Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

David Ross

eG Cook-Off #80: The Aromatic, Exotic Flavors of Curry

Recommended Posts

Curry. Throughout India, from Goa, to Kerala and Gujarat, into Burma, Thailand, Japan, Europe, North America and across the world, curry transcends boundaries and cultures, weaving a mosaic of flavors and textures along the way. And while the reach of curry spans the world, at its core it is a regional, personal dish that isn’t defined by one recipe or one ingredient.

 

The genesis of curry points to archaeological evidence dating to 2600 BC, showing the use of a mortar and pestle to grind spices including mustard seed, fennel, cumin and tamarind to flavor foods. The earliest Roman cookbooks detail recipes of meats seasoned with black pepper, cumin, lovage, mint, marjoram, cloves and coriander. The Mughal Empire in the 15th century influenced curry in Northern India and it spread throughout the continent. The establishment and growth of the spice trade further spread the popularity of curry across the oceans.

 

The British developed a taste for curry early on, highlighted by the Art of Cookery published in 1758 by Mrs. Hannah Glasse.  “To make a Currey the Indian Way”-take two small chickens, skin them and cut them as for a fricafey…..take three large onions, chop them small and fry them in about two ounces of butter, then put in the chickens and fry them together until they are brown, take a quarter of an ounce of turmerick, a large spoonful of ginger and beaten pepper together and a little salt to your palate, put in a quarter pint of cream and the juice of two lemons and serve it up.” 

Mrs. Hannah Glasse.png

 

So what makes a curry a curry?  Is it the seasoning?  The spices?  Do the spices have to be toasted and then pounded in a mortar and pestle?  Does curry mean there is a sauce, or does meat rubbed with curry fit the bill?  And is curry always made into a sauce, and is the sauce always red, green or yellow? Soup or stew? Served with rice or a certain type of bread?  Of course the possibilities are endless and these are some of the questions we’ll be discussing.

 

What about meat? Many curries follow strict religious practices and so meat isn’t used, but do any vegetables work in a curry? Do you serve your curry with rice, bread and other condiments?

 

As food fads fade as fast as they appear on the scene, we turn to dishes like curry that have survived and thrived for millennia. Today we introduce the 80th entry into the eG Cook-Off Series, eG Cook-Off #80: The aromatic, exotic flavors of Curry. 

 

(see the complete eG Cook-Off Index here https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/ )

Curry Cook-Off.jpg

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a terrific topic....could go on for weeks.....months.

 

My brother introduced our family (we're from England originally) to curries.  He was working in a restaurant at Expo '67 in Montreal for his summer student job.  Across the way was the Indian pavilion which he visited frequently on his breaks.  He was studying Mathematics at McGill but after this summer he switched to Linguistics and got very interested in the languages of Indian.  I could go on but this about curry.  He bought Foods of the World:  India and began cooking curries for the family.  I just made a curry dinner for 5 on Monday.  

 

I think one of the challenges of cooking curries is designing the menu so the dishes complement one another.  The other one is using enough fat when cooking the spices and letting them cook enough to get the flavours out.

 

I will take some pictures of my favourite books.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, we hope that a topic like Curry will live on for many years.  I hope to learn a lot on this one as I've never really prepared much curry.  I have dabbled a bit with Thai sour curry stews and I make a decent Thai green curry with prawns, but I hope to learn about spices.  I'm really interested about learning how the spices are blended together, whether they have to be toasted or not, all of those different parts of this global topic.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

50E86D92-7289-488A-99CC-BCC857DA9609.thumb.jpeg.8411459f2f649aa3f741ab95912ea217.jpeg

 

I have had this book for several years, and although I have flipped through it multiple times, I have yet to make any of the dishes.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This book is truly outstanding. 😍😍 This is my second one and it too is falling apart from use.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  It has recipes and cuisine notes from the following countries:

 

India & Pakistan; Sri Lanka; Indonesia; Malaysia; Singapore; Burma; Thailand; Cambodia & Laos; Vietnam; The Philippines; China; Korea and Japan.  There are well over 50 curries from the countries noted above.  They are easy to follow and the glossary at the back will be useful for those not familiar with all the ingredients.

DSC02721.thumb.jpg.3089e7ea4fa56081a638a5efa3b33c71.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DSC02718.thumb.jpg.6bc7bd1e47284b44b1b03c1072731ed5.jpg

This one is all vegetarian with many, many wonderful recipes.  Very deserving of "Cookbook of the Year".

