Jamaican Curry Powder

by Jackie Miao

How I got into Caribbean Cuisine

A lot of my sentiments around the Caribbean culture and its food were influenced by my Trinidadian friend, Cornielle.

The first time I had Caribbean food was during my college years. I was really curious about Caribbean cuisine, because at the time Cornielle and I became friends and were hanging out quite a bit. She was just a burst of sunshine (a rarity in grumpy-assed NYC), and being from a tropical island myself, she reminded me of the warmth of home.

Cornielle was very proud of her Caribbean heritage (she was Black-Indian-French-Chinese) and would cook everything from calaloo to salt cod fish to share with me. I loved how she would shake her booty whenever she felt like it, as if she was practicing for a carnival. She was the OG. This woman taught me how to let loose, and twerk before twerking was even a thing!

Curry Goat

The most memorable plate of Caribbean-style curry goat for me has got to be the one shop in London I always went to get take out from. The food there were made by aunties from the Caribbean, and boy did they make a mean curry. The rice and beans were absolutely delish, and I spent many dinners chowing down those curries. Now that I don’t live around there anymore, so I have to cook my own goat curry.

Coming from Malaysia, we have our own goat curry called Kari Kambing, which we usually have with roti or basmati rice. It’s also very tasty, but the flavor profile is different, because the curry mix uses different spices, and we don’t use thyme for our curries in Malaysia.

Anyway, Caribbean-style curry goat begins with a Caribbean-style curry spice mix, and here it is. My super-composed husband rarely volunteers to tell me how good something is, unless he really loves it. The curry goat I made last night with this spice mix made him do a little dance. Enjoy it and share your dishes with me in the comments below.

Jamaican Curry Powder

This Caribbean-style curry spice mix recipe is adapted from CookLikeAJamaican.com and AllRecipes.com. I've made it, and used it for curry goat and it's super delicious!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Spice Mixes
Cuisine: Caribbean, Jamaican
Keyword: Curry, Jamaican food, Caribbean cooking, Curry goat, Goat curry
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Author: Jackie Miao


  • 1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp whole mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp whole anise seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole allspice
  • 5 tbsp ground turmeric


  • Grind all the spices together in a spice grinder, or mortar and pestle(molcajete), untill your spice mix is a fine powder. Then place in an air-tight storage container.


I've opted not to pre-toast the spices, because I like keeping my spices in raw form to extend its shelve life and potency. The curry profile is Caribbean in style, so there's no hot chilli powder in there. For heat, you would want to add scotch bonnet or habanero to your dish separately.
If you prefer not to grind the spices yourself, you can technically use spices that are already ground and just mix that up. It's a lot faster. However, the difference in volume between the spices, from how loosely or tightly packed they are, to the age of the ground spices will affect the flavor somewhat.
I always prefer dry ingredient recipes by weight instead of by volume. Nonetheless, curry mixes were never in practice mixed in absolute measurements. If you go to Indian sundry shops and tell them you want a curry mix for seafood, or chicken, or mutton, they'll just scoop several types of spices into a bag without measuring exactly anyway. As long as the flavor profile is correct, your curry should taste fine.
Also, I hand-ground this curry mix using a mortar and pestle. It's a bit of a pain, but if you have the time, I find that stone pounding or stone-grinding releases the spices' essential oils better than blade grinding. If you want convenience over flavor, just use an electric spice grinder.
P.S: If you're going with the pre-ground spices, I would go a bit easier on the ground allspice and ground anise seeds though. These spices are more intense than others, and there's a lot of negative space in the whole pods. When you get it in the pre-ground form, it's actually compacted. For example, 1 tbsp of whole allspice berries is not the same as 1 tbsp of ground allspice. It's more like 1/2 tbsp.

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