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Artisan Chocolate truffles & the spices that love them: curry powder

by Chef Eric Cayton

Contrary to popular misconception, curry powder is not A spice, but rather, a combination of several different spices. Curry powder mixtures can range in composition, from as few as 4 or 5 spices, all the way up to 20 different spices, or even more in some cases. These mixtures can also range in their flavor profile, from a sweet, mild buttery coconut sauce over roast chicken, all the way to an extremely hot, spicy rice & vegetable dish.

Most low-grade, commercially available curry powders are mainly comprised of cheap, easily accessible turmeric, which turns everything it touches bright yellow, and in my opinion, does not contribute much in the way of flavor. Although curry spice blends are highly diverse and vary greatly depending upon the country, and even the specific region, city or household you happen to be at, a high quality curry blend, such as the type you would blend yourself, may include many of the following ingredients: coriander, various hot chilis, black pepper, mustard seed, allspice, white pepper, ground ginger, cinnamon, toasted cumin seeds, cloves, nutmeg, mace, green cardamom seeds or black cardamom pods, bay leaves, tamarind, curry leaves, garlic, poppy seeds, fennel, fenugreek seeds, anise seeds, and many more obscure, and less easily obtained ingredients.

When it comes to the subject of blending curry mixtures, there are no set rules. The best way to figure out what is personally agreeable to your specific tastes, is to just purchase the best quality ingredients that you can find from the items I've listed above, and start playing with your food! First, and foremost, be sure to always purchase your spices in the whole seed or pod form, not already pre-ground. This way, you will get the most bang for your buck, as far as flavor goes. Also, try to always purchase your whole spices from a reputable online purveyor, unless you happen to be fortunate enough to have an excellent spice merchant in your neighborhood. Just be sure that whoever you purchase them from, has a fast product turnover, and that their spices are fresh. Once you have procured your precious spices, get out a nice large clean tray, and spread out a little of each spice to sniff and observe them. Then toast each spice lightly in a dry saute pan on medium heat. By the time you're done toasting them, your whole house will smell so fragrant and exotic...and your neighbors will love you! Now get out your favorite spice grinding apparatus, such as a little coffee grinder, or a mortar and pestle, and blend away! Just throw in a little of this and a little of that, until you come up with a wonderful, pungent curry blend. You can make it as hot and spicy, or as mild and sweet as you wish.

For an especially sophisticated and exquisite use for your hand made curry blend, try this unique coconut-curry truffle ganache! In my opinion, I probably would not use too hot of a curry blend to mix with chocolate, because I just feel that it would simply overwhelm the balance of the finished piece...but to each his own...or her own. Start by chopping up about 200 grams of fine white chocolate into small bits. Next, combine about 80 grams of good heavy cream,+ 80 grams of coconut milk, 60 grams of shredded, unsweetened coconut, and 20 grams of unsalted butter. Place this mixture into a sauce pot with a heavy bottom, and bring just to the scald, immediately pour the hot mixture over the chopped white chocolate and stir til smooth. Let this sit for about a half hour to an hour and then cut it into squares. Drizzle some good quality bittersweet chocolate on top and some additional shredded coconut if you like. This recipe is a bit of an acquired taste, but if you love curry, this is wonderful way to show it off to your friends and family!


Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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