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In America, this means the yellow powder you buy in the store, but there are almost infinite variations of curry powder. In the Far East, curry powders vary by individual cook, region, country, and even the class of who is being served. Most curries are spicier than the yellow curry that Americans may be used to.
Originally curry powders were shipped back to Europe when the East India Company controlled much of the spice traffic. At first, these varied greatly in their tastes, color and spiciness. At the Universal Paris Exhibition of 1889, a standardized curry powder was agreed upon and most recipes are subtle variations of that formula.
It is the turmeric that gives curry and other ingredients, including onion, pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander, tamarind, chili powder, fenugreek and mustard powder its yellow color.