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Kerry Beal

Ethnic foods I'm supposed to like - but don't.

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As I have stated repeatedly as a member of the curry haters club, it is the sheer number of overwhelming spices, to me. I can't single one out, as I like them all individually. It is the combination of what would seem to be a dozen spices that is off-putting.

And Jaymes nailed it upthread: the smell of cheap motel lobbies is what comes to mind.

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I beleive that in the "curry haters club" it might be the fenugreek that gets me. I've had cumin, cilantro, and various other herbs and spices in different things, some I liked, some were meh, but fenugreek only, I think, in curry. Maybe it's the grocery store curry powder that I object to. Who knows?

Do you have a similar dislike for "maple" flavoured syrups (not the real thing, obviously, but the Aunt Jemima type corn-syrup based "alternative")? I ask because fenugreek is the main flavouring agent in fake maple everythings.

No. I'm not nuts about the flavor; it's SO fake, but not to gag on. I never knew fenugreek was in that!


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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As I have stated repeatedly as a member of the curry haters club, it is the sheer number of overwhelming spices, to me. I can't single one out, as I like them all individually. It is the combination of what would seem to be a dozen spices that is off-putting.

I read what you stated in your initial and follow-up posts (and the posts by others who share this dislike). That was what aroused my curiosity and made me want to dig deeper into the subject. I'm really not trying to nail those who don't like curry to a cross or anything, I was just searching for the common thread. If one person stated an all-inclusive dislike of any wide-ranging classification of a food, I might think it a bit odd... but when several people share that dislike I start paying attention and wondering what ties it all together. I'm just curious that way.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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As I have stated repeatedly as a member of the curry haters club, it is the sheer number of overwhelming spices, to me. I can't single one out, as I like them all individually. It is the combination of what would seem to be a dozen spices that is off-putting.

And Jaymes nailed it upthread: the smell of cheap motel lobbies is what comes to mind.

Perhaps we need some ground rules here. It is OK to post your unfortunate booze memories, but not your cheap motel memories. Unless, of course, the two are part of the same memory. So often the case for so many people, I suppose!

I am with Tri2Cook on getting to the bottom of the curry hatred. I hear Annabelle on the muddied flavors argument, and I also get the cheap motel lobby smell. As a curry lover, I can tell you that, with a really well-made curry, I can detect and enjoy many, if not all, of the flavors involved, but the smell is what it is, and either you like it or you don't. Also, I think that the dishes that lay on the curry with a heavy hand far outweigh the ladies' bridge club curried chicken salad of the 1950s, which did not smell of curry at all, either because the curry powder had been sitting on the shelf in the A &P or Kroger for 3 years, or else there was only 1/4 tsp. of curry powder in the salad. I suspect that the smell could be at the root of all curry evil, even more than the taste. What say the assembled crowd?


Edited by Bill Klapp (log)
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Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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I beleive that in the "curry haters club" it might be the fenugreek that gets me. I've had cumin, cilantro, and various other herbs and spices in different things, some I liked, some were meh, but fenugreek only, I think, in curry. Maybe it's the grocery store curry powder that I object to. Who knows?

Do you have a similar dislike for "maple" flavoured syrups (not the real thing, obviously, but the Aunt Jemima type corn-syrup based "alternative")? I ask because fenugreek is the main flavouring agent in fake maple everythings.

No. I'm not nuts about the flavor; it's SO fake, but not to gag on. I never knew fenugreek was in that!

OK, if fake maple syrup doesn't make you gag, maybe it's the asafoetida rather than the fenugreek in common yellow curry powders that's producing the "ick" reaction. It's not a pleasant spice on its own, and it's one of the ones I leave out of my masalas because I have issues with its flavour. Fenugreek to me is just sort of sweetish. (Then again, that's me - and I actually do like most masala-based foods.)


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I beleive that in the "curry haters club" it might be the fenugreek that gets me. I've had cumin, cilantro, and various other herbs and spices in different things, some I liked, some were meh, but fenugreek only, I think, in curry. Maybe it's the grocery store curry powder that I object to. Who knows?

Do you have a similar dislike for "maple" flavoured syrups (not the real thing, obviously, but the Aunt Jemima type corn-syrup based "alternative")? I ask because fenugreek is the main flavouring agent in fake maple everythings.

No. I'm not nuts about the flavor; it's SO fake, but not to gag on. I never knew fenugreek was in that!

OK, if fake maple syrup doesn't make you gag, maybe it's the asafoetida rather than the fenugreek in common yellow curry powders that's producing the "ick" reaction. It's not a pleasant spice on its own, and it's one of the ones I leave out of my masalas because I have issues with its flavour. Fenugreek to me is just sort of sweetish. (Then again, that's me - and I actually do like most masala-based foods.)

Aha! Another suspect! I've never had the opportunity to smell asafoetida on its own, but given that the name is related to the word fetid, it stands to reason...


