If I had a penny for every time I was asked for a simple, basic curry powder you probably wouldn't be reading this! I've discussed elsewhere how migration and local influence has spread both the variety and style of curry powders around the world, a fact reflected in the powders that I have available to buy here on Parva Spices.
That said there is often some commonality between recipes in their base flavours and you can make a very good, simple curry powder with spices that you may well have at your disposal on the spice rack. The only ingredient in this recipe that you may struggle for is the fenugreek. Don't worry too much if you don't have it, the earthy bitterness of fenugreek is not to everybody's liking anyway and is often used in only very small quantities. If you really wish to replace it try some yellow mustard seeds instead.
The dried chillies add enough heat to this curry powder for most peoples appetites but if you do want to go hotter then I recommend a teaspoon or two of good quality chilli powder to liven things up.
This recipe will make between 5 and 6 tablespoons, enough for 10 meals or so depending on your recipe. You can store it an air tight container, away from the light, and use within 3 months.
2 tablespoons whole coriander
5 - 6 whole cloves
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
3 dried, hot red chillies, crushed up (birdseye are good if you have them)
1 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
If you have a cast iron frying pan use it, if not a non stick pan will do the trick. Place it over a medium heat and when hot add the coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, cloves and chillies. Constantly stirring the spices until they become aromatic ( a minute or two depending on the heat). Naturally some of the spices will turn dark as you dry roast them. Now add the fenugreek and turmeric and give everything a really good stir for about ten seconds, being super careful not to burn anything as this will create a very bitter taste to the powder.
Tip the spices into a clean grinder or pestle and mortar and grind into as fine a powder as you can muster. It may be necessary to do this in two batches if like me you have a very small coffee grinder. Store in a clean container somewhere cool and dark. Simple!