Common Recipe Ingredient Measures

You will see a few different ingredient measures when you look at the great Curry Focus recipes.

Probably the most common measure is the teaspoon. When a recipe calls for a teaspoon of something, it is asking for a level teaspoon measure of the ingredient (for example, 1 teaspoon of cumin). In fact, for any quantity (teaspoon, tablespoon, cup, etc.), you should always use a level measure, unless the recipe says otherwise. A standard teaspoon can hold 5ml of water. So you’ll often see the ingredient measure followed by the ml equivalent – for example 1 teaspoon (5ml) of cumin. But the ml equivalent is only there for convention. If you stick to using a standard teaspoon then you’ll get the correct amount of the ingredient. So what about fractions of a teaspoon? You’ll find that recipes on the Curry Focus websites will sometimes call for 1/2, 1/4 or 1/8 of a teaspoon and the ml equivalents for these are 2.5ml, 1ml and 0.5ml. If you need to add 1/2 a teaspoon (2.5ml) of something then you just measure out half a level teaspoon of the ingredient.

A measure that is closely related to the teaspoon is the tablespoon and a tablespoon is equivalent to 3 teaspoons. With a tablespoon being the same as 3 teaspoons, you’ll see that the ml equivalent is 15ml for a tablespoon. I don’t have any real tablespoons in my kitchen (it’s not that I don’t want them, it’s just that I’ve never bothered to buy any). Whenever a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon, I use 3 teaspoons. If a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons, I use 6 teaspoons.

I do have a set of measuring spoons (you know, those metal spoons that are bound together with a ring) and the measures on these spoons are tablespoon, teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon. But I hardly ever use the spoons for measuring ingredients. I use the tablespoon measure for oil, lemon juice, lime juice and the like but use a real teaspoon for mostly everything that is not a cup, or a fraction of a cup.

Now the cup measure can be troublesome. Whereas the same size is used worldwide for a teaspoon and tablespoon measure, it is a different story for a cup. The 3 main cup sizes are 237ml for a USA cup, 250ml for an Australian or New Zealand cup and 285ml for a UK cup. Early on in the life of the Curry Focus website, we decided to use 250ml as the cup size in our recipes. We had to decide on one standard size and we find dividing and multiplying by 250 a lot easier than with 237 or 285.

The cup measure is most often used for liquids although you will see the measure used for all kinds of solids (such as flour, lentils, fresh coriander/cilantro, rice, etc.). We try and put the weight equivalent of an ingredient, as well as the cup size, when listing solid ingredients in the Curry Focus recipes. This way you can use cups or scales, whatever you want.

As with spoons, there are fractions of a cup with the common ones being 1/2 cup (125ml), 1/4 cup (62ml) and 1/3 cup (85ml). My kitchen has a set of cup measures so I can handle most cup requirements.

We are well aware that people from all around the world use the Curry Focus recipes and you’ll find that all weight (solid) and volume (liquid) measures are given in metric and imperial. So you’ll see grams (and kilograms), along with their equivalent in pounds and ounces, as well as millilitres (and litres), along with their equivalent in fluid ounces. We don’t usually convert to pints because a US pint is different to a UK pint.

If you send a recipe to us for publication on the Curry Focus website, you just need to put the measures that you are familiar with. You do not have to worry about converting them to different scales or units – we do all of that for you.

There is a useful summary page of all of the common recipe measures on the Curry Focus measures glossary page.

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