Curry is a flavorful and tasty culinary experience. More than that, it is part of a rich and varied culture in India. This guide covers everything about Indian curry. We answer questions like “What are the origins of Indian Curry?” and “What kinds of curry are there?” Read on to learn more about Indian curry and what makes it so special and beloved all over the world.
The Origins of Indian Curry
Curry is one of the most famous dishes in Indian cuisine. People have been making curry in this part of the world for thousands of years. In fact, the oldest known curry dates back 4000 years. The food culture around curry was changed forever with the introduction of chili peppers to India as part of the Columbian Exchange.
Since its early days, the popularity of curry spread across the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, as well. Now, spicy Indian curries are enjoyed all over the world. There are many different kinds of curries. Even in India, there are many varieties of curries and every family has their own beloved recipes for curries.
Features of Spicy Indian Curry
Spicy Indian Curries feature some bold and interesting flavors. Indian curries typically feature a mix of flavors including sweet, salty, spicy, tangy, bitter, and sour. These dishes are usually served over rice. Curries can be made with several kinds of meats, including fish, chicken, shellfish, mutton, or goat. In some parts of India there are beef curries, as well.
Curries can include different vegetables as well. Some curries are vegetarian or made with tofu. Some veggies you might find in curries are onions, carrots, green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, snap peas, chickpeas, and many more. Curries use many spices, and there are many variations of spices used depending on the type of curry and the heat level desired.
In India, it is common for cooks to create their own curry seasoning blends for the curries they are cooking. Garam Masala is a spice blend that is commonly used in India for curries. There are many different spices that can be found in Garam Masala, and many Indian families have their own blend.
In Western countries, such as the UK, you will more commonly find a spice blend called curry powder in Indian dishes. Curry powder is a mix of spices originating from India, but this is a term you will mainly see in Western countries.
Curry powder may not be as authentic, but it is still tasty. This blend became popular in the late 17th century when it became available commercially. This blend includes spices like cayenne pepper, fenugreek, and turmeric, among others.
Types of Spicy Indian Curries
There are many different kinds of spicy Indian Curries with different levels of heat. Some are very spicy and hot, while others are milder. They can be made with a wide variety of meats, vegetables, and spices. Below are some of the most common types of Indian curries that are popular all over the world.
Indian Chicken Curry
Indian Chicken Curry is a spicy curry with pieces of chicken cooked in a blend of spices like garam masala, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. These flavors come together in a delicious ginger and tomato-based sauce.
Indian Fish Curry
Indian Fish Curry is commonly made with seer, sea bass, tilapia, or sardines. Vegetables can include onions, tomatoes, chili peppers, and fenugreek. Spices usually include chili powder, curry leaves, coriander, turmeric, garlic, and tamarind. Oil and coconut milk are also included in the sauce.
This curry is dark red in color and made with chicken. This curry is higher up on the hotness scale due to its generous amount of chili powder. Madras curry includes tamarind and fenugreek. This curry is typically hotter than curries made with curry powder.
Dhansak curry is a Parsi dish that is traditionally made with mutton or goat. It can include a mix of vegetables and lentils. Ingredients can include chili powder, coriander, triphala, oil, fenugreek, may leaves, fennel, cumin, mustard, garlic, curry leaves, turmeric, cloves, tomato powder, black pepper, star anise, cinnamon, and more. This curry has a medium level of heat.
Saag curries are cooked with some kind of bitter greens. Spinach, fenugreek, mustard greens, collard greens, and dill can all be used in saag curry. This curry includes many spices and peppers. Traditionally this dish is fairly hot.
Tikka Masala is a wildly popular takeout Indian food in the UK that originated in India. This dish consists of chicken marinated in yogurt, then simmered in a creamy, spicy tomato sauce. The spices in this dish include garam masala, which is a blend of cinnamon, pepper, coriander, cumin, and cardamom, among other spices.
This is another popular curry that originated in India. Korma curry is a mildly spicy dish made with meat and veggies. Meat can include lamb, goat, chicken, or beef. Korma is a great curry for beginners to try due to it being much milder than other curries.
Jalfrezi curry is a flavorful dish usually made with chicken. This curry consists of a tomato-based sauce with pepper, onions, and spices. This curry packs some heat and is an interesting combination of Indian flavors with Chinese cooking techniques.
Vindaloo is one of the hottest curries in the world. This dish is popular in India and other places, as well. This curry can be vegetarian or made with chicken or pork. This curry includes ingredients like garam masala, jalapeno peppers, and vinegar.
Tips for Making Curry at Home
To make your own Indian curry at home, start with high-quality ingredients. Decide what meats and veggies you want in your curry. Decide what type of curry you want to make and the heat level. Organic spices, high-quality meats, and fresh vegetables are a great start to a wonderful homemade curry.
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