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 a free account.

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


David Ross
 Share

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 9
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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

"Flay your Suffolk bought-this-morning sole with organic hand-cracked pepper and blasted salt. Thrill each side for four minutes at torchmark haut. Interrogate a lemon. Embarrass any tough roots from the samphire. Then bamboozle till it's al dente with that certain je ne sais quoi."

Arabella Weir as Minty Marchmont - Posh Nosh

Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our sixth Cook-Off, we're going to be making pad thai. You've surely eaten this Thai restaurant staple dozens of times, marvelling at the sweet, sour, hot, and salty marriage on your plate. There are lots of variations of pad thai floating around the internet, including one by mamster at the eGCI Thai Cooking course. While there is one ingredient -- rice noodles -- that may be hard for some to find, most ingredients or substitutes are available at your local grocer. And, if you're new to Thai cooking, isn't now a good time to get your first bottle of fish sauce or block of tamarind?
      In addition to the course, here are a few threads to get us started:
      The excellent Thai cooking at home thread discusses pad thai in several spots.
      A brief thread on making pad thai, and one on vegetarian pad thai.
      For the adventurous, here is a thread on making fresh rice noodles.
      Finally, a few folks mention pad thai in the "Culinary Nemesis" thread. Fifi, snowangel, and Susan in FL all mention in the fried chicken thread that pad thai is also a culinary nemesis of theirs. So, in true cook-off style, hopefully we can all share some tips, insights, recipes, and photos of the results!
      I'll start by asking: does anyone know any good mail-order purveyors for folks who can't purchase rice noodles at their local Asian food store?
    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our thirteenth Cook-Off, we're making fresh and stuffed Italian pastas, including gnocchi. I would take a bit here and try to say some intelligent things about pasta in general, but I'm very happy to defer to my betters in the eGullet Society's Culinary Institute! Check out Adam Balic's Pasta around the Mediterranean course here, and click here for and the associated Q&A thread. In addition, Moby Pomerance has three eGCI courses: the first on stuffed pastas in general (Q&A here), and the other two on Tortelli, Ravioli & Cappelletti and Pansotti, Tortelloni and Raviolo.
      Of course, there are also lots of other related threads, including several on gnocchi like this one, this one, and this one; a few fresh pasta threads here, here and here; and a thread on pasta machines.
      So break out your Atlas hand-cranked machine (or, if you're like me, start to justify buying that KitchenAid mixer pasta attachment!), dice up a few heirloom tomatoes, and start cooking! No machine? Then you're on tap for gnocchi, my friend!
    • By Chris Amirault
      Welcome to eGullet Cook-Off XLIV! Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      We've just devoted a Cook-Off to braised brisket, and we're turning again to moist, well-cooked proteins for our next adventure: ossobuco. You will see it spelled a number of different ways out there, but Marcella Hazan refers to it as one word in her definitive Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, so I'm going with that spelling. No reason to argue with Marcella, after all.
      Ossobuco is braised veal shank, named after the "bone with a hole" that used to be attached to the hind shank of a calf. (Let's all agree to stick to veal, and not have, say, halibut ossobuco. ) The classic Milanese version includes vegetables, tomatoes, wine, and broth, and is served with risotto alla milanese, perfumed with saffron, and with gremolada.
      Some of the versions out there are a bit wacky. In particular, The Silver Spoon Cookbook simmers the 2" thick shanks for 30 minutes atop the stove. Given that Hazan has 1 1/2" shanks in a 350F oven for two hours, I'm pretty sure the SSC is a waste of good veal. Indeed, I'd think that a much lower oven for longer would work wonders.
      There are more things to talk about here than just braising temps and times! For example, many other versions of ossobuco depart from the Milanese approach. In her out-of-print More Classic Italian Cooking, Hazan provides the recipe for Ossobuchi in Bianco, the white referring to a sauce lacking tomato. In The Fine Art of Italian Cooking, Giuliano Bugialli offers ossobuco Florentine style, with peas and pancetta, and Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Italian Country Table offers a home-style version with mushrooms, favas or snap peas, and more intense flavors such as anchovy, sage, and rosemary.
      We have one short discussion of ossobuco here, and an even shorter one on wine pairings here. Indeed, as is often the case with Italian food, the best discussion is the one shepherded by Kevin72, the Cooking and Cuisine of Lombardia, which muses on on the dish's origins and execution throughout.
      I'm wondering a few things myself. Some folks say that braised veal cannot be reheated, unlike other dishes that benefit from a night in the fridge. I'm also wondering what other sorts of sides -- polenta, say, or the Italian mashed potatoes that Hazan suggests for the ossobuchi in bianco -- would work and/or are traditional.
      So who wants to welcome the new year with some bones with holes?
    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our third Cook-Off, we've chosen Indian lamb curry. Yes, it's true: that's a huge category for a cook-off, and saying "Indian" is about as stupidly broad as saying "American." However, like gumbo, there are some basic elements to most of the many, many permutations of this dish, and several cook-off participants wanted to start cooking Indian at home with several options.
      So, instead of choosing a specific lamb curry, I thought that having a conversation about those different permutations (like the gumbo okra/roux discussion, say) would be interesting and fun. I also wanted to avoid too particular ingredients that some of our cook-off pals can't get in certain places.
      A few things that we can discuss, photograph, and share include:
      -- the spice mixture: If you've never toasted your own spices, then you have a world of aromatic wonder ahead. I'm sure many people can share their ingredients, ratios, and toasting tips for curry powders that will blow away the garbage in your grocery's "spice" aisle. We can also have the ground vs. whole debate, if there are takers!
      -- the paste: many curry dishes involve frying a blended paste of onion, garlic, and/or ginger, along with the spices, in oil or ghee (clarified butter). I found that learning how to cook that paste -- which requires the same sort of patience demanded by roux -- was the key to making a deep, rich curry.
      -- accompaniments: rice dishes or bread (I have a pretty good naan recipe that I'd be glad to try out again).
      Here are a couple of related eGullet threads:
      lamb kangari
      a lamb and goat thread
      If anyone finds more, post 'em!
      So: find yourself a leg of lamb to bone, sharpen your knives, and get ready to update your spice drawer!
    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our fourteenth Cook-Off, we're making bibimbap.

      Aficionados of Korean food and cooking are well aware of this famous dish, but many who have not had the pleasure might find this a surprising cook-off selection. Folks, I'm here to tell you that everyone should bring this remarkable dish into their repertoire.
      What is bibimbap, you ask? In a previous thread devoted to the subject, Jinmyo offered this typically inimitable explanation:
      True, some ingredients (the pickles known as kimchee and the red pepper paste known as gojuchang) may be a bit tricky for you to find, but we can summon up some possible substitutes. No special equipment is absolutely necessary, though if you have one of the stone or metal cook bowls known as dolsots, you'll want to use that. Like cassoulet, bibimbap inspires many debates about authenticity and regionalism, which means that the neophyte can experiment with great flexibility and still claim some amount of technical merit!
      Finally and as always, the eGullet Society is chock-a-block full of experts ready to share ideas and recipes for the various components of this dish, not only on the thread referenced above (click the little pink box in the quotation) but also here, here, and here, with a kimchee thread here and a kochuchang thread here. So turn on your rice cookers and get your beef a-marinating -- and if you have any soju handy, get it damned cold!
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...