What is Curry, Anyways?
Curry, that intensely satisfying, warming dish, is primarily a sauce mixed into rice or used to coat tender meat. It is also what happened when the Brits invented the term and introduced it to the rest of the world. It was first used to refer to a meat or vegetable dish cooked in a spiced gravy and served with rice. As a result of trade this dish was introduced to the rest of the world and each country that adopted it made it their own.
To be fair, the word "curry" refers to a lot of different things depending on where you're getting it and in what form, and given its many variations, will affect how it tastes and how it's used. Here's a quick guide to get you started.
In Japan, a curry is often a mild, sweet yellow dish of meat, vegetables and gravy served with rice. In Thailand, curry is crafted from fiery chiles and coconut milk and used mostly as a soup. In Jamaica, goat curry uses the island's infamous allspice and pimento spices. And in India, curries come in every color and variety under the sun. Here's a quick guide for how to make curries, curry sauce & curry pastes to get you started.
Curry Sauce vs. Curry Paste
Curry pastes are just a combination of freshly ground curry powders, ginger, garlic, herbs and salt. Add all to a food processor or blender and you've got an easy homemade, thick curry pastes (in under 10 minutes!). Use your curry paste right away or make a large batch, pack into ice cube trays and freeze in zipper-top bags. These pop right out and can be thrown right in the pan without thawing for ease of use.
Curry pastes can then be used to as a rub or marinade on vegetables & meat or will form the base of a homemade curry sauce (just add liquid!).
How to Make Curry Sauce
How to make curry sauce out of a paste? Easy: just add liquid. While you can buy pastes and curry sauce pre-made, the best ones are, of course, homemade. Just make them in big batches, freeze & use when you need.
For Indian curries: typically yogurt, cream or milk, plus stock. Indian curry sauces tend to be yellow, red or brown, often depending on the Indian spices used, veggies or meat used.
For Thai curries: typically chicken or vegetable stock, plus coconut milk. Thai curries come in 3 main colors: yellow, green and red.
How to Make a Good Curry?
The best curries are made from a combination of both dry and fresh ingredients. Some are made from a curry paste, while others can just use curry powder on its own. There is no right or wrong way to make curry, but it does help to have a good recipe and high quality ingredients. The best tip is to follow your taste buds and adjust the dish to your preference as you go along.
How to Make Indian Curries & Pastes
Chop aromatics: 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 red chile. Add 2 tbsp vegetable oil in skillet on high heat, add aromatics, and stir until brown, 5-6 minutes.
Choose Curry Powder
Add 1.5 tbsp of one of RawSpiceBar's freshly ground curry powders and 2 tbsp tomato paste. Brown until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. If you want to stop here, you can pop this curry paste into ice cube trays and freeze. When you're ready, pop them out and make your sauce or curries, as needed.
Choose one of RawSpiceBar's salt-free curry powders:
Madras Curry Powder
Make a Sauce
Layer in 16 oz canned whole tomatoes over medium heat until browned. Then add 16 oz chicken stock and simmer over low heat for 25-40 minutes. Add in 8 oz coconut milk and let simmer, another 5-10 minutes.
Add Grilled Chicken, Lamb, Tofu or Veggies
Now jazz it up however you like. Add 1 lb grilled chicken, lamb, tofu or vegetables and swirl through plain yogurt. Top with fresh coriander and serve. Perfect with naan or fluffy basmati rice.
Other Recipes to Try
Tandoori Masala Paste
Tandoori masala paste is the base of any truly great tandoori recipe. All you need is freshly ground and toasted tandoori masala, ginger, garlic, fresh red chiles, and herbs.
Curry Sauce, British Style
The secret to ultra flavorful garam masala curries? Homemade garam masala sauce with freshly ground and toasted garam masala powder, fresh ginger, garlic, and chiles. Make a big batch to freeze and use all year or whip up a fresh batch in under 20 minutes!