Curry Powder

What is Curry?

Many Americans are surprised to find out that curry isn't a spice, but rather a blend of spices, chilies and other aromatics. And, the specific blend of spices can vary widely from culture to culture and cook to cook. The word curry dates from the 18th century and probably comes from the Indian word 'kari' meaning sauce. The sauces we now classify as curries, come from all over South Asia and vary widely in their composition. In 1889, at the Universal Paris Exposition, a 'Curry Decree' set the composition of curry as having specific amounts of tamarind, onion, coriander, chilli pepper, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, pepper, and mustard. However, we now accept many other spices and ingredients as curries. A common ingredient in Sri Lanken and Indian curries is the leaf of the curry tree. They are best purchased fresh or frozen, but also available dried.

Curry sauces are generally made by adding a curry paste or dry spice mix to stock and/or coconut milk and then mixing in meat, vegetables or tofu and serving over rice or flatbread. The curry flavor is best freshly mixed, so don't be afraid to create your own mix on the spot.

Below is a list of some well-known curry mixes and what they are best used for:

  • Green Curry Paste- This is a spicy type of Thai curry that is good with fish and seafood. 
  • Malay Curry- Made using a dry spice mix or a curry paste, Malay curries have a strong Indian flavor and are usually cooked in coconut milk.
  • Massaman Curry Paste- This is a Thai curry paste that has warm, rich Indian spice flavors. It works well with meat and poultry.
  • Red Curry Paste- This is a Thai spicy curry that goes well with beef, game, duck and pork.
  • Madras Curry Powder- One of the most popular curry blends, this Indian spice mix can be used anywhere curry powder is called for.
  • Tamil Curry- This is a southern Indian blend used to flavor rice or vegetables.

References-

http://www.cookthink.com/reference/955/What_exactly_is_a_curry

Herbs and Spices by Jill Norman

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