What is curry? With the growing popularity in the United States, most of us know what it's all about. But some of us have lots of curious questions about curry.
We know curry as a dish with abundant flavors, high on heat, and a luscious texture. Is curry just limited to these factors? Why does curry often differ in their color and taste? But what is curry? And where does it come from?
Wait, this blog post will explore the origins of curry, some of the different varieties of this spicy curry dish, and also answer most of the common questions. Whether you're a fan of curry or want to learn more about it, you may find something interesting in this article!
What is curry?
Curry is a spicy gravy dish that has been enjoyed for centuries in India and across most of Asia continent.
It is usually made with a protein of choice like chicken, goat, fish, shrimp, or beans. The base sauce is typically made with onion, tomatoes, ginger, and garlic. And the most common spices in curry are coriander powder, turmeric powder, ground cumin, and chili powder.
Coconut milk or yogurt is also used depending on the region where the dish is made.
To be precise, North Indian curry requires yogurt, whereas South Indian curry's star ingredient would be coconut. The other secondary ingredients in curry differ greatly depending on the cuisine or region.
It's typically served with rice or homemade flatbreads.
A thicker version of curry is also prevalent and tastes fabulous. Very common to enjoy as a side or appetizer when paired with the right dishes.
To sum up 'What is curry?' in a single sentence, Curry is a hearty, wholesome food that tastes incredibly delicious.
The origin of curry
It's believed that curry originated in India and slowly gained its popularity in Asian counties, later in European, and finally landed in the American continents as well.
In the modern era, curry is made in a variety of ways across the world, by adapting to the local cuisine and with available ingredients.
But do you know, this has been made and enjoyed for thousands of years. There are some supporting archaeological evidence dating back to 2000 BCE. Showing the love of people towards the spices and the curry.
History says that in the 18th century, during the British colonization of India, Indian dishes were getting limelight in Great Britain under the broad head ‘curry.’ The dish is made with rich and bold spices, typically a sauce or gravy.
And later, it became popular in many parts of the world. There are many variations, but one thing is always true: it's delicious!
What is the meaning of the word curry?
Some believe this term comes from ‘Kari’ from the Dravidian language Tamil dialects. Curry in the Tamil language refers to meat. For instance, chicken meat is called ‘chicken kari.’
In the South Indian kitchen, everyday food is made simple and with mild spices. At the same time, the meat recipes are made with bold flavors and with rich heat to combat the natural odor of the meat. And generally, curry dishes are made in a saucy form.
So the term Kari refers to the meat dish made with aromatic spices with a punch. In due course, it slowly evolved and transformed into different phases, in different cuisines and continents.
But whatever the beliefs of curry's origin(and there are many), one thing remains certain–it has been enjoyed across cultures since ancient times.
Types of curries
Curry is a staple dish in many Asian countries, and each region has its unique way of making it. Not to mention that millions of variations of curry are being relished around the world.
Every curry dish is a delight and highly differs in the spice level. And the heat also varies according to the region.
For instance, in Eastern Asia, curries are mild, made with various vegetables and chicken or tofu. Middle Eastern curries, on the other hand, are typically much richer and spicier, often made with lamb or beef.
However, some common spices like cardamom, turmeric, cumin, and chili powder are included to enhance its signature flavor. It's no wonder these common curry ingredients are considered the most essential condiments for trading in ancient days.
Even today, modern-day cuisine heavily relies on these spices to add flavor and depth to dishes and make them more appetizing.
Coming back, let’s look into the curry recipes that are highly popular worldwide beyond their place of origin.
Indian curries are so popular that they have their dedicated spices. There are many different types of curry, ranging from mild to fiery hot.
Generally, this style includes making the base sauce with fresh ginger root and garlic cloves cooked with onion and tomato sauce alongside a protein.
Whether you like your curry with chicken, lamb, or shrimp, there is sure to be a recipe that will suit your taste. Indian curry is typically served with rice or bread, making it a complete meal.
There is an assumption that the curry in India is made using curry powder. But it's widely used in the western countries. It could instantly bring up the tropical curry flavors to any dish. The good news is that some curry powder substitutes work excellent as well.
The famous Indian curry is,
Few vegetarian curry are,
Thai curry is a delicious dish that comes in many different varieties. Each type of Thai curry is defined by its unique combination of flavors, including spicy, sweet, savory, and tangy elements.
Some popular ingredients used in Thai curry include fresh herbs, fragrant spices like ginger and turmeric, and creamy coconut milk.
No matter which type of Thai curry you choose, it's sure to be packed full of bold, flavorful ingredients that will delight your taste buds!
Some of the world-renowned Thai curry recipes are
Japanese curry is a brilliant and delicious dish with a long history in Japan. This savory, slightly spicy stew is typically made with onions, potatoes, carrots, and meat or seafood.
Japanese curry can be enjoyed as a filling main dish or served over rice for a more substantial meal.
So, if you're looking for a comforting and satisfying dish that everyone in the family will love, look no further than this classic Japanese comfort food.
- Curry rice
- Curry udon
- Curry bread
Chinese curries are known for their bold, spicy flavors and complex layers of spices. Whether you're cooking a vegetarian khao soy, a hearty beef and potato stew, or a mild coconut chicken curry, the key to making a delicious Chinese curry is to pack in as many different flavors as possible, like this dumpling curry.
With all these fantastic ingredients working together in harmony, there's no limit to the unique flavors that can be created in your kitchen! So fire up the wok and get ready to cook up some truly delicious Chinese curry.
And currently, Chinese chicken curry is a trendy take-out dish nationwide.
Malaysian curry is traditionally made with chicken, beef, or fish; it can be spiced to your liking and served with rice or noodles.
The key to an excellent Malaysian curry is in the gravy. It’s flavorful and thicker than most other curries; it is made with coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, and chili peppers.
These ingredients give the gravy a distinct flavor and aroma, making it a favorite among curry lovers.
African curry is most similar to Indian curry recipes. But what makes African curry so special is the way in which it is prepared.
Generally, the curry is baked in large clay pots over an open flame, infusing every layer with complex flavors and deep aromas.
Some of the popular curry recipes are
- Bunny chow
- Chicken Feet Curry
- Mauritian Fish Curry
- Swahili Chicken Curry
This flavorful and hearty meal originated in India and has become a European favorite. The curry became a most sought-after dish when culinary experts started infusing local elements to suit their palate.
Combining the curry flavors with the popular dishes worldwide became very common and always a super hit among food enthusiasts. One such example of this is curry aioli.
How to make a basic curry sauce
- The base sauce is done in multiple methods according to the region. The following is the most common method of all.
- Place a pan over medium heat; add cooking oil, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, and cardamom.
- Allow the spices' flavor to infuse in the oil.
- Add onion and sauté until it turns translucent. Then add ground ginger and garlic.
- And sauté until fragrant.
- Then, toss finely chopped tomato and sauté until it becomes mushy.
- Now add cayenne pepper, ground coriander, and turmeric powder.
- Stir for a couple of seconds without burning this spice blend,
- Add water and allow it to cook until the sauce thickens and turns fragrant.
- Remove it from the heat and store it in an airtight container to use later, along with a choice of protein.