Tonight I had a hankerin’ for Paul Prudhomme’s original, artery-stopping chicken curry. My usual go-to powder is Bolst’s hot version, but alas, my can is not at this house. I’ve made do with a food service version, and the flavor after toasting is OK, but the sauce is not the deep, intense yellow I remember.
Is there a modern-day version of Bolst’s that is excellent? I’ve heard curry powder is extremely long-lived, so I don’t mind buying in quantity.
The Bolst family’s been making and selling curry powder in Bangalore, India since 1932.
I don’t know how their spice blend differs from others, except that the constituent parts that impart the heat are peppers and mustards. The Bolst hot is a luminous deep yellow that darkens with toasting, and will stain at a distance of 1,000 yards.
Maybe. I do know that curry powder came about to serve British cooks as a convenience to avoid them sourcing and grinding all the constituents themselves.
(John Hartley - a culinary patriot eating & cooking in Northwest England)
Although this Briton generally cooks from books written by folk of Asian heritage where recipes generally give the various individual spices. From time to time, I see a recipe from a non-Asian for a dish that includes curry powder. I would usually adapt that by using garam masala and some Kashmiri chilli powder.
At a tangent, I do keep a couple of jars of Sharwood’s spice pastes - such as tikka - which, mixed with yoghurt, makes a good marinade.
If you like the flavor otherwise, just add more ground turmeric. If it is lacking depth in other expected flavors, that’s harder to tweak. On the occasions I need “curry powder” instead of a specific masala, I have had ok success with both McCormick’s, Tone’s, or Penzey’s (usually whatever the “hot” variety of whichever brand).
Gotta ask why not just make your own? I do 'cause a lot of the store bought stuff has cardamom in it (which I detest)… WAY more flavor from toasted whole seeds/chilis over pre-ground packaged… plus you can change it up to best go with what you’re cooking.
It really only takes a few minutes if you toast your seeds early, and them let them cool while you start to prep your ingredients. Then super quick/easy to make a small batch in a M&P, or larger batches in a VM/FP/grinder.
I make curry perhaps 5-6 times a year, and probably half the time it’s a Japanese-style using blocks of roux. IOW, I don’t make it enough to keep the requisite whole spices on hand, and rely on commercial blends. Admittedly, those jars sitting in my pantry are getting older and blander as we speak, but they work for me. If I made curry weekly instead of weakly, I might make my own, but in my case, convenience wins.
Even a dear friend who was born in India and whose first language was Punjabi admitted that the only time she made curry from scratch is when she knew her mother would be eating it. Otherwise, she used a blend from a jar.