Maharajah Curry Powder
Maharajah Curry Powder
Maharajah Style Curry Powder
Maharajah Curry Powder is also called Maharajah curry or Maharajah spice.
What Is Maharajah Curry
Maharajah Curry Powder is a superior grade curry powder. Many curry aficionados consider this to be the best type of curry powder with its gorgeous, full-bodied taste where just a little goes a long way. Curry powder is a spice blend based on South Asian cuisine. Curry is often thought of as being invented by the British after they colonized India.
What Is Curry
Curries are a complex class of dishes, and a curry dish has a specific blend of spices to add balance to the other ingredients and methods used in preparing the dish. Cooks in India and serious curry aficionados in Britain and the U.S. usually use spices that are specific to each different type of curry style dish, buying the spices whole and grinding them in a coffee grinder (or with a mortar and pestle). This is done so that spices can be introduced at different times during the cooking process to build a more complex flavor.
A curry can be broth based, cream based, or tomato based. It may be mild, a bit sweet or even hot. Some food historians believe that the word curry is derived from the Tamil word kari or kadhi and refers to gravy or sauce-based dishes. In most Indian kitchens the spices used in curry style dishes have traditionally been ground by hand and added to the meal. Colleen Taylor Sen is the author of six books and specializes in Indian cuisine. She defines curry as “a spiced meat, fish or vegetable stew served with rice, bread, cornmeal, or another starch. The spices may be freshly prepared as a powder, or a spice paste or purchased as a ready-made mixture1”.
To most Americans curry is identified with Indian food and curry powder is believed to be the key flavoring ingredient. This is incorrect as Indian curries do not typically contain a general curry powder. For many Indian dishes the cooks do prepare a blend of spices that are typically referred to as masalas that are specifically used to enhance that dish's aroma and flavor. Most families in India use similar basic spices but each household has its own proportions and secret ingredients that will be used for their particular recipe to suite their taste preferences.
When the British colonized India, curry spice blends were developed for the convenience of the Brit’s to make their own curry dishes when they returned to England. While curry has its origin in India, the Brits have long loved this style of fusion cuisine and in 2001 Britain’s Foreign Secretary Robin Cook declared "Chicken Tikka Masala is now a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences. Chicken Tikka is an Indian dish. The Masala sauce was added to satisfy the desire of British people to have their meat served in gravy"2.
There are several benefits to using curry powders. One is saving the need to buy numerous individual spices that may or may not be used often and the other is that you get a nice harmonious balance of flavors without having to recreate the wheel from scratch.
What Does Maharajah Curry Powder Taste Like
How to Use Maharajah Curry Powder
As a rule of thumb, you'll get the optimum flavor from curry powder by frying it for 30 seconds or so in oil or butter (ghee is traditional in India). For the most "balanced" flavor, we recommend adding it twice – ½ the amount should be added to the oil when your aromatics are just about done, and before you are going to add the bulk liquids; and the remaining ½ should be bloomed in oil and then added about five minutes before removing the dish from the heat.
So how much Maharajah Curry Powder should you use? We always recommend using a little bit less as you can always add more but cannot ever take any away. One tablespoon is a good starting point. Remember ½ to start and the second half towards the end. Taste during the cooking process at least once and you can add more at that time if you feel the dish needs it.
Three of our favorite recipes using Maharajah Curry Powder are Butter Cauliflower Burrito, a Tangy Garlic Sauce, and Coconut Spiced Cashews.
History of Curry
Even prior to the British arrival, India had long been a victim of colonization. The Portuguese arrived in India in 1498 and introduced chile peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes and they were followed by the Dutch in 1605. Not only did colonization play a critical role in exporting spices and food out of India, but it also reclassified classic dishes that took on their own cuisine. The Portuguese influence on curry was the most significant prior to the British arriving in 16084.
"Vindaloo is normally regarded as an Indian curry, but in fact is a Goan adaptation of the Portuguese dish carne de vinho e alhos (meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic). The name vindaloo is simply a garbled mispronunciation of vinho e albos,” says food historian Lizzie Collingham5. The dish was recreated in India using locally available ingredients. With no wine-vinegar available, Franciscan priests fermented their own from palm wine. Other ingredients like tamarind, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom were also incorporated into the dish. But the most important addition—chile peppers—was the direct result of Portugal’s global empire, imported to India from the Americas6.
