Definition: Colombo powder is the French West Indies version of curry powder. The seasoning contains many of the same spices as curry such as coriander, peppercorns, fenugreek, and turmeric. However, it's different in that uncooked rice is toasted along with the whole spices before grinding it into a powder imparting a toasty, nutty scent and a fragrant flavor.
Colombo powder gets its name from the city of Colombo in Sri Lanka, a legacy of the workers that the French imported from India and Sri Lanka. They labored on the sugar cane plantations in Guadalupe and Martinique. The Indian influence survives in the wide use of Colombo powder in Creole cooking on the French West Indian islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin and Saint Barthélemy (St. Barts) and the smaller islands of Les Saintes, Marie-Galante, and La Désirade.
You can buy commercial Colombo powder on the French islands and in West Indian markets. But, it’s easy to grind your own and the results are far more superior. Just follow my Colombo Powder recipe.
Also Known As: West Indian Curry Powder, Poudre de Colombo