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#1
Old 02-16-2013, 08:49 AM
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Recommend a substitute for curry powder

I like hot spicy food, I really do. Put for some reason, I HATE curry. Sort of like some folks donít like cilantro (Iím in that group)

Anywho, Iíve found a very nice and easy Cashew Crusted Chicken recipe that calls for curry.

- Apricot preserves
- Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon curry ( blech)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped cashews
- 4 chicken breasts

Itís pretty basic. Melt stuff, roll chicken in melted stuff then in cashews, bake chicken.

Iím thinking a little chili powder instead of the curry. Perhaps some cumin?
#2
Old 02-16-2013, 08:55 AM
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Tumeric is the spice that makes curry powder yellow and gives it that distinctive curry flavor. Curry powder also typically includes cumin, so I think you'd be safe there. You could google some recipes for curry powder and choose the seasonings that aren't tumeric.

The amount of curry powder called for is pretty small, anyway. I think the majority of the flavor is going to come from the apricot preserves and mustard.

Last edited by freckafree; 02-16-2013 at 08:57 AM.
#3
Old 02-16-2013, 08:56 AM
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Any of the other chili powders. Try chili powder, paprika, garam masala (might be closest to curry) or comino.

ETA: Ninja'ed - comino = cumin. If you make a blend that's lighter on cumin it might not bleh you.

There's a Ruth Reichl chicken recipe that uses an oil rub of chili, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper you might want to look into. I can't get enough of it.

Last edited by Amateur Barbarian; 02-16-2013 at 08:58 AM.
#4
Old 02-16-2013, 10:27 AM
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Thanks all. I think I will cut the curry powder to half and use half chilli powder and cumin.

I did not know that curry powder was a combination of tumeric and cumin. I really like cumin in mexican dishes. So maybe it's the tumeric that I don't like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPress
There's a Ruth Reichl chicken recipe that uses an oil rub of chili, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper you might want to look into. I can't get enough of it.
That sounds very interesting. Decisions, decisions.
#5
Old 02-16-2013, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freckafree View Post
Tumeric is the spice that makes curry powder yellow and gives it that distinctive curry flavor.
I actually disagree with that. Turmeric does make curry powder yellow but it's not the distinctive spice in curry to me. In fact, there's plenty of curry-powder type concoctions (masalas) out there that don't have any turmeric in them. Turmeric on its own just has an earthy taste, and I don't think of it as particularly distinct. I would say it's the mix of cumin and coriander seed that gives most curry powders the bulk of their flavor, but there is more going on, too.

Chili powder was going to be my suggestion for the OP.
#6
Old 02-16-2013, 10:47 AM
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Yeah, most standard American curry powders aren't just turmeric and cumin; they can have a wide variety of ingredients. It may be that turmeric is the most offensive to the OP's palate, or cumin (but as noted, many chili powders/Mexican foods include cumin), or cinnamon in combination with the other spices, or fenugreek, or something else we can't pin down.
#7
Old 02-16-2013, 10:51 AM
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"Curry" is pretty vague. Do you know which spices you object to?
#8
Old 02-16-2013, 11:01 AM
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having "assembled" my own curry mixes, I think the most distinctive scent and flavor in typical blends is the cardamom. It's quite fragrant.
#9
Old 02-16-2013, 11:14 AM
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Huh, I think the most obvious spice in the standard yellow American "curry powder" is fenugreek. Funny.
#10
Old 02-16-2013, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by araminty View Post
Huh, I think the most obvious spice in the standard yellow American "curry powder" is fenugreek. Funny.
That's interesting, as I don't even think of fenugreek as an essential curry spice, but, it's true, a lot of American curry powders do have fenugreek rather high up on the ingredients list (usually behind coriander seed, the main component.) When I make my own curry powder blends, they often don't have any fenugreek (which has a maple-like flavor to it and can be quite bitter if you use too much.)
#11
Old 02-16-2013, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
having "assembled" my own curry mixes, I think the most distinctive scent and flavor in typical blends is the cardamom. It's quite fragrant.
Oh, yes, cardamom is very distinctive. But something like McCormick's, which is probably the most well-known American curry powder, does not have any cardamom in it.

