What we most often think of in the west as “curry powder” is a sort of standardized yellow spice mixture that incorporates most of the common flavours of India. The British developed this powder when they wanted to take the taste of India home with them but realized they wouldn’t be able to maintain a fresh supply of every spice.
In India, a “curry” is any one of millions of dishes featuring endless combinations of locally available spices, herbs and chiles. There’s really no such thing as an “authentic” curry powder. Having said that, though, several fairly consistent curry powder types have developed over the years, and there’s definitely a place for them. They are a great, quick way to season a dish, they work as the base of a complicated dish, and mixed in a little yoghurt or oil, they make a very easy marinade.
We hand-make a variety of curry powders. Because many people are partial to the British-style yellow curry powder, we make our own version and offer it in sweet (mild), medium and hot blends. We also offer a Madras-style curry powder (which is lighter on the cumin and fenugreek and heavier on the chiles and cinnamon) and a Vindaloo Curry Powder (which has no fenugreek or turmeric, but lots of chiles).