Did you know about this spice mix that was created for the French palate?

While vadouvan is a french-style curry powder that was created by french families living in Pondicherry for several generations, the basic steps of making it are similar to the preparation of curry powder that we have come to associate with the British empire. Both the curry powders are used as replacements for the Indian spice blend, as a way to tone down the heat. This curry powder sticks the landing in French cuisine, as it has got a mild flavour.

A lot of the westerners may be more familiar with vadouvan rather than garam masala. It is used to season meats, sauces, vegetables and soups too. Just as there are many variations of garam masala in every single region of India (panch phoron, chettinad masala, goda masala to name a few), similarly the Europeans also seem to have made their own spice mixes which rank higher than the other regional spice mixes from India.

The curry powder is mainly a spice mix for the European palate, and so, people are under the impression that the west doesn’t look beyond the curry powder to see the diaspora of other spice mixes in India. There is a lot of debate about how much the curry powder deserves to be considered a close cousin of any of the Indian spice mixes such as garam masala. It has also vehemently been felt that there is no such thing as a curry powder in Indian food culture and that the westerners should simply do away with it and instead use the Indian masalas in their cooking.

But in France, chefs use vadouvan in many ways. It features quite heavily in cooking. Vadouvan technically makes use of spices that are popular in Indian cooking. It was inspired by the seasoning blend which is known as vadagam in Tamil cooking, which is a mixture of sun-dried onions, mustard, garlic, curry leaves and urad dal. The French created their own blend using onions, curry leaves, fenugreek, nutmeg, cloves, salt, chilli, garlic, pepper, cumin, mustard seeds, garlic among other classic curry seasonings. Turmeric may or may not be added. Then the spices are sun-dried. 

Next, the spices are mixed with sesame or castor oil and rolled into balls for easy storage.  

Have you ever cooked with vadouvan?