Fall is upon us, and the chilly mornings and long nights call for hearty stews and curries. Curries are simple to make, packed with nutrients, and help spice up your meals. One underlying theme of curry is the flavorful herbs accompanying every dish. While the dish is common in South Asia, the style of cooking has spread across all continents. Here are five distinct curries you need to try.
Japanese curry’s distinct sweetness differs from its counterparts in other areas of Southern Asia. Unlike curry powder used for traditional indian curries, Japanese homes commonly use blocks of curry paste that, often, are less spicy than other curry styles. This dish can be served alongside rice, udon, or baked eggs. The Japanese add a cultural touch to traditional curries with various seafood additions, from oyster to mackerel, in their curry.
Featuring complex array of spices including coriander, turmeric and cumin, Indian curries were first believed to be served to British armies by Indian merchants. Curries may be dry or wet describing the sauciness of the mixture. Whereas wet curries are coated with a viscous sauce, dry curries allow the sauce to evaporate. The popularity of this cuisine is seen throughout the entire Indian subcontinent. The Indian chef uses no curry powder and instead blends his own fresh ingredients to create a unique taste.
While Indian curries produce a bright colorful mixture, the Jamaican curry colors are darker and use dried scotch bonnet chillies and include a distinct pepper (pimenta) native to the Greater Antilles in southern Mexico. Unlike its Indian counterpart, the texture is less thick and served with peas or rice in lieu of breads like naan and chapatis.
Ethiopian curry (Zighny)
At first glance, this curry already stands differently from the rest. Its vibrant crimson color lends itself from a spice mix known as berbere. The Zighny is popular in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other parts of East Africa. Despite the lack of quality African restaurants in my area, I was able to find some at local food festivals. The curry is typically served in a tray with Injera, a soured bread, that locals break off in pieces and dip in the curry.
Simply smelling the aroma of Thai curry allows one to distinguish its unique South Asian origins. The use of ingredients such as seafood, bamboo shoots, and kaffir lime leaves create an amalgam that melts in your mouth. The Thai distinguish their curries into yellow, green, or red curries based on the herbs used. The color is also an indication of spice levels. For example, red curries typically consist of red chillies whereas green curries uses fresh green chillies. For curry lovers everywhere, Thai curries are a must-try.
Xin Xu is a post-graduate health-science AU student, aspiring clinician, globe-trotter, parrot-breeder and tea-connoisseur.