When I was planning my most recent trip to Beachy's, my favorite Amish bulk food store , I flipped through my "Better than Store-bought " cookbook to see if there were any recipes that looked good that also called for spices I didn't have.
One recipe that caught my eye was for homemade curry powder. I figured if I could find mace and fenugreek, I'd try it. Beachy's had everything I needed (I also bought savory and tarragon leaves - anyone have recipes for those?). I was so excited, I made curry powder that afternoon.
The cookbook said this is a mild recipe, and I found that to be true. I mixed two tablespoons of my freshly ground curry powder with garlic and butter and spread it on a whole chicken I planned to roast. I could hardly taste the curry on the chicken that evening, although the flavors were a little more pronounced when I reheated the leftovers the next day. Next time, I think I'll add more curry powder to whatever I'm cooking to maximize the flavor.
Also at Beachy's, I bought a little stainless steel spice grinder. I'd been thinking about buying an electric coffee grinder for spices, but read online that someone who used one couldn't break down fenugreek with it. The kind I bought has a hatch on the side for adding spices and a crank on the top. It gave me a blister on my thumb, but ground the fenugreek and other spices without a problem.
Homemade Curry Powder
2 1⁄2 teaspoons fenugreek (optional but recommended)
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
3 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds (I added ground cumin, instead)
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick, 2 to 3 inches and broken in pieces
1⁄4 teaspoon ground mace
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
a pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
Optional: toasted dried hot red pepper, to taste, seeds removed. (I skipped adding these.)
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Combine fenugreek, cardamom, coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, cloves and broken cinnamon stick in a small pan and bake for 15 minutes, shaking the pan a few times. Let cool and combine with rest of ingredients in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 1/2 a cup. The recipe advises you not to make too much as a time, as the flavors fade or become acrid if it's stored too long.