The magic of any exotic curry is a good curry masala. Curry as we all call commanly is derived from the Tamil word  ‘Kari’ , which means a sauce for the rice.  Curry powder is the basic foundation in which any curry is built. You may be thinking that why waste time when you can get all sorts of curry powders in the market. Start making curry with homemade curry powder and you will never be satisfied with store bought ones. The four essential curry powder’s in any Indian curries are :

  1. Meat curry powder
  2. Fish curry powder
  3. Sambar powder
  4. Garam masala powder

Here I’ve made individual portions but you can make large batches. Always store your excess curry powders in an air tight container and freeze it. You can directly use the powder from the freezer when cooking curry. If you want to refill your masala container,  spread the powder on a tray and air dry it under the sun or warm it in the oven @ 100 C for 10 mts. This will remove any moisture in the powder from the freezer.

Meat Masala Powder

This curry powder can be used for any types of meat be it poultry or red meat. Masala prepared in here is for 1 kg of meat. If you want the curry to be less spicy reduce the curry powder to as much as half. Adjust the heat according to your taste.


  • Cinnamon – 1/4 stick
  • Cardamom pods – 8
  • Cloves – 8 ( I’ve used a bit more since my family loves it )
  • Mace – 1/2
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4tsp
  • Coriander powder – 2 tsp
  • Chilli powder – 1 tsp ( or 3/4 tsp paprika and 1/4 cayenne)

Heat a pan and add all the dry spices and saute till its starts to release its aroma. Switch off the fire and add the dry powdered spices.


Once the mix is cooled, powder it in a miller attachment of your blender / coffee grinder. It is always best to keep a separate coffee grinder for your spices. You can always go with dry coriander seeds and chilli instead of powdered ones I’ve used here. For turmeric, use the super dry ones and of course you’ll need a very powerful miller to powder it ! 🙂

Some recipes with meat masala :
Kerala chicken curry
Mutton curry
Nadan kozhy curry
Mutton perattiyathu
Beef varattiyathu
Chicken roast
Chicken varutharachathu
Quick and easy Black pepper crab

Fish Curry Powder

As I’ve said earlier, a good, tasty and flavourful fish curry needs a good curry powder. People living in the coastal regions of India consumes a lot of seafood. Some regions in India consider fish curry as a vegetarian dish.  Different parts of India have it’s own special ways of preparing fish curry. For any type, this curry powder can be used as foundation and add any special ingredients of the region or prepare the curry in that particular regions special oil.


  • Chilli powder – 2 tsp ( or 1 1/2 tsp paprika and1/2tsp cayenne)
  • Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/8 tsp

Heat a pan and add fenugreek seeds and stir till it starts to release its aroma. Switch off the fire and add the powders and continuously stir till the pan cools down or else the powder will get burned.


Some recipes with Fish curry masala :
Tuna masala
Spicy fish fry
Fish curry in coconut gravy
Fish curry in red chilli sauce
Karimeen pollichathu
Quick and easy Black pepper crab

Sambar powder

This curry powder is specially to make sambar. Any type of vegetables can be used to make sambar, and the sambar will be called by that vegetable’s name. For any type of sambar you can use this masala powder.In Kerala, the spices will be grinded with fresh coconut to form a paste and added to the sambar.


  • 2 tsp chilli powder ( adjust the heat according to your taste. You can use kasmiri chilli powder for colour or paprika )
  • 3/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida powder
  • 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds
  • 1 stem of curry leaves

Warm up these spices and mill it to fine powder.

The recipe for preparing sambar in the link below,

Vegetarian sambar


How to make fish curry powder from scratch will be uploaded later along with garam masala curry powders 🙂