil, ghee, or coconut oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the potatoes for 10 minutes or until they start to soften and brown, then add the onions and cook until caramelized, stirring often.  Add a little more oil if needed and then gently stir in the chickpeas. Sauté for 5 minutes and add the spinach, continuing to stir until wilted.  In a separate pan, gently bring garlic, ginger, curry powder, and coconut milk to a simmer for several minutes.  Add salt and honey to taste. Pour coconut curry sauce over the vegetables, stir, and bring to a simmer until the potatoes are soft. Garnish with fresh cilantro.