A wide variety of spices and herbs used in curry powder recipes on a black background.

Essential spices - what makes a great curry

A curry, no matter what type, will always begin with a great curry spice blend. That’s because the backbone of great flavour starts with the combination of essential curry spices which are used to layer flavour and create a delicious and complex dish.

Here is a breakdown of what each spice, used in some of our Rajah curry powder blends, adds to the overall flavour.


Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that is mildly aromatic and has an aroma sometimes described as orange or ginger. The flavour is intense and somewhat bitter which pairs particularly well with creamy flavours, oils and fats.

Curry leaves

Curry leaves have a distinctive and robust flavour that is likened to a combination of citrus, anise and lemongrass. When cooked, they release a flavour that is nutty and has a sharp spiciness.

Red Chilli Powder

Specifically added to curry powder for its distinctive heat, red chilli powder is generally added to bring the savoury burn to a spice mix.


The flavour of cumin is warm, earthy and bittersweet, which is best when toasted to release the best flavours from within the seed or powder.


Dried coriander is a flavour characterised by a musky flavour and smell that is accompanied by a hint of citrus.

Methi or fenugreek

Methi or fenugreek flavour, is sometimes described as sweet and nutty often characterised as a mixture of maple and celery.


Paprika powder in its truest form has a simple, sweet flavour that offers brightness followed by a hint of peppery bitterness ideal for milder curry-spiced dishes.


Cloves are intense, pungent, and sweet almost warming that can verge on astringent which is often described as a numbing effect.


The spicy, sweet, woody flavour of cassia is often likened to cinnamon. However, the flavour is less delicate and more aromatic, which holds up well against other, strong curry spices.

Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds much like the flavour of the fresh herb and bulb have a distinctive aniseed flavour with a warm, sweet aroma perfect for milder more delicate curry dishes.


Often used for balancing the flavours of curry, this spice has a mild onion, leek and garlic-like flavour.

Curry powder recipes vary greatly depending on palates and preferences. Still, they will generally contain a varying mix and ratio of these ingredients and others to add to the layers of flavour and complexity of your overall dish.

If you are looking for great flavours to add a little spice to your food you have come to the right place. Rajah is committed to perfecting traditional and new flavours, so that you can enjoy meaningful meals with your loved ones.