Jaffna curry powder

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    350 g

Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

Great with seafood, as well as vegetables, this bright red spice mix is used in northern Sri Lanka and southern India. It is quite hot, so adjust the quantity of dried chillies and black pepper to suit your taste.


  • 25 g (1 oz/¼ cup) cumin seeds
  • 35 g ( oz/ cup) fennel seeds
  • teaspoons fenugreek seeds
  • 125 g ( oz) dried red chillies, with or without stalks
  • 150 g ( oz/1⅔ cups) coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2.5 cm (1 inch) knob of fresh turmeric, peeled
  • 2 fresh curry leaf sprigs, leaves picked


In a dry heavy-based frying pan, over low heat, toast the cumin, fennel and fenugreek seeds for a minute or two, stirring often. When the fennel seeds are golden, tip the spices into a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, dry-roast the remaining ingredients separately, stirring constantly to avoid burning or over-roasting any of the ingredients, adding them to the bowl to cool as each batch is done, but keeping the curry leaves separate.

Using a spice grinder, grind all the ingredients, except the curry leaves, to a fine powder. Add the curry leaves and allow to cool before storing.