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Curry Powder

Curry powder, also known as masala powder, is a spice concoction of extensively varying composition developed by the British during the Raj as a means of approximating the flavor of Indian cuisine at home. Curry powder is thus an English invention, where it is still popular. Masala refers to spices, and this is the name given to the thick pasty liquid sauce of combined spices and ghee (clarified butter), butter, palm oil or coconut milk. Curry powder typically includes coriander, turmeric, cumin, and fenugreek in their blends. Masala is a term used in Indian cuisine to describe a mixture of many spices. Depending on the recipe, additional ingredients such as ginger, garlic, fennel seed, clove, mustard seed, green cardamom, black cardamom, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon and black pepper may also be added. It is also the name given to a different mixture of spices that include curry leaves, which is used in South and Eastern Indian cuisine. The word curry is a derivative of the south Indian word curriel, which was used in the local language (Tamil) for a fish stew that had tamarind and curry. This was then picked up and transformed into the present "curry" by the British. The word "curry", in its English sense, has no direct translation into any to India's fifteen languages, and Indians do not use the term even when speaking English. Curry powder is in fact a blend of spices, varying according to regional preferences or traditions. As a result, there are literally thousands of "curry powders", each of which was uniquely suited for the produce and tastes of the region it developed in.  Garam Masala is a Northern Indian style sweet curry blend useful for many vegetarian Indian dishes. Indians tend to use garam masala of which there are also many incantations. In the south another mixture called "sambhar powder" is used which is quite different from garam masala. Curry powder, blend of many spices comes in almost endless varieties. Each curry powder can have different component spices, in differing amounts--making each curry blend unique.