Curry Paste vs Curry Powder

There's been a few questions - when making curry, what's the difference between using curry powder and curry paste? To a curry lovers out there, both methods are just as good when it comes to creating delicious and mouth-watering curries.


But there is a bit of a difference between the two, and I'll explain below:

Curry Paste

Curry Paste vs Curry Powder

Curry Paste is a moist blend of herbs, spices and curry powder. While curry powder has an Indian background, curry paste hails from a Southeast Asian background, where it is an important ingredient in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.


Curry paste can also be a generic commercial product, sold in supermarkets and acting as substitutes for curry powders or spice blends used in other different types of cuisines.


The popularity of curry in Southeast Asian and now, almost all of Asia, has meant that more and more people enjoy having a good curry. But Asia is also a country where people work long hours and live hectic, fast-paced lives. Curry paste offers a quick and convenient solution for when that curry craving sets in and you want to go about making curry at home. Compared to the curry powder, using curry paste is easier and saves a lot of time.

Curry Powder

Curry Paste vs Curry Powder

Curry Powder, on the other hand, is a mixture of spices of varying composition, and forms the foundation of classical Indian cuisine. In the Western world, the term "Curry powder" tends to be refer to a common combination of spices that tends to have almost the same taste.


However, in the Indian subcontinent, there are many different mixtures and compositions of spices, and with such a good selection, the curry aficionado there can avail themselves of many different types of curry powders when making curry. Curry powder has been largely popularised through the mass exportation to the Western world, largely serving as a condiment to the Western table in Europe as well as both North and South America. Many of the original blends of curry powder originating from Indian was available throughout the world, though each one to varying degrees. However, the late 60s and early 70s saw a large increase in the popularity of Indian food in the Western world.


A good meal of curry grew to be an international phenomenon. A great curry became a true hallmark that one had had a wonderful Indian meal. Indian restaurants started doing very good business and they found out that there was a particular composition of curry spices that Westerners loved. The tradition of keeping special blends of curry powder became uneconomical to these restaurants as they needed to only have that one particular flavor when making curry, and that is how "curry powder" came to have a standardised taste outside of India.