This Indian restaurant spice mix is a blend of key Indian spices that gives restaurant curries that big blast of flavour. It’s one of the ways restaurants are able to crank out curries in no time.
This is about easy. Easy and fast. No measuring a ton of spices every time you make a curry. This is the baseline. The signature blend.
Indian restaurant spice mix is about speed
Indian homestyle cooking takes a lot of effort. Just look at the wonderful curry recipes all over the internet. Complicated. Many steps. They take a long time. They’re worth it. No doubt. But they’re real work.
Indian restaurants can’t do it the same way. You would be waiting for hours to eat. Restaurant curries take 10 minutes to cook. There’s a few tricks to make that happen. Indian restaurant spice mix is one of those tricks.
They all do it. First they figure out what base flavour profile is right for the restaurant. Then they figure out what’s common. The stuff in pretty much every recipe. That’s Indian restaurant spice mix.
They then use that spice mix as a starting point. And layer flavours on top to create their masterpieces. Pretty clever.
Every restaurant has their own mix. This is the one used on this blog. And it’s used a lot. If you’re getting into Indian restaurant style cooking this mix is going to be your friend.
There are other secrets in Indian restaurant style cooking
Curry base is the other big secret. That’s how restaurants get around cooking onions forever for each curry. It’s all pre-cooked and ready to go.
So is the meat. Simmering it in the curry briefly warms it up. Prep is key in all restaurants. Indian restaurants are no different.
If you are interested in learning about Indian restaurant style cooking this primer on Indian restaurant techniques is a great place to start. It goes through pretty much everything you need to know.
Took me years to figure all this out. You can learn it in half an hour if you take the time to read a bit.
Seven ingredients in one mix
This particular Indian restaurant spice mix takes seven of the usual suspects and knocks it down to one. That’s seven ingredients you no longer have to measure out. Probably saves two or three minutes per curry. That adds up.
It’s actually more than seven. Using a pre-made curry powder and garam masala adds in some trace spices. I know. Cumin, coriander and turmeric figure highly in most curry powders. Sure.
But there are a few others mixed in. And those trace elements all add a little something. It builds complexity.
Pre-fab curry powders are all a bit different. So the end result depends on the curry powder you choose.
But this is cooking. This isn’t running a lab. A little variation is not the end of the world. Once you have a made a few curries try making up your own spice mix. Define your own style.
Or if you want to make things exactly as I do whip up some of this homemade curry powder. I reverse engineered it from one I like.
This is the spice mix used in all the Indian restaurant curries on this blog. It may seem crazy to you to mix up so much. But if you are going to get into restaurant style cooking you will use it up. So make lots. You’ll need it.
indian restaurant spice mix
- 4 Tbsp coriander powder
- 2 Tbsp cumin powder
- 4 Tbsp turmeric powder
- 3 Tbsp paprika
- 2 Tbsp mild curry powder
- 1-2 tsp kashmiri chili powder - I like a little extra zing
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp butcher's grind black pepper - optional but nice if you cook mostly South Indian
- Combine all ingredients and mix.
- Store in a cool place along with all your other spices.