Nothing beats the taste and flavor of a good homemade seasoning, right?! This garlic and black pepper spice can be the perfect substitute for curry powder. With just 5 ingredients in it, this aromatic spice blend will give you all the flavor and depth of a curry powder and is so easy to make!
We are a family of garlic lovers! I mean, what is not to like about garlic, right?! It is wonderfully aromatic and lends its warmth and goodness like a true friend. We do have quite a few recipes using garlic that we love as a family and then we have our individual favorites such as this garlic butter mushroom fry which is my older daughter, M's, go-to Sunday breakfast! I, of course, cannot imagine not having a bottle of this homemade ginger garlic paste in my fridge!
What is curry powder?
Curry powder is a blend of spices that is used in Indian cooking. The term "curry powder" is not authentic to Indian cuisine and is more of a western way of describing a blend of Indian spices. There are many different spice blends and every household in India has its own version of "curry powder" - most often handed down from generation to generation.
What we know in this part of the world as curry powder usually has some or all of these ingredients: black pepper, chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, fenugreek, ground ginger, and turmeric.
What is your favorite homemade curry powder recipe? Do share it with me in the comments below. I would love to know more!
This recipe is free from
This recipe is also vegan and has no added oil.
Garlic is so incredibly flavorful, isn't it?! The one downside though is that, if not balanced well with other ingredients, it can completely overpower the dish.
This well-balanced spice blend will remind you of rainy days in the tropics - the pleasant, earthy aroma that accompanies the first rain falling on soil that has baked in the heat of the sun!
As always, check the recipe card for quantities.
In this mix, I have used some pantry staple spices. Needless to say, each of these spices is a powerhouse of flavor and so good for our health.
Coriander seeds - for their earthy, deep aroma.
Cumin - for its digestive properties.
Nigella seeds - for their distinctive flavor onion-like flavor.
Black pepper - for the heat.
Garlic (of course!) - for its goodness, aroma, and everything nice!
Making this curry powder substitute is so easy! For freshness and flavor, I like making this spice mix in small batches.
See the recipe card for quantities and instructions.
Step 1: Begin by roasting garlic in a pan that is on medium heat - slice the larger cloves of garlic - until golden brown around the edges. Keep aside.
Step 2: In the same pan, add the coriander seeds. Roast them for a minute. Keep the heat to medium.
In just a few seconds, you will begin to smell the earthy aroma of the roasting coriander seeds. At this point add the black pepper. Fry for about 30 seconds. Now add the cumin seeds. Fry for another 30 seconds and then add the nigella seeds.
Step 3: Turn the heat to low and fry all the spices together for another minute or so. The coriander seeds would have turned golden brown by this time. At this stage, add the garlic. Mix, remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
Step 4: Once cool, grind to a coarse powder. That's it! this wonderfully aromatic, immunity-boosting substitute curry powder is ready!
Notes, Storage, and Tips
Roasting the spices: When making spice blends and seasoning at home, I recommend that you roast the spices individually.
Pro tip: Roasting not only intensifies the flavors but also adds shelf life to the spice blend.
Storage: Allow the spice blend to cool down completely and then store it in an airtight glass jar. This homemade seasoning will stay good in your spice cupboard for up to a week. Depending on how much and how often you will use it, you may want to store it in the fridge to keep the freshness intact.
Make small batches: For maximum flavor and freshness, I recommend making this seasoning in small batches - just enough for 2 or 3 dishes. If you want to make a large quantity, then do store it in the fridge.
Make it your own: This spice blend recipe is so flexible and forgiving! You can easily make it your own by increasing or decreasing the quantities of the ingredients. For example, if you are not a fan of garlic, you can either reduce the quantity or omit it entirely from the recipe. Like more spice? Feel free to increase the number of peppercorns for that hit of spice. You can add 1 teaspoon of turmeric for that additional health, flavor, and color!
Use this aromatic spice blend as a seasoning for your soup (such as this vegan potato soup) or
Use this as a curry powder substitute for your favorite curry.