 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was introduced to Indian cuisine by a lab tech from Pakistan. In her kitchen she taught me about cooking her cuisine by practical example... cooking lunch together ... which for me were lessons I absorbed and loved. Although she was not vegetarian, the Indian cookbook I found that best replicated the products of her lessons is "Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking". My edition of course is very old and well loved as is demonstrated by the present condition of the book and the stains on it's pages. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These are two contrasts.  Prashad seems very 'authentic' to me.  There is no index.  The recipes are divided into categories such as "Handi" or casseroles; "Kadhai" or Wok (recipes using a wok); "West Coast Foods", etc.  The recipes are very involved but absolutely amazing flavours.

The Indian Family Kitchen is authored by the daughter of the Pathak family who are famous for their curry pastes.  This is an excellent introductory book.  The recipes are very good with not too many ingredients and simple preparations.,  

DSC02716.jpg

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course no cookbook list about Indian cuisine is complete without Madhur Jaffrey.  A Taste of India is one of her first ones.

 

50 Great Curries of India has a good commentary on Indian cuisine and the use of various ingredients

.DSC02720.thumb.jpg.df05a71ed9a4f1e01edc46841ae2ff96.jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vij's is a well known and loved restaurant started by Vikram and his wife quite a few years ago.  These are two books from them.  They are easy and very tasty.

 

DSC02719.thumb.jpg.097c45bd6086c49dc81695485f1f4b3d.jpg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bengal Lancers Indian Cookbook by Mohan Chablani and Brahm N. Dixit is sadly out of print but if you see it, buy it.  Absolutely terrific.  Mine is totally in pieces...a paperback with poor spine-binding.  Oh well, still excellent recipes.

 

So, these are my favourites. I have others but I use all of these all the time.  

 

There are also many websites but I like this one:  http://www.manjulaskitchen.com

DSC02717.thumb.jpg.5553c7e0f91642d14c44ce78e0be64aa.jpg

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, robirdstx said:

50E86D92-7289-488A-99CC-BCC857DA9609.thumb.jpeg.8411459f2f649aa3f741ab95912ea217.jpeg

 

I have had this book for several years, and although I have flipped through it multiple times, I have yet to make any of the dishes.

I took a look at the recipe index over on Eat Your Books and they look really good.  Not many people have made notes about the recipes though. How about the Jumbo Shrimp in Coconut Curry Sauce on page 65?  That's an easy one to start with. :-))

 

Oh, and one of the authors is David Thompson..check out the Thai Curries.


Edited by Okanagancook (log)
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The October issue of Bon Apetit has a piece on Chef Sirichai Sreparplarn's restaurant Ugly Baby in New York and is red curry paste recipe.  The ingredients include lemongrass, galangal, Thai chiles, Asian shallots, garlic, cilantro root, dried Kaffir lime leaves and shrimp paste.  He does offer some substitute ingredient suggestions.  There are a lot of stpes involved, but it looks it makes a delicious curry paste.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have come to love curries, both the Indian and the Thai variety. The local Thai place does a mango curry you can get with either chicken or shrimp that is to die for. I'm fond of coconut curries on all kinds of seafood. Still pretty much a rookie at making my own, but I do enjoy trying.

 

I insist on cooking jasmine rice with my Thai curries, basmati and naan with my Indian ones.

 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Making your own curry pastes that are used in Thai and Indonesian Curries is well worth it if you can get the ingredients.  It is a lot of work. 

They can be frozen too.  But if you are new to Curry making the commercial pastes are a good starting point.  

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed and I love curries of all kinds and used to eat out often at the India Food House in our local nearby city where the prices were very reasonable and the food was delicious. 

 

Now that restaurant is gone, replaced by three upscale restaurants whose prices are way above our snack bracket.  This is not a happy situation.  And it leaves us either making our own curries or doing without.

 

I have a number of Indian cookbooks but the unusual one is The Complete Book of Curries by Harvey Day originally published in 1955.  They don't print cookbooks  like that one anymore.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Okanagancook said:

Vij's is a well known and loved restaurant started by Vikram and his wife quite a few years ago.  These are two books from them.  They are easy and very tasty.