The Indian spice trade was a monopoly of Portugal and Spain for approximately 100 years until the British defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. This opened the window to the English breaking into the lucrative Indian spice trade monopoly. The East India Company was formed under a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1600. The East India Company landed on the Indian subcontinent in August of 1608, at the port of Surat on the western coast. The company’s army defeated the Portuguese in India in 1612 and in 1617 won the trading rights from the Mughal emperor Jahangir7. The powers of the East India Company kept growing until the revolt of 1857, which the British call the Indian Mutiny but many Indians prefer to think of as the First War of Independence, was the defining event in British imperial history8. The Government of India Act was passed by the British parliament in August of 1858 and transferred British control over India and the vast territories of the East India Company to the British Crown9. British rule from the time after the mutiny is often called the Raj. During this period a tiny number of British officials and troops (about 20,000 in all) ruled over 300 million Indians10.
During centuries of colonial rule, the ruling British elite depended on Indian cooks and housekeepers and were exposed to various Indian foods. The process of modifying Indian cuisine to British tastes were driven by the nature of imperialism and the fact that some British expats enjoyed the ingredients and flavors of Indian cooking. An increasing number of British colonials continued to desire the Anglo-Indian fusion flavors once they returned to Britain11.
Queen Victoria tasted her first authentic Indian chicken curry, daal, and a fragrant pilau in 1887 when her Indian servant Abdul Karim cooked it for her. She pronounced the curry to be ‘excellent’ and soon, curry was being served on a regular basis at her dining table.12.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the only Indian restaurants available in London catered predominantly to retired officials of the Raj. These were high-class establishments, exclusive and expensive. The story of South Asian food in Britain really begins between WW I and WW II. In the 1930s a different kind of restaurant emerged in the dockside areas of London’s East End when Sylheti lascars (sailors) from Bangladesh set up what were essentially workmen's cafes. These were small establishments13. British curries really blossomed in the 1960s, when thousands of Indian and Pakistani immigrants came to work in the industrial cities. Some opened restaurants to cater to their compatriots, but the British soon discovered them, and their owners began to adapt their food to the Anglo preference for curries with plenty of sauce14.
The Bangladeshi Indian curry house is now very prevalent throughout Britain. 80% - 90% of British curry-house owners can trace their roots back to the Bangladeshi city of Sylhet15. In 1946, there were only 20 restaurants or small cafes owned by Bangladeshis and by 1960 there were 30016. By 1980 there were roughly 3,000 curry houses, by 1990 there were 6,600 and by 2011, there were 12,00017.
|Ingredients||Fenugreek, turmeric, yellow mustard, black pepper, cardamom, cumin, coriander, fennel, cayenne, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger and saffron|
|Also Called||Maharajah curry or Maharajah spice|
|Recommended Uses||Sauces, soups, stews, marinades, meat, and vegetables|
|Flavor Profile||Earthy, slightly floral, sweet and spicy with citrusy notes|
|Cuisine||American, British, Indian|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||1-2 Years|
|Country of Origin||U.S.|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Non-GMO|
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2 Reporter, G. S. (2017, September 20). a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/apr/19/race.britishidentity" target="_blank">Robin Cook’s chicken tikka masala speech. The Guardian. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
3 History of the British Curry. (2022, February 14). Historic UK. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
4 The History of Curry | Institute of Culinary Education. (2021, January 14). Institute of Culinary Education. Retrieved March 21, 2022.
5 Collingham, E. M. (2022). Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors (1st Printing ed.). Vintage Books.
6 Collingham, L. (2014, July 22). Fired Up: The History of Vindaloo . Saveur. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
7 Harold, R. (2004). The Victorians at War, 1815–1914: An Encyclopedia of British Military History. ABC-CLIO.
8 Dash, M. (2012, May 24). Pass it on: The Secret that Preceded the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
9 Wolpert, S. A. (1989). A New History of India (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.
10 Walsh, B. (n.d.). The National Archives | Education | British Empire | Living in the British empire | India | Background. The National Archives. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
11 Byrd, M., & Dunn, J. (2020). Cooking through History: A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Food with Menus and Recipes [2 volumes]. Greenwood.
12 MARTYRIS, N. (2017, October 29). Queen Victoria's Unlikely Bond With Indian Attendant Made Curry Classy. NPR The Salt. Retrieved March 26, 2022.
13 Ashley, B., Hollows, J., Jones, S., & Taylor, B. (2004). Food and Cultural Studies (Studies in Consumption and Markets). Routledge.
14 Hopley, C. (2022a, February 11). Britain's favourite dish - let's go for a curry. British Heritage. Retrieved March 26, 2022.
15 Moore, M. (2016, January 8). The great British curry crisis. Financial Times. Retrieved March 26, 2022.
16 Karim, R. (2007, June). Bangladeshis: Moving with the times. The Daily Star. Retrieved March 26, 2022.
17 Wilson, B. (2019, July 9). Who killed the great British curry house? The Guardian. Retrieved March 26, 2022.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*