Singapore Curry Powder| Curry Powder Singapura

When I read about Singapore Curry Powder on Ganga’s blog, Heat In The Kitchen, recently, I knew I had to go ahead and try it out. It sounded way too enticing not to do anything about. So, make it I did. I have to say I’m absolutely thrilled with it!

Singapore Curry Powder

About this Singapore Curry Powder

Apparently, this curry powder – also referred to as Curry Powder Singapura – is quite popular in Singapore. A blend of various ingredients like cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and coriander seeds, the curry powder is supremely fragrant, mild in heat, and flavourful.

I understand this powder is multi-purpose, used in several dishes ranging from vegetable stir-fries and noodles to coconut milk-Β  and tamarind-based curries. I’m surprised to see that it lends itself beautifully to various Indian dishes as well. I used it to make some Curried Noodles In Coconut Milk and Khao Suey, and it went along simply wonderfully. In fact, I find it tastes quite similar to the masala that comes with Maggi noodles, and that it serves the purpose if you want to avoid using the sachet. All in all, it’s a great thing to stock in your pantry, a nice change from the garam masala, rasam podi and sambar podi we use quite often.

Different Singaporean families have their own styles of making the curry powder, and the many recipes I found online had small variations to them. Ultimately, I decided to go ahead with the recipe from Heat In The Kitchen, which does not include spices like nutmeg and star anise. It yielded a small quantity, just about 1/2 cup, and I love the idea of making it fresh in similar little batches as and when needed. And, oh, I already know I’m going to be making this time and time again – I loved it so much!

Curry Powder, Singapore style

A Nyonya curry powder, maybe?

If you are not familiar with the history of Malaysia, you might not have heard of the terms ‘Nyonya‘ and ‘Baba‘. Let me encapsulate this rather fascinating bit of history for you, in brief.

In the 15th century, immigrants from China moved out due to the prevailing unrest in the country, and settled in regions that are, today, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. These immigrants were called Peranakans, and the ones who settled in Malaysia called themselves ‘Nyonya‘ or ‘Nonya‘ (the females) and ‘Baba‘ (the males). The Nyonyas were known for their flavourful cooking, using various spices and ingredients like coconut milk, galangal, butterfly pea flowers, pandan leaves, lemongrass, tamarind and chillies. The food of the Nyonyas also picked up influences from the places they were based in, due to which you will find subtle differences in the Nyonya cuisines of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

I’m presently reading a book The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds by Selina Siak Chin Yoke, where the protagonist is a strong-headed Nyonya settled in Malaysia, proud of her heritage and cooking. I’m absolutely loving the book, the descriptive writing bringing alive Malaysia of the 1900s. It has kindled curiosity in me, and now I’m greedily lapping up everything I can find online about Nyonyas and Babas and their food. Yes, that’s how I unearthed the bit of history that I just shared with you. It was during one such marathon research session that I discovered that this Singapore Curry Powder I had made and was loving to bits was more than a little similar to Nyonya Curry Powder! I absolutely love it when my real and book worlds collide like that! πŸ™‚

Now, every time I cook with this spice mix, it brings to mind images of an iron-willed Nyonya woman evoking the same fragrances in her kitchen several hundred years ago… Ok, maybe the curry powder as such is a more modern invention, but still..

How to make Singapore Curry Powder

Here’s how I made it, based on the recipe from Heat In The Kitchen. It is completely vegetarian and vegan (plant-based), and gluten-free in itself.

Ingredients (makes about 1/2 cup):

1. 4 tablespoons coriander seeds
2. 1 tablespoon fennel
3. 1 tablespoon cumin
4. 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
5. 6 cloves
6. A small piece of cinnamon
7. 4 green cardamoms
8. 4-5 dried red chillies

9. 2 teaspoons turmeric powder


1. Take all the ingredients except the turmeric powder in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place over high heat for about a minute, then turn down the flame to medium when the pan gets nice and hot. Dry roast the spices for about 2 minutes or till they turn fragrant, stirring intermittently. Take care not to burn the ingredients.

2. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate, and allow them to cool down completely.

3. Now, add all the roasted and cooled ingredients to a small mixer jar. Add in the turmeric powder. Grind everything together to a fine powder.

4. Store in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle.Β  Use as needed.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!


9 thoughts on “Singapore Curry Powder| Curry Powder Singapura

  1. Different cuisines have always enticed their way into my kitchen but I always graduate towards Asian and curry powders are a big welcome. I agree with this Singapore curry powder needs to be tried in my kitchen too.


  2. Hi! Thanks for the link back .Peranakan means Straits born in Malay and it’s a blanket term used to refer to Chinese, Indian and Eurasian immigrants who adopted local culture probably due to intermarriage to local women. There are Chetti Melakan Indian Peranakans, Chinese Peranakans and Jawi Peranakans. Their food and culture reflects the merging of two cultures.


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