I love using this spice blend as a rub on paneer or halloumi cheese - yum😋
Other common substitutes for curry powder
Have you run out of curry powder and have no time to make this easy-peasy homemade curry powder? No worries! Here are some spices and blends that you can use instead:
✨Garam Masala: An aromatic spice blend made with exotic spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, black pepper, coriander, cumin, and bay leaves.
✨Curry Paste: Store-bought curry paste (such as Madras, Vindaloo, and Jamaican) will work well. Caution - some of these curry pastes can be ferociously hot - do a taste test before using them.
✨Ground Cumin: It might not be the best substitute for curry powder, but when you have no other option, this will do just fine. For more depth of flavor, use bhuna jeera powder instead.
✨Chaat Masala: This is a blend of spices that has a similar flavor profile to curry powder, but with a tanginess. If using this one to replace curry powder, bear in mind that chaat masala usually has salt in it and so taste test and use in increments.
✨Curry powder blend: Make your own with a blend by mixing
2 parts of ground coriander 1 part of ground cumin, 1 part chili powder or cayenne pepper powder, and ½ part turmeric
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use ground coriander, ground cumin or garam masala in place of curry powder.
Make a quick spice blend by mixing
2 parts of ground coriander
1 part of ground cumin
1 part chili powder or cayenne pepper powder, and
½ part turmeric
Curry powder usually has some or all of these ingredients: black pepper, chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, fenugreek, ground ginger, and turmeric.
Have you tried this easy substitute for curry powder? Please take a moment to leave a comment and /or a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! xx Padma
Homemade Substitute for Curry Powder
- 1 frying pan
- 1 spatula
- 1 mixer grinder or pestle and mortar
- 10-12 garlic cloves (40 grams, approximately)
- 2 and ½ tablespoons coriander seeds (40 grams, approximately)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (10 grams, approximately)
- 2 teaspoons nigella seeds/kalonji (10 grams, approximately)
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns (10 grams, approximately)
Ready the ingredients
- Garlic: Peel and slice them.
- Measure out the remaining ingredients.
- Place a heavy-bottomed frying pan (cast iron, if you have one) on medium heat.
Make the spice blend
- To the hot pan, add the garlic slices. Roast them till they start to turn golden brown around the edges. Remove and keep aside. The smell, right?! 😋10-12 garlic cloves
- To the same pan, add the coriander seeds and roast for a minute. You will begin to smell the earthy, sweet smell within just a few seconds. Now add the black peppercorns and roast for another minute.2 and ½ tablespoons coriander seeds, 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- Turn the heat down to low and add the cumin and nigella seeds. Roast for 2 minutes. Add the garlic back to the frying spices. Toss around for a few seconds. Remove from heat and set aside to cool down.2 teaspoons cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons nigella seeds/kalonji
- When cool, grind to a not-so-smooth powder either in a mixer grinder or in a mortar and pestle.
- Tip the spice blend onto a clean plate and let air dry for 10 minutes.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrifgerator and use it as a substitute for cutty powder, as a rub, as a marinade, or as a seasoning to your soup.
- Roasting the spices: When making spice blends and seasoning at home, I almost always roast the spices individually. Roasting not only intensifies the flavor of each spice but also adds shelf life to the spice blend.
- Storing the spice blend: This homemade seasoning will stay good in your spice cupboard for up to a week. Depending on how much and how often you will use it, you may want to store it in the fridge to keep the freshness intact.
- Make it your own: This spice blend recipe is so flexible and forgiving! You can easily make it your own by increasing or decreasing the quantities of the ingredients. For example, if you are not a fan of garlic, you can either reduce the quantity or omit it entirely from the recipe. Like more spice? Feel free to increase the number of peppercorns for that hit of spice. You can add 1 teaspoon of turmeric for that additional health, flavor, and color!
- Serving Suggestions: Use this aromatic spice blend as a seasoning for your soup (such as this vegan potato soup) or add it to your favorite curry. I love using this spice blend as a rub on pan-roasted paneer or halloumi cheese.
- Free from: This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, and vegan.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only.
Note: The nutrition information is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.