Saturday, January 29, 2011

Curries...well worth the effort!

My philosophy about food right now is that it is worth the time and effort if what I cook tastes amazing and is memorable. There is nothing more satisfying than sitting down to a really great meal that I have cooked myself.

In the next couple of weeks and months I'm going to introduce you to different curries from around the world. I was introduced to Indian food while living back East 9 years ago. I wasn't super adventurous food wise back then, but we had some good friends that were and took us on culinary adventures with them. I really liked the Tandoori (spice rubbed chicken cooked in a clay oven) entrees at the Indian restaurant, but was too nervous to try the actual curries. Fast forward to moving to England and we met another set of friends who introduced us to curries and then we found this fantastic Indian restaurant in London. I tried all sorts of yummy curries there and loved them. I even bought a curry bible book (my favorite cookbook - link here) while in London and finally started making Indian food about 4 years ago.

What is Curry?
It was hard for me to describe and put into words so I found a website that defined it perfectly: Curry is one of those words like salsa; it means different things to different people. At its most basic, curry refers to a spicy dish of vegetables or meat served with rice. Curry is derived from the Tamil word kari, which means sauce.

In some types of Indian cuisine, curry denotes a dish that is sort of like a soup made with yogurt, clarified butter, spices and chick pea flour. Other regions from England to Thailand use curry as a generic word for meat or vegetables cooked with a spicy sauce.

Cooking Curries
You may be intimidated by cooking Curries, but I think they are dishes well worth the time and effort. They are the perfect dishes to cook on a Saturday or Sunday when you have a little more time. Not that you'll be spending hours in kitchen, but it will take longer than 20 min.

There are several Indian curry spices and ingredients that I have invested in that I think are well worth the money, especially if you are going to be cooking various curry dishes. Most of mine have come from Penzey's and are outstanding. If you can only buy a few, then invest in one curry powder, turmeric and garam masala. You can get the rest if and when you choose to make the more ingreident heavy curries.

Ingredients to consider investing in:
Curry - I use both Penzey's sweet and hot curry powders
Garam Masala
Fish Sauce
Cayenne pepper
Whole Cumin Seeds
Whole Coriander Seeds

Curries I'll be making in the coming weeks and months:
Chicken in Yellow Curry Sauce (Thailand) - I've made this once after having this at a good Thai place in Utah. My recipe tasted just as good as the restaurants, cost less to make and it was so good there were no leftovers. Did my kids eat it? Nope, it's too spicy but sometimes they can have pizza if we are eating something a little more decadent and spicy.

Chicken Curry with a Cashew-Coconut Sauce (Sri Lanka) - a new recipe I'm going to try out here. The recipe looks good and really can anything be bad that uses coconut milk? I think not!

Minced Chicken Curry (Pakistan) - One of the first curries we made and it's really simple, great for kids, has great flavor, isn't spicy and everyone we've ever made it for has loved it.

Tikka Masala (India) - I fell in love with Tikka Masala while in London and this recipe is just as good or even better. It is so delicious and well worth the time. In fact this will be the first curry I post here and I'm making it tonight for dinner! The recipe will be up tomorrow.

Lamb Pasanda (India) - I had this recently at my favorite Indian restaurant and it is so creamy, decadent and delicious that I am determined to make this at home. I can't wait to try the recipe in a few weeks (I can't eat this heavy EVERY night!).

Beef and Potato Mussaman Curry (Thailand) - I also had this at the Thai restaurant we discovered in Utah and it was so delicious. I am determined to make it from scratch as well. I haven't made it yet so we'll be taking that journey together too.

I'll let you know in my opinion what each recipe rates heat level wise. Now keep in mind all taste buds are not created equally. What I consider pretty hot, my husband considers mild to medium hot and my mother-in-law would consider it mouth burning (for day and day). I'll also let you know where you can tone it down to keep the spice level in check if you need to.

Be Brave, Don't be Intimidated and know that the results are well worth the effort! If you haven't already discovered a love for curries then I can almost guarantee that you are going to love the recipes that I show you here.


  1. Love curry! Will be excited to try yours. Be sure to tell us your true opinion of the new recipes. I look forward to trying the ones you really love. PS Love your blog!

  2. Yay! I'm excited for these posts. We love curry!!!!!

  3. Yum! I can't wait to try these. Thanks for the encouragement, we have curry all the time... unfortunately it's out of a jar.