Last Updated on October 9, 2023
Welcome curry lovers, gastronomes, and travelers! Embark with me on a delightful journey of hot, spicy, tangy, aromatic, and downright delicious curries from different corners of the globe. From the streets of London to the bustling alleyways of Bangkok, we’ll explore these palate-pleasing masterpieces to appreciate the richness and diversity of curry dishes worldwide. Trust me; it’s going to be anything but bland!
I am not sure when this obsession with curry started, but I have visited many of the best food cities in the world and still get excited when there is a curry on the menu.
First stop? India, the heartland of curries. Let’s start with the mouth-watering “Butter Chicken” from Punjab. This gem is a silky, creamy concoction cooked with tender chicken chunks marinated in yogurt and spices, paired with a tangy tomato-based gravy enriched with butter. You get a symphony of flavors in each bite, making it a heavyweight contender in the global curry championship. However, let’s not overlook the “Madras Curry” hailing from the South. With a unique blend of hot and sour flavors achieved through mustard seeds, curry leaves, tamarind, and fiery chilies, Madras Curry is sure to guarantee a culinary thrill ride.
Then we’ll hop to West Bengal for a whiff of “Prawn Malai Curry.” It isn’t your usual fiery curry as the name ‘malai’ translates to ‘cream’, which hints at its delightfully creamy and mild texture. The magic starts with large, fresh tiger prawns cooked gently in a smooth, velvety sauce that blends the richness of coconut milk with aromatic spices including turmeric, cumin, and chili. Delightfully fragrant, slightly sweet and spicy, and abounding in succulent prawns, Prawn Malai Curry is like a tender lullaby in the realm of curry symphonies. It pairs superbly with steamed basmati rice to compose a meal that’s incredibly hard to forget.
Mother India still has plenty of curry flavors to unveil. The “Dhansak Curry” of Parsi cuisine, for example, stands out as it amalgamates Persian and Gujarati influences. Combining lentils, vegetables, and typically mutton, this mildly sweet and sour curry is a wholesome delight which owes its unique flavor to an assortment of spices, including fenugreek, star anise, and cardamom. I promise it’s an undeniable love at first bite.
Next, we’ll spread our curry wings and land in the breezy, balmy lands of Thailand. “Green Curry,” anyone? Beautifully aromatic and with a good chili kick, it’s defined by its creamy consistency thanks to coconut milk and the fragrant marriage of lemongrass, coriander, kaffir lime leaves, and green chilies.
Equally satisfying is the “Massaman Curry,” a rich, relatively mild Thai curry that carries Persian influences. Think cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cumin, bay leaves, nutmeg, and mace combined with local produce such as dried chili peppers, coriander, lemongrass, and galangal.
You can learn about more Thai dishes in the dedicated article about that.
Let’s island-hop to Japan now, where curry has been embraced with a unique twist. The Japanese “Kare Raisu,” or curry rice, is the national favorite featuring a brown gravy that’s sweeter and less spicy than its Indian counterparts. It typically consists of meat, onions, carrots, and potatoes and is often served on a plate half-covered with steamed rice. It might be quite different from your typical curry expectations, but it’s a charmer.
There is also a slightly spicier yellow curry variety that is often combined with deep-fried chicken or pork called “Kare Katsu”. Both curries often include a small serving of thinly sliced pickled ginger, which works surprisingly well together with the curry.
If you thought we were done, not by a long shot; we still have to check in at Malaysia. The “Rendang,” originally from Indonesia, is Malaysia’s adopted favorite which is unbelievably flavor-packed. Dry curry at its best, Rendang is slow-cooked, allowing meat to soak up the glorious blend of ginger, galangal, turmeric root, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chilies, and an array of spices. Cook it long enough, and it will reward you with its richly flavored, fork-tender glory.
And, of course, a culinary trip around the globe will not be complete without a visit to the UK. Yes, correct! The UK is home to a range of exotic curry dishes, and one of the crown jewels is the “Chicken Tikka Masala.” A British favorite, it is a comforting bowl of marinated grilled chicken pieces swimming in a creamy tomato-based gravy. Many also rave about “Balti Curry,” a richly flavorful curry style which originates from the Northern region of Baltistan in Pakistan but has gained immense popularity in the UK.
So there you have it, a world tour of curry flavors. A myriad of ingredients, an encyclopedia of flavors, and a union of cultures all simmered in one pot. From the smoky, buttery savor of Punjab’s Butter Chicken to the sweet and mild allure of Japan’s Kare Raisu, curries around the world offer a fascinating testament to humanity’s shared love for good food. So pick up that spoon and embark on a never-ending journey of exploration; you have a world of curries to savor!
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