Quote:
"Curry" is pretty vague. Do you know which spices you object to?
And that's what it really boils down to. As this thread indicates, there's a wide range of spices in your typical curry mix, and different people pick out different spices as being the most distinctive.

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-16-2013 at 11:31 AM.
#12
Old 02-16-2013, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by araminty View Post
Huh, I think the most obvious spice in the standard yellow American "curry powder" is fenugreek. Funny.
could be both, the two I've done recently didn't have any fenugreek in them. but I made the mistake of getting cardamom pods instead of seed, so I had to sit there shucking the damn things by hand for 20 minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell
Oh, yes, cardamom is very distinctive. But something like McCormick's, which is probably the most well-known American curry powder, does not have any cardamom in it.
supermarket spices might as well be sawdust

Last edited by jz78817; 02-16-2013 at 11:35 AM.
#13
Old 02-16-2013, 11:53 AM
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You really are better off with the pods, IMHO. They are more pungent and fresh-tasting out of the pod vs. seeded and especially vs. already ground. I never buy cardamom in non-pod form. Just how much curry powder were you making that you were shucking for 20 minutes? A little cardamom goes a long way, in my experience.

BTW, have you ever tried black cardamom? Another interesting spice, different in flavor from green cardamom. Kind of smoky, for lack of better description.

Also, if you're looking for other uses, cardamom is great in sweets (the Swedes use it in cookies, for instance), and a pod or two in a pot of coffee is really nice, too.
#14
Old 02-16-2013, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enipla View Post
That sounds very interesting. Decisions, decisions.
Here's a link to the recipe. This went from an experiment to a family staple in one go. We make it with boneless chicken breasts but the original works well, too.
#15
Old 02-16-2013, 01:37 PM
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I've never used "curry powder." When I make curry, I use (onions, garlic, ginger), cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, turmeric, cumin, red chili/cayenne, black pepper, and salt. I don't know if any of those ingredients are what puts the OP off curry powder.
#16
Old 02-16-2013, 02:04 PM
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I don't like the taste of the tumeric in curry powder so I use Garam Masala.you can find it in the spice section or buy it at a specialty store.


Quote:
Originally Posted by enipla View Post
I like hot spicy food, I really do. Put for some reason, I HATE curry. Sort of like some folks donít like cilantro (Iím in that group)

Anywho, Iíve found a very nice and easy Cashew Crusted Chicken recipe that calls for curry.

- Apricot preserves
- Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon curry ( blech)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped cashews
- 4 chicken breasts

Itís pretty basic. Melt stuff, roll chicken in melted stuff then in cashews, bake chicken.

Iím thinking a little chili powder instead of the curry. Perhaps some cumin?
#17
Old 02-16-2013, 02:17 PM
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It's most likely the cumin that's the culprit. Like cilantro, people either love it or hate it. Many people think cilantro tastes like soap and that cumin smells like feet.

Here's a simple sweet blend called Bangala garam masala:

1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp cardamom seeds
4 cinnamon sticks (3 inch), broken into pieces

Grind in a spice grinder until they're as fine as you like, or grind and sift, repeat, if your grinder isn't up to the task.

This one is more complex, but still has no cumin:

Dabeli Masala

1 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
4 dried cayenne chiles, stems removed (or to taste)
1/4 tsp ground mace
2-3 whole star anise
1-2 dried bay leaves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground turmeric

Grind all but the last two until fine. Mix in the ginger and turmeric.
#18
Old 02-16-2013, 03:55 PM
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Cumin is the principal spice in Texas chili con carne. I wonder if the OP is put off by that?

Personally, I find cardamom too overpowering and clashing so I leave that out.

