For some of the curries I make, I avoid using pre-mixed curry powders. Take for instance sambar curry – instead of ready-made sambar curry powder, I use a couple of teaspoons of home-grinded chili powder and turmeric powder. For a pot of fish curry, I use a few tablespoons of home-grinded coriander powder and chili powder. The result is as good.
To prepare the chili powder, I first wash, dry and roast the dried chilies. Then, I grind it using the dry-mill blender until I get a fine powder. Whenever I reach out for the jar of chili powder, I know it’s fresh and contains no impurities. I do the same thing for coriander powder. To ensure long shelf life, I store the spices in an air tight container. I tend to keep the spices that I use less frequently in the freezer so that they stay fresh for a longer time. I will be making a new batch of homemade curry powders and masala tea mixture and will be posting the recipes soon.
I am striving for everything-homemade in my household and I am slowly heading towards that direction. It gives me immense satisfaction to prepare ingredients from scratch and ensuring I use the freshest ingredients in hand. I know how much thought and love goes into homemade products. And I am happy to provide my family with that. Knowing how each ingredient is prepared and its source takes the process of cooking to a whole new level. It’s cooking from the soul. No rush, no hurry. The time and effort taken in constructing a meal is that what makes it special and personal.
Homemade and handcrafted curry pastes are far more superior than store-bought ones because of the deep, complex and enriched layers of flavor they produce. When you take the time to dry-roast, toast and grind your own fresh spices and herbs, the result is a profoundly robust mixture that none of the ready-made ones can live up to.