Mrs Jane Fowle’s Curree Powder


  • 2 teaspoons ground galangal
  • 1 teaspoon yellow turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon mild chilli powder
  • cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 5 teaspoons rice flour


This recipe is part of Martha Lloyd's recipe collection, published in The Jane Austen cookbook (Maggie Black & Deirdre Le Faye, British Museum Press, 1995, p103). Martha was a close friend of Jane Austen's. After a long association with the family she married Jane's brother Francis, and it is understood that the recipes in Martha compiled would have been used by the Austen family.

Martha attributes this recipe to another family friend, Mrs Jane Fowle. It is a particularly interesting curry powder in that it calls for galangal, a South-East Asian spice related to the much more commonly available ginger. Turmeric and galangal were not regular household ingredients in Regency times, and would have been bought from a specialist grocer or apothecary.

This curry blend, here in its original spelling, is not nearly as complex in flavour as the curry powders we know today, and the galangal makes it seem quite sweet. To me, it is reminiscent of a Japanese-style curry, but would also serve as the spice base for a mulligatawny or kedgeree with all the trimmings:

Take of Termeric [i.e. turmeric] Root, & Galangal Root each half an oz. Best Cayenne Pepper a quarter of an oz. Let the Termeric & Galangal be reduced to a fine powder separately, then mix them with the other articles & keep for use – NB. two oz of Rice powderd to be mixed also with the other ingredients. – Mrs Jane Fowle.

The original recipe makes about 3/4 cup,  so if you're working from that you may want to make a smaller batch as a trial. The modern version below is enough for a curry that uses about 500g chicken or meat, or you can multiply the ingredients for a larger batch.


Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

This recipe appeared in the post A curious “curree” – a taste of Jane Austen at Elizabeth Farm on April 05, 2013.

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