Vadouvan originated in the Southeastern city of Puducherry, which was colonized by France as early as 1674. Inspired by the taste of India’s southern tip, the French colonists recreated a milder version of curry flavors in the form of vadouvan.
This spice blend includes mustard seeds, fenugreek, coriander, cardamom, curry leaves, and cloves combined with a jam of garlic and shallots.
Essential Spices for Vadouvan
- Curry leaves
- Fenugreek seeds
- Green cardamom pods
- Brown mustard seeds
- Red chili powder
Storage of Spices
The shelf-life of whole spices is up to 4 years, whereas the shelf-life for ground spices is up to 3 years. Be sure to verify that your spices are not expired. When storing your spices, store them in airtight containers in a cool dark place. This step will ensure that the spices stay fresh for the maximum time.
Toasting the Spices
The combination of vadouvan spices packs a ton of beautiful flavors. Toast the spices in a dry sauté pan at medium-low heat to enhance those flavors by releasing their natural oils. You may toast both ground spices and whole spices. Wait until the pan is hot, and then add the spices.
When they appear intensely aromatic, they are ready for use. The toasting process should only take 30 seconds to 1 minute. Be careful not to burn them. You do not want a burnt taste to appear in the dish. Note that ground spices are more prone to burning than whole spices. If you opt for turmeric root and whole nutmeg, use a microplane to produce fine grains.
How to Make Vadouvan
- 2 tsps curry leaves
- 3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 2 tsps ground cumin
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 3/4 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder
- 4 cloves whole
- 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Prepare the Spices and Cut Vegetables
- Place curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, cumin, cardamom pods, brown mustard seeds, turmeric, nutmeg, red chili powder, cloves, and garlic powder into a mixing bowl.
Toast the Spices
- Place sauté pan on the stovetop at medium-low heat. Add spices and toast for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until intensely aromatic.
- Pour spices into an electric spice or coffee grinder. You may also use a mortar and pestle.
- Grind all ingredients together.