If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, then you’ve probably eaten a lot of curry dishes!
Even though I’m a fan of many types of curry, I can’t say that I’ve always known what it is, or how to use it in cooking.
After all, there are so many different dishes that use the word curry to describe what’s in them.
Plus, there’s also a curry spice powder and curry pastes. To me, the word curry always brings to mind a deliciously rich and flavorful meat dish that is hearty and full of warmth. To you, it might mean something else.
Do you think of Thai curry or Indian curry?
So, if you’re wondering just what is curry, then read on to find out!
Table Of Contents
What is curry?
The word “curry” was coined by the British in the 18th century when they were introduced to the Indian meat or veggie dish that is prepared in a spicy gravy and is served with rice.
It is simply a take on the Indian word “kari”, which means sauce. Curries are an essential part of Indian, Malaysian, Pakistani, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and South African cuisines.
There are numerous types of curries, all of which are prepared with various spices and ingredients.
What does curry taste like?
Every type of curry has its own distinct curry flavors.
Curries are prepared using so many different ingredients that they don’t have a singular taste.
They can be sweet, spicy, sour, savory, salty, and more. Similarly, a curry can have a rich, creamy texture, a sauce-like texture, or a watery consistency.
A typical Thai curry combines coconut milk, lemongrass, cumin, garlic and more robust flavors. Indian curry might have onion, ginger, coriander and yogurt.
And those are just examples. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Is curry a spice?
No, curry isn’t a spice in and of itself. However, there is a spice mix called curry powder available in stores, which is a blend of different spices that go into making a curry.
This spice mix often includes ingredients such as ground coriander, turmeric, ground cumin, black pepper, and ground ginger.
Different types of curry
Here are some common kinds of curry:
Red curry is often made with dried red chili peppers, chili powder, whole cloves of garlic or minced garlic, fresh turmeric, cilantro root, coriander, shallots, cumin, and tomatoes.
The list of ingredients can also include shrimp paste, lemongrass, and kaffir lime rind. You can prepare it with meat or veggies.
This type of curry has shallots, fresh green chilies, lemongrass, coriander root, white pepper, yogurt, garlic, shrimp paste, kaffir lime rind, and salt.
It also includes round green eggplant, sweet basil leaves, and kaffir lime leaves, which add that signature green hue to the prepared dish.
Yellow curry is prepared by pounding curry powder and turmeric together with various other ingredients.
These ingredients include cumin, coriander, lemongrass, shrimp paste, galangal, dried red chilies, garlic, ginger, sea salt, and shallots.
Sour curry is a basic water-based curry with 6 base ingredients – cloves, dried red chilies, white pepper, turmeric, shallots, and shrimp paste. This type of curry is best enjoyed with fish or pork.
The sour taste of the curry comes from the addition of sour pineapple, sour tamarind, or other sour tropical fruits.
This is a rich, sweet, and dry curry. The ingredients in Panang curry include coconut milk, dried red long chilies, garlic, shallots, galangal, kaffir lime rind, lemongrass, coriander root, salt, white pepper, and shrimp paste.
This curry is topped with thick coconut cream. You can also add peanuts to the curry, which is a Western spin on this traditional Thai curry. In Thailand, this curry is most often prepared with beef and is quite hot.
This type of curry originated in Southern Thailand and was influenced by Persian cuisine. It’s often prepared with beef or lamb. The ingredients that go into making Masaman curry include white pepper, dried red chilies, shallots, cloves, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, shrimp paste, cumin, coriander, and salt.
The curry also includes peanuts, white cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. This dish is quite thick and has a stew-like consistency and a mild, somewhat sweet taste.
How Is Curry Used?
Curry is often used with beef, lamb, fish, or chicken. You can also cook it with various veggies or seafood. It’s prepared with tomatoes, onions, yogurt, or cream and can have a sauce-like or watery consistency.
You can pour it on top of a bowl of rice or have it with bread or flatbreads such as roti or naan.
What Is the Difference between Indian Curry and Thai Curry?
Indian and Thai are the two major types of curry. Indian curry is typically a blend of roasted spices that are ground into a fine powder called masala and prepared with yogurt, onions, or tomatoes.
Indian curry can be water or broth-based and it can be thickened with sour cream. Thai curry often includes herbs and spices such as galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. This type of curry also uses coconut cream and coconut milk and dried red chilies to add a richness and spiciness to the dish.
The Bottom Line
I hope you enjoyed reading this guide on “What is Curry?” Curry is a blend of different spices mixed in with a base such as water, broth, yogurt, cream, etc., to form a sauce or stew-like base for meat, seafood, or a veggie dish.
There are various kinds of curry and each has its own blend of flavors. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and try all the different types of curry out there!