Curry is a distinctively spiced dish which is common in Indian cuisine but is found in the cuisine of many countries. It refers to a meat or vegetable dish usually eaten with rice. There is no rigid definition of the term curry refers to, but to most people in the west, curry is what you might eat in a Indian resturant or curry house. Well-known dishes include Korma, Madras, Vindaloo, Butter Chicken and Rogan Josh. Curry is usually eaten with rice and is often acompanied by breads like naan, roti or popadums.
In Indian cuisine, curry is a sauce - sometimes considered a soup - made by stirring yoghurt into a roux of ghee (clarified butter) and besan (chick pea flour). The spices added vary, but usually include turmeric and black mustard seed.
In English cuisine, the word curry denotes a dish flavored with curry powder, usually roasted until it turns fairly dark. This is especially true for non-vegetarian dishes. There is Lamb Curry, Chicken Curry, Beef Curry and so on.
English Indian restaurants have developed the Curry to such a level that it has become an integral part of English Cuisine. Some Indian food is actually exported from the United Kingdom to India and there was an instance of an Englishman asking for a local curry to be sent to Australia (which has also taken to the curry with enthusiasm).
English curries are generally arranged by strengths that roughly follow the order below in terms of strength (going from mild to very hot indeed):
In the late 1990s, chicken tikka masala was commonly referred to as the "English national dish", being apparently the single commonest dish in the country, available (albeit in frozen, microwavable form) on intercity rail trains, and even used as a pizza topping.
Curries are not confined to India and the United Kingdom, English style curry resturants are common and increasingly popular in Australia and New Zealand. Other countries have their own varietys of curry, well know examples include:
- Thailand: green and red curries
- Malasia & Indonesia: rendang's
- South Africa: Cape malay curries
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Fresh Herbs and Spices
Curry powder aka Massala Powder is a spice mixture of widely varying composition developed by the British during their colonial rule of India as a means of approximating the taste of Indian cuisine at home. Curry powder has no place in actual Indian cuisine. Massala means Sauce, and this is the name given to the thick pastey liquid sauce of combined spices and ghee(melted butter)/butter/palm oil/coconut milk.
Curry leaves are the young leaves of the curry tree, a member of the citrus family that grows wild and in gardens all over India. They must be used fresh, as they lose their delicate flavor when dried. Curry leaves are not an ingredient in, and have nothing to do with, curry powder.
Haskell Curry was a logician. The verb to curry is used in his honor in Functional programming -- see currying.
Curry is also a Tamil (language spoken in South India) word that means coal.
- Spicy World Spice List (A list of spices maintained by a Takeaway in London)