Curry powder is a mixture of spices that take on a yellow hue. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a staple ingredient in Indian cooking. Curry powder was created by the British to evoke the essence of Indian food and is not used in authentic Indian cooking. The confusion may come from a popular Indian dish known as “curry,” but that term refers not to the spice blend but to the dish itself, which is made up of a sauce or gravy along with meat and vegetables. The spice blend most often used in an Indian curry is garam masala.
One of the main ingredients in curry powder is turmeric. Other spices that can be incorporated include everything from ginger, cinnamon, garlic, and cloves to mustard seed, black pepper, and fennel seed.