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Let's Talk Curry

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February 27, 2015 / Indian / By
Nicola

'Sweet Potato & Butter Bean Curry with Naan' by Matt Kieffer via Flickr

 

This month I’ve been talking a lot about the food that I love, due to the fact that Valentine’s Day – the day of love – falls directly in the middle of February. Indian and Thai cuisines are amongst my favourites, which gives us the perfect opportunity to talk about curries.

 

Indian food is synonymous with curry and other spicy foods, but did you know that the Indian language doesn’t have a specific translation for the English word ‘curry’? Instead, they refer to their spiced dishes by their individual names; the umbrella term ‘curry’ was coined in countries which lie further West.

 

Indian curries can either be ‘dry’ or ‘wet’; in reality these terms relate to the amount of liquid that is in the sauce. ‘Dry’ curries can include a sauce (although they don’t always) but these contain much less stock or water than ‘wet’ curries. ‘Wet’ curries generally have much more liquid in their sauces; rice and naan breads are perfect for soaking these up!

 

The brilliant thing about Indian curries is that there is a different one to suit every person’s taste. They vary from the very mild (such as a korma) to the very spicy (with the phaal being one of the hottest curries ever made), and they can contain all different types of meat, fish, vegetables and even potatoes. Combine these factors, and you can end up with a huge variety of different curries with different strengths, different types of sauces, and different ingredients.

 

Other curries which are popular in the West stem from Thailand originally. Although there is a fairly wide variety of different types, we tend to refer to Thai curries as being either ‘red’, ‘green’ or ‘yellow’.

 

Thai curries differ greatly from Indian curries, in that the sauces generally contain much more liquid, and they’re very aromatic as opposed to just being spicy. It’s true that they can contain a variety of ingredients including meat and vegetables, but Thai curries often have a more fishy twist. Fish pastes and sauces are very commonly used in Thai curries, which gives them a whole extra depth of flavour that you don’t get in curries from other regions.

 

These are by far the most famous, popular different types of curry in this part of the world; it’s interesting that although they fall under the same name of ‘curry’, they can vary so widely. However, it doesn’t even stop there. There are many other variations on curries from many other parts of the world, including Africa, the West Indies and even Britain itself.

 

To me, it just makes complete sense to talk about curries in relation to food that I love. This is just because I love the flavoursome mix of spice, meat and herby aromas, but of course I haven’t even mentioned that chilli is an aphrodisiac yet; it seems that curries are the food of love in more ways than one!

 

If you haven’t found a curry that you enjoy yet, then keep searching. Try a curry from a different part of the world, as you’ll find that they all have their own quirks and styles. Even if you travel the world and still don’t find a curry for you, then adapt a recipe to create your own perfect curry at home – one of the best thing about curries is that aside from the fact that they taste great, they’re so easy to whip up yourself!


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