m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Sri Lankan Roasted Curry Powder

Peter had a Sri Lankan cooking class for work (just another one of those coronavirus things), and this was one of the ingredients in Sri Lankan Coconut Chicken Curry. We made our own ahead of time, out of a bewildering variety of different recipes online. (If you want one of those, I suppose you can’t go wrong with The BEST Sri Lankan Roasted Curry Powder.)

We later used it in Sri Lankan Beef Curry and on Spicy Salmon. It also seems like it would be good for roasting vegetables—especially ground up better than we managed to with the mortar and pestle.

Makes 1 jar.


  • 4 T. coriander seed
  • 2 T. cumin seed
  • 1–2 T. basmati rice (optional filler)
  • 1 T. black mustard seed (or yellow mustard seed)
  • ½ T. black peppercorns
  • ½ T. fenugreek seed
  • ½ T. fennel seed
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp green cardamom pods (crushed)
  • 5–10 individual curry leaves (about 1 sprig)
  • 1 dried red chili (optional, probably seeded)
  • 1 short cinnamon stick (about 1") or ¼ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)


  1. In a dry stainless steel skillet, roast all ingredients (optionally separately or somewhat separately) until browned.
  2. Optionally, cool.
  3. Grind with a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle. (When using a mortar and pestle, you can sift out the rice and cardamon pod shells later if you have a sifter. Even with a grinder, you should exercise caution around the cinnamon stick.)
  4. Store in a spice jar.


Some recipes involve roasting the spices in the oven. There are some other leaves, but they sound harder to find than curry leaves.

Descriptions of roasting times vary from a few minutes to 10.

Some recipes use 3 chilis.

If you don’t have some of the whole spices, you can substitute ⅓ the amount of ground spice for it. Roast the ground version in the pan briefly when you’re done with your whole spices.