 

DSC02719.thumb.jpg.097c45bd6086c49dc81695485f1f4b3d.jpg

 

Vij's at Home is featured in this month's book display at our library with the theme of Asian cooking.  I'm pretty sure I've read it, but I'll double check to make sure.  Could be I am confusing it with Vij's.  (They could have made them different colors.)  Last weekend we dined at an Indian restaurant in New Jersey's little India, before stopping for Kwality ice cream.  My granddaughter and I had lamb vindaloo.  There were potatoes so the vindaloo may not have been authentic.  (She is not a fan of potatoes in curry.)  However the leftovers made a mighty fine meal for me when served with saffron rice.

 

My son had a goat meat onion thickened curry, and my grandson and daughter-in-law had two different chicken curries.  When I prepare my poor attempts at Indian curry I never include meat, though I may serve grilled meat as a separate dish.  Japanese curry is a different story.

 

Lovely topic, @David Ross

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Okanagancook said:

This book is truly outstanding. 😍😍 This is my second one and it too is falling apart from use.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  It has recipes and cuisine notes from the following countries:

 

India & Pakistan; Sri Lanka; Indonesia; Malaysia; Singapore; Burma; Thailand; Cambodia & Laos; Vietnam; The Philippines; China; Korea and Japan.  There are well over 50 curries from the countries noted above.  They are easy to follow and the glossary at the back will be useful for those not familiar with all the ingredients.

DSC02721.thumb.jpg.3089e7ea4fa56081a638a5efa3b33c71.jpg

I am excited about this cook off.   Thank you to everyone for their cookbook recommendations.  I've ordered this one from Amazon--it's not the same edition though.  I should be getting it Monday.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife and I love curries... especially the SE Asian ones.  I usually make a large batch and portion and freeze.  Lately, I've been on a Nyonya curry kick - Nyonya (aka Peranakan) is a group of people that descend from Chinese immigrants to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.  Some use coconut milk, some do not.  I've made a few from Nyonya Specialties, and discussed it a bit here:

After using this book for a while, I've learned a bit of how to create my own to recreate some of my favorite dishes I've had during my travels.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found a great piece of my cooking history-a recipe I entered into a slow-cooker contest way back in the early 1980's!  Now that was a time when we were still using the old "crockpots".   Fast forward to today where slow-cookers and insta-pot multi cookers are all the rage.

 

I entered a "Curry-Spice Indian Lamb" recipe, probably the first recipe I ever created from scratch.  In the opener I wrote, "Serve this zesty stew with steamed rice with toasted almonds and yogurt-mint dressed cucumber slices." 

 

The list of ingredients is extensive:

smoked bacon

garlic

lamb

onions

apples

white beans

dried apricots

raisins

flour

curry powder, salt, ground ginger, dried mustard, allspice, turmeric, ground cinnamon

black pepper and red pepper flakes

red wine

beef broth

lemon juice

 

Now that I've discovered this recipe again, I think I could modify it to today's tastes and come up with something pretty good.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be making Rendang using leg of lamb.  It is an Indonesian curry made by slowly simmering chunks of beef or lamb in spices and coconut milk until all the liquid has evaporated and the meat begins to sizzle in the remaining coconut milk.  This is part of an Indonesian themed birthday dinner for our Dutch friend.  I will document the preparation.  For those who have Charmaine Solomon’s Complete Asian cookbook, it’s the Rendang Daging (but using lamb) on page 190.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/20/2018 at 9:59 AM, robirdstx said:

50E86D92-7289-488A-99CC-BCC857DA9609.thumb.jpeg.8411459f2f649aa3f741ab95912ea217.jpeg

 

I have had this book for several years, and although I have flipped through it multiple times, I have yet to make any of the dishes.

I managed to find it on Amazon.ca.....arriving next week....thanks.  You can NEVER have too many curry books.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/20/2018 at 5:47 PM, Darienne said:

Ed and I love curries of all kinds and used to eat out often at the India Food House in our local nearby city where the prices were very reasonable and the food was delicious. 

 

Now that restaurant is gone, replaced by three upscale restaurants whose prices are way above our snack bracket.  This is not a happy situation.  And it leaves us either making our own curries or doing without.

 

I have a number of Indian cookbooks but the unusual one is The Complete Book of Curries by Harvey Day originally published in 1955.  They don't print cookbooks  like that one anymore.

I found it for $12 on Amazon.ca...arriving next week.  It will be interesting to see what the recipes are like from 1955!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where is @sartoric???

I remember seeing loads of great curries on dinner plate outta the kitchen.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×