If you want to make Jamaican favorites like goat curry, your best shot at replicating the authentic taste will be to find a Jamaican curry powder blend. You should be able to find one if you have a Jamaican grocery store nearby; however, grocery stores in some parts of the country will have a Jamaican section where you should be able to find Jamaican curry powder. However, Jamaican curry powder has a lot in common with several other curry powder styles. If you are in a hurry and getting one from a brick and mortar store is not an option, you should still be able to get similar flavors by using one of the Jamaican curry powder substitutes below.
Your best bet: Make your own
When looking for a curry powder substitute, you should always consider making your own. Not only does it allow you to use fresher spices, it may save you money as well. Making Jamaican curry powder is not complicated and most of the ingredients are easy to find. Spices like turmeric and allspice can be found in many grocery stores. While an ingredient like fenugreek may prove more of a challenge, an Indian grocery store should have it in stock. Buy and grind only the amount that you plan to use in a dish. This helps you to avoid waste since ground spices lose their flavor quickly. By making your own blend, you can adjust individual spices to suit your preferred flavor profile.
A decent second choice: Standard curry powder
Basic curry powder blends are readily available in most grocery stores and will have many of the same ingredients that you will find in Jamaican curry powder. While American curry powders are not likely to be heavy on the pungent spices, keep in mind that much of the flavor in Jamaican curry dishes come from other ingredients that are added separately from the curry powder.
This means that by adding other flavorful ingredients, you can still arrive at a flavorful and authentic-tasting approximation of the dish. For example, scallions and scotch bonnet peppers are essential ingredients that may be added at different points in the cooking process. You should also add allspice to get the Jamaican curry powder flavor. Do not rely solely on the spices in the curry powder for the success of your dish.
Use curry powder as a 1:1 substitute for Jamaican curry powder.
In a pinch: Madras curry powder
Madras curry powder is considered the central ingredient in classic British curry dishes. It is usually hotter than standard curry powder blends due to its high red pepper content, but has most of the same ingredients found in Jamaican curry powder. As a result of the red pepper, Madras curry powder will not usually be the bright yellow of most Jamaican curry powder blends; instead, it will be darker and closer to an orange color. When using it as a Jamaican curry powder blend, you can omit or lower the amount of scotch bonnet pepper in the recipe if you want to limit the heat. In addition, you may want to add allspice to taste since it is usually not one of the ingredients in Madras curry powder blends.
Use Madras curry powder as a 1:1 substitute for Jamaican curry powder.
Vindaloo curry powder is somewhat hotter than Madras curry powder, which means that you may want to omit any scotch bonnet pepper that the recipe requires. As with the Madras curry powder, you may also want to add allspice since it does not usually show up in vindaloo curry blends.