I cook curry with curry power. (This kind.) They said pour it in water under medium heat. Sure enough after some time it starts thickening. When it is thick enough I considered this ready to eat.

However what is contributed to make the curry from "raw" state to the ready to eat state? I think the thickening is because of something in the powder is "cooked" so wouldn't increasing the temperature hasten this process? And another things that contributes to the thickening is the water evaporation, so if I add very low amount of water from the start is that means I don't have to wait as long as the higher amount of water?

What I am guessing from my many tries is that, after certain amount of time where the powder is "cooked" from this point onwards you only wait for the water to reduce enough to get thick. If this is true perfectly calculated curry should aims the water amount for when the powder is cooked, water is at the right amount so it is thick enough.

  • Curry powder is nothing than a specific blend of spices
    – Neil Meyer
    Jul 10, 2016 at 15:04
  • I thought some kind of thickening (starch?) might play an important role in there?
    – 5argon
    Jul 10, 2016 at 15:06
  • It may thicken a sauce but I'm not sure if it does that more or less than a spoonful of barbecue spice would.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jul 10, 2016 at 15:11
  • 1
    There's a concept of 'dry curry', which have little moisture in them (that from vegetables and such, but not specific liquid added). You generally still fry the spices in the oil first to cook out the 'raw' qualities and/or crack open seeds.
    – Joe
    Jul 10, 2016 at 21:15
  • 1
    Is this really a curry powder or a curry roux (as is common with japanese style curry)? - @Joe that sounds like an old school indian curry, which uses neither of the two ;) Jul 11, 2016 at 8:56

3 Answers 3


One con of cooking this way, high temp and less water, is that your curry is much more likely to burn. Both lower temperatures and more water slow the cooking, making it easier to find the right spot where everything's cooked through and done, instead of overreaching the time or not stirring quite enough and finding the bottom burned. It maybe can be done, if you're very attentive and keep stirring and measured everything just right - but it is riskier.

Another con is that longer cooking often affects dishes differently. Cooking longer at lower temperatures gives flavors more time to meld, with ingredients reacting to each other or breaking down differently. Depending on your ingredients or the dish's texture the spices may distribute unevenly if they don't have enough time to equalize (one reason stew, for example, does very well with longer cooking times). Cooking at higher temperature for less time may also give you a very different effect - think garlic sauteed in oil versus garlic roasted with oil, very different flavors.

Likewise, using less water may mean your ingredients cannot mix as freely, so they interact with each other less and it takes more time for the dish to reach the same melded flavor effect. It is also a safer limiting factor - if the powder is cooked before enough water is evaporated to make it thick, the extra water can be simmered off. If the water simmers down first, then the powder will not be finished cooking - which might be a bigger problem. It will also be harder to correct, and will take more time since any water added at that point will have to heat before the powder can finish cooking.


There is also the possibility of the thickening happening due to a chemical reaction that only happens at a high or low enough temperature. The link you posted is not specific enough to make out an ingredients list so I can't know for sure.

However, if you play around with the water you should be able to get the evaporation process to take less time but I wouldn't screw around with the temperature if I were you.


The linked images are not curry powders, but curry pastes - a very specific Japanese style which is so dense it's actually a solid, more the consistency of a bar of milk chocolate than a recognisable paste.
For anyone not used to this type of curry, look up 'katsu curry' for one common recipe style.
A little like a Chinese curry paste, it's a blend of spices, oils & starches - like cornflour.

You aren't meant to cook these for more than couple of minutes.

You pre-fry all ingredients then 5 mins from serving mix the paste into hot [but nowhere near boiling] water until it dissolves. You then mix this into your dry ingredients & stir until it thickens, which it does within seconds of coming to the boil.
You drop the heat down to the lowest simmer for just a few minutes, then stir & serve.

The thickness of the sauce is directly related to the amount of water you mix it into plus any extra liquid in your pan, surrounding your pre-cooked ingredients.
I generally find it's 'safer' to start a bit too thick & add water if needed.

This is one of many types available. They all tend to be this type of 'bar of chocolate' size & you can break off chunks of the 'paste' just like chocolate pieces.

enter image description here

This is an open pack, showing the 'bar'

enter image description here

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