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Chinese Curry Powder Recipe: How to Make Your Own at Home

Chinese cuisine is famous for its delicious and exotic flavours. One of the most popular dishes in Chinese cuisine is Chinese chicken curry, which is a mouth-watering blend of spices and herbs that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. The key ingredient in this dish is the Chinese curry powder, which is a unique blend of spices that gives the dish its distinctive flavour.

A hand reaches for a jar of turmeric, ginger, and other spices on a wooden table, surrounded by bowls of cinnamon, cloves, and coriander

Making your own Chinese curry powder at home is a great way to add a personal touch to your cooking and take your dishes to the next level. The best part is that it's incredibly easy to make, and you can customize it to suit your taste preferences. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a delicious and authentic Chinese curry powder that will elevate your dishes to new heights.

If you're a fan of seafood, you can also experiment with adding different types of seafood to your Chinese curry powder. Shrimp, crab, and squid are all excellent options that add a unique flavour and texture to the dish. So why not give it a try and create your own signature Chinese chicken curry with homemade curry powder and seafood?

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese chicken curry is a popular dish in Chinese cuisine that is made using Chinese curry powder.
  • Making your own Chinese curry powder at home is easy and allows you to customize the flavour to your liking.
  • Seafood, such as shrimp, crab, and squid, can be added to the dish to create a unique flavour and texture.

History and Origins

A mortar and pestle crush whole spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric. A cloud of fragrant yellow powder fills the air

Curry powder is a spice blend that has its roots in Indian cuisine. The exact origins of curry powder are not clear, but it is believed to have been created by the British during their colonial rule in India. The British were fascinated by the diverse flavours of Indian curries and wanted to recreate them back home. This led to the creation of curry powder, which was a blend of various spices commonly used in Indian curries.

Influence of Indian Curries

Indian curries have a long history that dates back to ancient times. The use of spices and herbs in Indian cooking can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished around 2600 BCE. Over time, Indian cuisine evolved, and so did its curries. The British were introduced to Indian curries during their colonial rule and were fascinated by the complex flavours and aromas. This led to the creation of curry powder, which was a blend of various spices commonly used in Indian curries.

Adaptation in Chinese Cuisine

Chinese cuisine has a long history of adapting foreign dishes and making them their own. Chinese chicken curry is a prime example of this adaptation. Chinese chicken curry is made with a blend of spices that are similar to those used in Indian curries, but with a Chinese twist. The Chinese version of curry powder includes ingredients such as ginger, garlic, and Chinese five-spice powder, which gives it a unique flavour.

Popularity in the UK

Curry powder became popular in the UK during the 19th century, and it remains a staple ingredient in British cuisine to this day. The British love their curries, and there are countless variations of the dish. Chicken tikka masala, which is a British invention, is one of the most popular curries in the UK. It is made with chicken that has been marinated in a blend of spices, including curry powder, and then grilled or baked.

If you are looking to make a Chinese-style curry at home, you can use a blend of Chinese five-spice powder, ginger, garlic, and curry powder. You can also add seafood to the dish for added flavour and nutrition. Shrimp, scallops, and squid are all great options for seafood curry.

Ingredients and Substitutes

A table holds bowls of ginger, garlic, and turmeric, with jars of coriander, cumin, and fenugreek. A spoon measures out a mix of spices

When it comes to making Chinese curry powder, there are a few essential spices that you will need. These spices include turmeric, cumin, coriander, and salt. You can adjust the amount of each spice to suit your personal taste, but these are the basic spices that you will need to create a delicious Chinese curry powder.

Essential Spices

Turmeric is the spice that gives Chinese curry powder its distinctive yellow colour. It has a slightly bitter taste and is often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. Cumin is another essential spice that is commonly used in Chinese curry powder. It has a warm, earthy flavour and is often used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican cuisine. Coriander is a fragrant spice that has a citrusy flavour and is often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. Salt is also an essential ingredient in Chinese curry powder, as it helps to bring out the flavours of the other spices.

Protein and Vegetables

When it comes to choosing protein for your Chinese curry, chicken thigh and beef are popular choices. You can also use seafood such as prawns or mussels as a substitute if you prefer. For vegetables, potatoes, carrots, peas, onions, and bell peppers are commonly used. You can adjust the amount of each vegetable to suit your personal taste.

Creating a Balanced Flavour

To create a balanced flavour in your Chinese curry, it's important to use a combination of sweet, spicy, and savoury flavours. You can add sugar to your curry to give it a slightly sweet taste. You can also add chilli powder or fresh chillies to give it a spicy kick. For a savoury flavour, you can use soy sauce or fish sauce.

Chinese curry powder is a versatile spice blend that can be used in a variety of dishes. By using the right ingredients and adjusting the amount of each spice to suit your personal taste, you can create a delicious Chinese curry that is sure to impress.

Cooking Techniques

A hand sprinkles Chinese curry powder into a sizzling wok of stir-frying vegetables and meat. Steam rises as the spices infuse the dish

Preparing the Curry Powder

To make Chinese curry powder, you can use a combination of spices such as turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, garlic, and chilli powder. You can also add Chinese five-spice powder and cassia cinnamon for a more authentic flavour. Roasting the spices beforehand can enhance the aroma and flavour of the curry powder. Simply heat a dry skillet over medium heat, add the spices, and stir for a few minutes until fragrant. Then, let them cool down before grinding them into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Cooking the Base Sauce

The base sauce for Chinese chicken curry typically consists of chicken broth, coconut milk, and curry powder. You can also add onions, garlic, ginger, and tomato paste for extra flavour. To cook the sauce, heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Then, add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Next, add the curry powder and stir until fragrant. Finally, add the chicken broth and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Cook the sauce for about 10-15 minutes until it thickens.

