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Madras Curry Powder can be a little hotter than other Curry Powders. So go lightly if you are used to using somehthing else.
the so called 'curry powders' vary widely in terms of the ingredients, but they all essentially contain, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek & mustard and red chile powder in varying concentrations.
All "curry powders" are different. In India they will differ just like BBQ is different in St Louis from Kansas. You can make your own garam marsala to your own taste - check Google for various spice mixtures.
Commercial Madras curry powder sold in the US is, as GiGi26 says, hotter than the more standard (US commercial) curry powder. If you can't find the brand with the sun on the label, look for one called "hot."
The madras curry powder is spicier in taste compared to the other curry powder which is preferably used in Thai curries. Curry powder is a mix of different spices. There are also different styles of curry / curry powder and curries vary greatly from region to region and from country to country (compare Thai green curries vs Indian yellow curries) Technically speaking madras curry comes from southern India and is usually a spicier curry that has a redder color due to ground chilies being added into the spice mix. However, as with most ethnic food much of what we call madras curry powder in the states is just a regular mix of curry powder. For people who want a good brand of pre-mixed curry powder I suggest the sun brand madras curry powder. It is not as hot as most but the flavor is excellent, I find many people who I have hooked on this cannot go back to any other pre-mixed brand of curry powder.
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