Curry, the spice mixture, as opposed to dishes that are made with it, is totally individual. Everyone’s got their own version. I mix up my own curry because I’m allergic to peppers so I need a mix that doesn’t have any.
I just mixed up a batch this week! I usually don’t measure anything when I cook, so I’ll apologize in advance for the quantitative ambiguity herein.
- Turmeric (a lot)
- Cumin (medium amt)
- Ground black pepper (I am not allergic to this kind of pepper – around 6 grinds)
- Ground ginger (small amount) – I add fresh ginger to curry dishes when I’m making them
- Coriander (ground, small amount)
- Fenugreek (medium amount) – I usually grind it with a stone mortar & pestle first
- Celery seed (tiny amount) – I usually grind it with a stone mortar & pestle first
- Cloves (around 5 – I usually grind it with a stone mortar & pestle first)
- Caraway seed (between small and medium amount – I usually grind it with a stone mortar & pestle first)
- Cinnamon – sometimes a small amount, sometimes a tiny amount.
Some other curries I’ve seen had cayenne, garlic and mace in them as well. I don’t like these in my curry. Also, I find that I like the curry better if it rests for a few days after mixing, so I usually make it at least 3 days in advance of when I plan to use it, and I make a LOT. I keep it in the refrigerator, so I only make it about once every 8 months or so.
Afterthought: anything you’re grinding before you mix it in (like cloves, fenugreek, caraway, celery seeds, etc.) should be toasted first. It really brings out the flavor. I usually toast by putting the stuff in a hot, dry frying pan and shaking it around for a minute or two. When you smell the fragrance of the spice, and it smells really good, that’s when they’re done — THEN grind them. Don’t just let it sit in the pan — you need movement and flipping and such, because it will burn on one side.