Variations for Meats and Vegetables

Chinese chicken curry is a popular variation of this dish, but you can also use other meats such as beef, pork, or seafood. Shrimp or prawns are a great addition to this dish, and you can cook them in the curry sauce for a few minutes until they turn pink. Vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and peas also work well in this dish. Simply add them to the curry sauce and cook until tender. You can also adjust the spice level by adding more or less curry powder, or by adding chilli powder or fresh chillies.

Cooking Chinese curry powder is a simple and delicious way to add some variety to your meals. Whether you're using chicken, beef, pork, or seafood, this dish is sure to be a hit with your family and friends.

Serving and Pairing

A hand pours Chinese curry powder into a bowl of ingredients, ready for mixing and pairing


When it comes to serving Chinese curry, rice is the go-to accompaniment. Steamed rice is a classic choice, but fried rice can also be a delicious option. If you're feeling adventurous, try pairing your Chinese curry with noodles for a change. The combination of the tender meat and rich sauce with the chewy noodles is sure to be a hit.

If you're serving your Chinese curry as part of a larger meal, consider adding some dim sum to the mix. These bite-sized snacks are perfect for sharing and can be a great way to try a variety of different flavours.

For those who enjoy seafood, shrimp or scallops can be a great addition to your Chinese curry. The delicate flavour of the seafood pairs well with the bold spices in the curry, creating a delicious fusion of flavours.

Wine and Beverage Pairings

When it comes to pairing wine with Chinese curry, a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio can be a good choice. The acidity in the wine helps to cut through the richness of the curry, while the fruity notes complement the spices.

If you prefer something non-alcoholic, consider serving your Chinese curry with a refreshing iced tea or a cold beer. For a more traditional pairing, try serving your curry with a splash of Shaoxing wine. This Chinese rice wine has a complex flavour that can enhance the flavours in your curry.

When it comes to serving and pairing your Chinese curry, the most important thing is to have fun and experiment with different flavours and combinations. Don't be afraid to try something new and see what works best for you.

Storage and Reheating Tips

A hand pours Chinese curry powder into a glass jar, seals it, and labels it with storage and reheating tips

Storing Leftovers

If you have any leftover Chinese chicken curry, you can store it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 48 hours. It's important to make sure that the curry is fully cooled before placing it in the fridge. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria.

If you don't plan on eating the leftovers within 48 hours, you can freeze them for later. Transfer the curry to a container or freezer bag, allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to the freezer for up to 2 months. Label the container with the freezing date to keep track of how long it's been in the freezer.

If you want to add some variety to your leftovers, consider adding some seafood to the mix. You can use prawns, scallops, or even white fish to add some extra protein and flavour to your dish.

Best Practices for Reheating

When you're ready to eat your leftover Chinese chicken curry, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that it's safe and delicious.

If you're reheating the curry in the microwave, make sure that it's heated all the way through before eating. Stir the curry occasionally to ensure that it heats evenly.

If you're reheating the curry on the stove, place it in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir the curry occasionally to ensure that it heats evenly. You can add a splash of water or chicken stock to the pan if the curry is too thick.

If you're reheating takeout-style Chinese chicken curry, it's best to transfer it to a microwave-safe container before heating it up. This will help ensure that the curry heats evenly and doesn't dry out.

By following these tips, you can enjoy your Chinese chicken curry leftovers safely and deliciously.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table with various spices and ingredients, a mixing bowl, and a recipe book open to the page titled "Chinese Curry Powder Recipe."

How do you whip up a simple Chinese curry powder?

To make a simple Chinese curry powder, you'll need a few key ingredients such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, and chilli powder. Combine these ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly to create a fine powder. You can also add other spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom for an extra kick of flavour. Adjust the quantities to suit your taste and store the mixture in an airtight container.

What's in a Chinese curry powder mix?

A typical Chinese curry powder mix includes a blend of spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, and chilli powder. Some variations may also include cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. The exact blend of spices may vary depending on the recipe or brand.

Can you substitute anything for Chinese curry powder?

If you can't find Chinese curry powder, you can substitute it with Indian curry powder. However, keep in mind that the flavour profile will be different. You can also try making your own curry powder using the spices mentioned earlier.

What sets Chinese curry powder apart from Indian curry powder?

Chinese curry powder tends to be milder and sweeter compared to Indian curry powder, which is spicier and more pungent. Chinese curry powder also often includes ingredients like cinnamon and star anise, which are not typically found in Indian curry powder.

What's the secret to a lush Chinese curry with coconut milk?

Coconut milk is a key ingredient in Chinese curry as it adds a creamy texture and a subtle sweetness to the dish. To make a lush Chinese curry with coconut milk, use fresh, high-quality coconut milk and simmer it slowly with the curry powder and other seasonings. Be sure not to overcook the curry as this can cause the coconut milk to separate and become grainy.

Why does Chinese curry have its unique taste?

Chinese curry gets its unique taste from the blend of spices used in the curry powder. The addition of ingredients like cinnamon and star anise also contribute to the distinct flavour profile. Additionally, the use of coconut milk gives Chinese curry a creamy and sweet taste, which sets it apart from other types of curry. If you want to add some seafood to your Chinese curry, you can use shrimp, scallops, or squid to give it a delicious seafood twist.