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I've only ever used fenugreek in cookies.

The best comparison I can make to curry is many of the chili (or chilli depending on where one lives) cook-off dishes I've had that are either so hot, that they are inedible or such a mess of conflicting flavors that the only thing to do is casually stir it a bit and push it away. I would describe those chilis as muddy, as well.

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Being half Thai, I love curry of almost any kind from almost anywhere. But I just realized that I hate what I call "white folk food" when it's been tainted with curry powder. By that I mean stuff like Coronation chicken salad. Or fried chicken that has curry powder added to the flour mixture. It's just all wrong.

(I tend to dislike Chinese-style curries. I'm not sure why, but I don't find them as delicious as any other kind of curry)

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Agree with the Indian curry haters.

Looks & smells like baby poop.

Doesn't matter if you order chicken, lamb or beef curry, it's all overcooked to a greasy, mushy, musty, murky flavored glop.
The worse aspect of Indian curries is the strong & funky body odor smell.



However, love Thai curries as they're visually beautiful & brightly flavored.


Suzanne

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I participated in a series of posts similar to the current curry issue, except regarding Mexican food. The arguments were basically identical. Either "How can you dislike it all when the cuisine is so diverse?" or "You haven't had the really good stuff". My response was in essence I've been trying to like it for decades and just don't based on extensive experience.Not sure how to resolve these two positions.

That sums it up for me, as well. I've tried to like it and I just don't. I don't care what country it comes from et cetera, it isn't good to me.

You got it!

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Perhaps we need some ground rules here. It is OK to post your unfortunate booze memories, but not your cheap motel memories. Unless, of course, the two are part of the same memory. So often the case for so many people, I suppose!

I am with Tri2Cook on getting to the bottom of the curry hatred. I hear Annabelle on the muddied flavors argument, and I also get the cheap motel lobby smell. As a curry lover, I can tell you that, with a really well-made curry, I can detect and enjoy many, if not all, of the flavors involved, but the smell is what it is, and either you like it or you don't. Also, I think that the dishes that lay on the curry with a heavy hand far outweigh the ladies' bridge club curried chicken salad of the 1950s, which did not smell of curry at all, either because the curry powder had been sitting on the shelf in the A &P or Kroger for 3 years, or else there was only 1/4 tsp. of curry powder in the salad. I suspect that the smell could be at the root of all curry evil, even more than the taste. What say the assembled crowd?

and what do cheap motel lobbies smell like? Does it smell the same as cheap motel lobbies in Amsterdam, or New Delhi, etc ?

the point i am trying to make, and has already been made my many earlier posters, is that curry, in the english language, can mean many totally different things to different people. Maybe we should identify a particular curry, or family of curries?

While it is interesting to post and read about personal preferences/likes/dislikes, its just that. If we really want to get to the "bottom of the curry hatred/love", then i guess we will need a psychologist, food technologist, etc,to analyse each and every ones hates/loves..

if we take it to the national, instead of the personal level, we will find that curry houses are very popular and ubiquitous in UK, and that Thai restaurants, with their curries, are still popular in the US?

In Germany, they have the currrywurst (german fusion? for those interested in fusion cuisines), which is german sausages smothered with some curry sauce, it is apparently popular as i see it being offered wherever there is a stall selling sausages (hot dogs), etc.

Being half Thai, I love curry of almost any kind from almost anywhere. But I just realized that I hate what I call "white folk food" when it's been tainted with curry powder. By that I mean stuff like Coronation chicken salad. Or fried chicken that has curry powder added to the flour mixture. It's just all wrong.

(I tend to dislike Chinese-style curries. I'm not sure why, but I don't find them as delicious as any other kind of curry)

You mean HongKong Chinese style curries? in which case, i will lump it with Japanese curries... yuck!

Have you tried Malaysian/Singaporean Chinese curries, ie Nonya style curries or cuisine in general?

One popular dish available in hawker centres is Laksa, and this varies quite significantly dependent on the state you are in (Malaysia is made up of 11 states and 2 federal territories, unless they have changed it since i last checked).

and going off topic, if you are into asian fusion cooking, Malaysia is it (not even singapore).


It's dangerous to eat, it's more dangerous to live.

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Agree with the Indian curry haters.

Looks & smells like baby poop.

Doesn't matter if you order chicken, lamb or beef curry, it's all overcooked to a greasy, mushy, musty, murky flavored glop.

The worse aspect of Indian curries is the strong & funky body odor smell.

. . . .

I have to admit that I'm another who is confused by this sort of generalization.

I've had a lot of Indian curries, and although some have been murky/harshly-seasoned, with a dog's-breakfast sort of texture and appearance, others were cleanly, beautifully rendered, with a luscious texture and seamless, velvety seasoning. The basic seasoning palette was recognizably similar at both ends of this spectrum, so the handling of the ingredients is obviously key (along with personal feelings about them; if you don't like X, any detectable presence of it is going to be disliked).