Last edited by Acsenray; 02-16-2013 at 03:56 PM.
#19
Old 02-16-2013, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Cumin is the principal spice in Texas chili con carne. I wonder if the OP is put off by that?
It sounds to me like the OP is fine with cumin, especially given that he is suggesting substituting the curry powder with chili powder and cumin.

I don't even think you really need to put anything in for the curry powder in the recipe. Just regular salt & pepper will be okay, and maybe some hot pepper for extra heat if you want it. The recipe certainly isn't going to fail with the omission of curry powder.
#20
Old 02-16-2013, 08:01 PM
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I think what makes curry powder taste like "curry powder" is most of all the combination of turmeric and fenugreek. Neither on its own has that distinct "curry powder" aroma, but the two of them together is what makes the commercial curry powder of western countries distinct from other Indian masalas.

It follows that the nearest relative that can substitute for it is garam masala. Garam masala is made with pretty much the same inventory of spices that make up commercial western curry powders, except it has neither fenugreek nor turmeric.

The cookery of India doesn't actually use what's known as curry powder. Each dish gets its own masala formula; some are very simple and some are complex. Indian recipes always cook the spices to develop the flavor. Undercooked spices won't taste quite right. Either frying or toasting is the main way to precook spices, and sometimes boiling. Garam masala is ground from pre-toasted spices so that you can just toss it into a dish with no further preparation. Western curry powders are made of raw spices.

The curcumin in turmeric seems to bring health benefits, and I always try to slip some turmeric in wherever it might go. If my analysis is right, and it's the fenugreek+turmeric combination you dislike about curry powder, then you may even be able to add a bit of just turmeric with the garam masala without triggering the anti-curry powder reflex. In Indian cookery, a little turmeric is used in nearly every savory cooked dish, but in small amounts, because it's bitter. It only takes a little, like no more than Ĺ tsp in a big pot of 8 servings of something. With the compositions of western curry powder blends, which are loaded up with high proportions of turmeric, you're likely to wind up using excess turmeric if you use curry powder as your masala.
#21
Old 02-16-2013, 08:12 PM
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Also, I think garam masala complements the particular recipe in your OP way better than curry power could. If shown your recipe minus the spice, and asked what spices it needs, my immediate thought would have been garam masala. Another Indian cookery secret that complements garam masala and rounds out the flavors especially well in a dish like this is the duo of ginger and garlic (preferably fresh).

Last edited by Johanna; 02-16-2013 at 08:14 PM.
#22
Old 02-16-2013, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
I think what makes curry powder taste like "curry powder" is most of all the combination of turmeric and fenugreek. Neither on its own has that distinct "curry powder" aroma, but the two of them together is what makes the commercial curry powder of western countries distinct from other Indian masalas.
Like I said before, I find this interesting, as to me, it's coriander and cumin that define the "curry flavor." My mother is the same way. She won't eat Indian food and a lot of Middle Eastern/Arabic food because of that flavor combination, which we both identify as "curry." I've found in cooking for others that Middle Eastern dishes that contain the two will not fly with those who hate curry. I rarely use fenugreek in my curry spice blends, and I often skip the turmeric, too, but those who don't like curry still identify the aroma and flavor as curry.

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-16-2013 at 08:31 PM.
#23
Old 02-17-2013, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
Here's a link to the recipe. This went from an experiment to a family staple in one go. We make it with boneless chicken breasts but the original works well, too.
Thanks, that looks good.

And thanks everyone. I used chili powder and cumin and it turned out very good. The appricot and mustard mixed together make an interesting flavor. It's going to be one of my go-to dishes I'm sure since it's so easy.

8 oz dijon style mustard.
8 ox appricot preserves
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cummin
1 cup chopped cashews
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 8-10 pieces.

Mix first 4 ingredients, heat and make a sauce.
Dunk chicken in sauce.
Roll chicken in cashews.
Place chicken in lightly greased 9x13 baking dish
Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes

VERY easy.
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