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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.

 

Bowl of Indian restaurant spice mix with spice dusted plate behind it from the front.

 

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.

 

Spoons filled with turmeric, garam masala and Kashmiri chili powder.

 

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.

 

Indian restaurant spice mix in a bowl with a spoonful of spice from the top.

 

Seven ingredients in one mix

This simple Indian restaurant spice mix can be used to make almost any Indian restaurant curry.

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 and garam masala. 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.

 

Bowl of Indian restaurant spice mix with spice dusted plate behind it from the front.
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4.63 from 8 votes

indian restaurant spice mix

This Indian restaurant spice mix is one of the key tricks restaurants use to make their curries.
Course spice mix
Cuisine Indian
Keyword curry powder, restaurant spice mix
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Calories 320kcal
Author glebe kitchen

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients and mix.
  • Store in a cool place along with all your other spices.

Notes

Mild curry powder can be any commercially available curry powder. I personally like Boltz for this recipe but there are many out there.
Chili powder is Indian chili powder. It comes in different heat levels, from mellow to blistering hot. You want mild for this recipe. Look for kashmiri mild chili powder at any Indian grocery store. The flavour is quite distinctive. In a pinch, you can use something like New Mexican Red chili powder.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 102mg | Potassium: 1866mg | Fiber: 29g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 11125IU | Vitamin C: 13.6mg | Calcium: 410mg | Iron: 31.2mg
Indian restaurant spice mix is the first step to restaurant curries at home!

26 thoughts on “indian restaurant spice mix

  1. Yessss! Indian food is a joy I did not experience until I was an adult and now I’m obsessed! I would eat it every night if I could. I am definitely emptying out the spice cabinet to make room for this gem!

  2. I LOVE this! I am not the best at Indian cooking but I really love curry, this will definitely help me create an awesome starting point. Thank you so much for sharing, pinning for later!

  3. yay yay yay!! So excited to try this out with your curry base! Finally I can make my own awesome indian food at home!! and I LOVE how you wrote the ingredients down in the photograph! Such a personal and nice touch!

    • Haha. I don’t know that the raw spice flavour would work that well on popcorn but that would be a fun experiment for sure.

  4. I love cooking Indian food, and it makes my whole house smell wonderful. But it is always so many ingredients, so I like the idea of having this around ahead of time! I’m thinking it would be good in a yogurt marinade for grilled chicken, too. I’m sure it will be a new staple in my house!

    • My pleasure. I’m working on a restaurant curry technique post that should be out soon. Once I have that up I’ll start posting restaurant style curry recipes.

  5. Hi
    I am so excited n happy to have found your web page.

    Your recipes are so easy n flavoursome
    Will try the spice mix
    Thanks for sharing your ideas

  6. This is funny! I have never seen curry powder being added to n authentic curry spice mix! As a matter of fact native experienced Indian restaurant cooks view it as sacrilegious.

    • It’s a simple way to get the trace spices into the mix without having to purchase/store/measure them out. Home cooks don’t cook in the same volume as restaurant cooks so it’s hard to get the minute quantities measured out. Indian stores are full of masala mixtures or pre-mixed spices. Some of them are simply labeled curry powder. Madras curry powder is an example of that. And Indian restaurant kitchens rely on all kinds of shortcuts so I find it hard to believe a bit of curry powder is sacrilege…

  7. Just a quick question. I am looking to give this a go tomorrow. I love the sound of doing the tikka masala from scratch but for some reason I ended up getting black cardamom, which maybe from a similar spice mix recipe.

    Would adding in 2 Tbsp black cardamom give it a little more smokier flavour? and would it make much difference to the balance of the flavour?

    Also, is this recipe based on a 2 person portion?

    • Two tablespoons of black cardamom would completely change this mix. I would think it would completely over-power everything else but I can’t say that with certainty as I have never tried it. Really doesn’t sound like a great idea to me though…

      If you want a hint of smoky flavour why not add one or two black cardamom pods into a portion of curry as you make it. Whole spices go in before anything except the oil. Heat the oil, toss them in and cook them until they crackle a bit. Then proceed with the recipe as written.

      This recipe makes far more than is needed in any of the curries on this blog. Typically you only put one or two tsp of spice mix in a portion of curry.

  8. Our go to spice mix, fabulous! My wife bought me some smoked paprika recently, I wondered what effect that would have on this recipe?

    May just have to do two batches and let you know!

    • I’ve never even thought of trying that. Let me know what you discover.

      I’m thinking a bit of smoked paprika in a jalfrezi would go well. A little extra smokey flavour!

  9. Brilliant spice mix, lovely blend of flavours and I’d say a builder with a beautiful aftertaste. Never used as much turmeric before and this ratio works amazingly. Thank you

    • You are very welcome. I make my own garam masala. The recipe is here.

      The proportion of garam masala in this recipe is quite low so you are safe with just about any garam masala. Fresh is better of course.

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