When I grill store bought sheek kebabs I notice the oil drips out and it is coloured while being free of any curry powder though I imagine curry powder is added to the mince before they make it.

I wanted to create the same thing directly so got some saturated fat, added curry powder and fried it. Now while the colour does change the powder just remains in the fat.

I could filter the powder however I'm wondering where does the powder go when grilling sheek kebab\why doesn't it come out?

Is it become Ive added to much or maybe because I haven't cooked for long enough e.g.few minutes frying whereas grilled sheek kebab tends to be for longer.


  • You are right that the curry is added to the minced meat. As the oil drips out the powder is trapped with the meat. If you looked REALLY carefully, there are probably a few bits of powder in there... Jun 26, 2018 at 22:12

2 Answers 2


As Max correctly points out, curry powder is not soluble in oil. It's basically just crushed-up seeds, and that kind of bulk plant matter isn't going to dissolve in anything. The exact reasons why a given substance is or isn't soluble in a given solvent would be a better question for chemistry.se, but you could get a quick primer from this page.

However, the spices that make up curry powder contain chemicals that are soluble in oil. This is likely what you're seeing in the oil from commercial kebabs.

Three possibilities:

  • They're heating the oil with spices in it, then filtering out the spices, leaving their soluble components behind in the oil (which would cause it to both change color, and keep some of the flavor of the spices). This process is called infusion, and infusing oil with spices is common in Indian, Middle Eastern, and African cooking.
  • The spices are just stuck in/on the food. This might be the case if the curry powder is incorporated into the meat, rather than mixed into the oil like it sounds like you tried. This would be basically the same process as above, but the "filter" is just the stuff being fried.
  • It's a suspension, like Max's answer suggests. In this case, they would have had to use very finely ground spices, then mixed them thoroughly into the oil. In this case, I'd expect the oil to be at least a bit cloudy/gritty, as ground spices won't truly dissolve in oil no matter how fine they are.

Curry powder is not soluble in oil (or water or anything else).

The small particles will change the color and flavor of the oil, but not dissolve in it.

The size of the powder particles will sometimes makes look like it dissolve in the oil, but the particles are just in suspension in the oil.

The finer the curry particles, the more it will be in suspension (looks like it dissolve).

For example, salt and sugar can dissolve in water.

salt dissolve in water

Chocolate, another example, does not dissolve in milk. Curry powder is the same.

Chocolate in milk

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