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.
Table of Contents
What you Need to Know to Make Vadouvan Curry Powder
Essential Spices for Vadouvan
- Curry leaves
- Fenugreek seeds
- Green cardamom pods
- Brown mustard seeds
- Red chili powder
What is the Difference between Vadouvan Curry Powder and Ordinary Curry Powder?
Both Vadouvan curry powder and ordinary curry powder are made from various dry ground spices. Vadouvan curry powder is an intentionally specific blend of French and Indian spices that French colonists combined to mimic the flavors they experienced in Southern Indian. Ordinary curry powder, in contrast, is generally a blend of what are believed to be Indian spices in one bottle to emulate the flavors experienced in a popular curry dish.
Vadouvan curry powder blends Southern Indian spices such as curry leaves, turmeric, red chili powder, and green cardamom pods with French spices including fenugreek seeds, nutmeg, and cloves. These spices create a milder and earthier curry flavor with a hint of sweetness that is exceptionally more complex than any store-bought curry powder that you might find wandering the aisles of your local grocery store.
Ordinary curry powder is usually a blend of garam masala spices (cinnamon, cloves, coriander, and cumin), turmeric, red chili powder, and likely non-traditional additions like onion, ginger, or garlic powder. They usually vary from brand to brand, attempting to replicate the flavors of our favorite curries. However, authentic curries are exceptionally diverse from dish to dish and region to region. So, I would argue that store-bought “curry powder,” though it possesses a warm, pungent flavor with a kick of heat, is one-dimensional and somewhat inauthentic.
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 Use It
There are so many different dishes in which Vadouvan curry powder may be used. The following are some tasty options; the first is traditional while the second and third are modern options:
How to Store your Vadouvan Curry Powder
Store your Vadouvan curry powder in an airtight container in a cool dark place for up to 3 years. This storage method will ensure that your spices stay fresh for the maximum time.
For all leftover whole or ground spices that you purchased, store them the same way. Note that whole spices will stay fresh using this storage method for up to 4 years.
1. Prepare the Spices
- Place curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, cumin, cardamom pods, brown mustard seeds, turmeric, nutmeg, red chili powder, cloves, and garlic powder into a mixing bowl.
2. Toast the Spices
- Place a sauté pan on the stovetop at medium-low heat. Add the spices and toast them for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until intensely aromatic.
3. Grind the Spices
- Pour spices into an electric spice or coffee grinder. Alternatively, you may use a mortar and pestle.
- Grind all ingredients together.