I once had a boss who was from Northern india, and his contention was that (at least in NYC) the majority of of Indian restaurants served a lot of Northern Indian dishes, but were staffed by poorly paid workers from Southern India, who did not have a good feel for what they were cooking, and were too underpaid to care, anyway, the result being what my boss described as '...disgusting food, don't eat it'.

I have often heard something that could be true in some cases, perhaps urban myth in others, which is that much of the "Indian" food found in run-of-the-mill U.S. Indian restaurants is actually Pakistani, because the Pakistanis are prolific restauranteurs in the States. And I ate my share of Indian in America that was surely tailored to the American palate, as many foreign cuisines are. On the other hand, I will travel from Italy to London just to go to the great curry houses. Maybe the problem is simply worldwide inconsistency of quality with curries...

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Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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Agree with the Indian curry haters.

Looks & smells like baby poop.

Doesn't matter if you order chicken, lamb or beef curry, it's all overcooked to a greasy, mushy, musty, murky flavored glop.

The worse aspect of Indian curries is the strong & funky body odor smell.

. . . .

I have to admit that I'm another who is confused by this sort of generalization.

I've had a lot of Indian curries, and although some have been murky/harshly-seasoned, with a dog's-breakfast sort of texture and appearance, others were cleanly, beautifully rendered, with a luscious texture and seamless, velvety seasoning. The basic seasoning palette was recognizably similar at both ends of this spectrum, so the handling of the ingredients is obviously key (along with personal feelings about them; if you don't like X, any detectable presence of it is going to be disliked).

I once had a boss who was from Northern india, and his contention was that (at least in NYC) the majority of of Indian restaurants served a lot of Northern Indian dishes, but were staffed by poorly paid workers from Southern India, who did not have a good feel for what they were cooking, and were too underpaid to care, anyway, the result being what my boss described as '...disgusting food, don't eat it'.

I have often heard something that could be true in some cases, perhaps urban myth in others, which is that much of the "Indian" food found in run-of-the-mill U.S. Indian restaurants is actually Pakistani, because the Pakistanis are prolific restauranteurs in the States. And I ate my share of Indian in America that was surely tailored to the American palate, as many foreign cuisines are. On the other hand, I will travel from Italy to London just to go to the great curry houses. Maybe the problem is simply worldwide inconsistency of quality with curries...

...and the great majority of "Indian" restaurants in the UK London are run by Bangladeshis, I think? And of these Bangladeshis the great majority come from a single place - Sylhet in Bangladesh?


Edited by huiray (log)

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Oh, there are other regionalities represented in the UK, and some of the best "Indian" restaurants are certainly from other regions of the Indian Subcontinent other than Bangladesh. ;-) I amended my post above to say that it really is in London, your stated "destination point", that Sylheti Bangladeshi is common - and in Brick Lane in particular. I am uncertain about the rest of the UK, perhaps a UK eGulleteer could chime in here.

I am presuming you are not referring to Anglo-Indian cuisine, which is a separate thing.


Edited by huiray (log)

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.....

Have you tried Malaysian/Singaporean Chinese curries, ie Nonya style curries or cuisine in general?

.....

Just a comment: Malaysian-Chinese cuisine is NOT the same as Nyonya cuisine. The Nyonyas have strict rules on what they will accept as "Nyonya dishes" and a generalized "Malaysian-Chinese" or "Singaporean-Chinese" is not it.

(for example, and temporarily stepping outside "curries" - Hainanese Chicken Rice is NOT a Nyonya dish. It simply isn't. Even if it is offered in restaurants in the West that are named "Nyonya" or in restaurants run by Nyonyas)


Edited by huiray (log)

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This curry discussion is getting to esoteric for me.

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Most UK "Indian restaurants" are Bengali in style. The staff and owners are often Pakistani or Bangladeshi.

Indian Indian restaurants are totally different. Drummond Street in London is famous for real southern Indian restaurants. My favourite is Jai Krishna In Finsbury Park.

And, by the way, not all Indian food is "curry", a word which has no cognate in any Indian language.


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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Seems to me from this discussion that curry is an almost meaningless term because of the diversity of preparations.

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Seems to me from this discussion that curry is an almost meaningless term because of the diversity of preparations.

Correct.

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Well not quite:

curry is an almost meaningless term

it does set up a general category that many understand in there own way. Its like a large Park with lots of places in it.

'curry' might have herbs/spices/chili in it in many ways

but so does Tex-Mex Chilli and that would never be confused with 'curry'

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I have never warmed to schwarma, switching the topic from curries. I have friends who go crazy for them but I find the ones I tried are kinda bland but saucy. I always end up with sauce on my shirt.

My friends love it soooo much but I have never warmed up to it.

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