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Curry

From Academic Kids

This article is about the dish. For the curry tree and its leaves, see Curry Tree. Curry is also a word for grooming a horse. You might also be interested in the logician Haskell Curry and the procedure of currying named for him.
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Chicken_curry.jpg
An Indian chicken curry

A curry is any of a great variety of distinctively spiced dishes, best-known in Indian and Thai cuisine, but found in many other countries.

Contents

Curries around the world

The term curry derives from kari, a Tamil word meaning sauce and referring to various kinds of dishes common in South India made with vegetables or meat and usually eaten with rice. The term is used more broadly, especially in the Western Hemisphere, to refer to almost any spiced, sauce-based dishes cooked in various south and southeast Asian styles. This imprecise umbrella term is largely an artifact of the British Raj.

Tamil cuisine

In Tamil cuisine, from which the word originated, curry refers to any dry preparation involving meat or vegetables shallow-fried with dry spices. Used as a word in itself, it usually means chicken curry or mutton curry; the dishes made with vegetables are usually referred to with the vegetable as prefix - e.g. potato curry, beans curry. Curry is usually eaten with rice and sambar or rasam.

Other Indian cuisine

In other varieties of Indian cuisine, curry is a sauce - sometimes considered a soup - made by stirring yoghurt into a roux of ghee (a type of clarified butter) and besan (chick pea flour). The spices added vary, but usually include turmeric and black mustard seed.

Thai cuisine

In Thai cuisine, curries are meat, fish or vegetable dishes in a spiced sauce. They use local ingredients such as chilli peppers, lime leaves and coconut milk, and tend to be more aromatic than their Indian counterparts as a result. Curries are often described by colour; red curries use red chillis while green curries use green chillis. Yellow curries are more similar to the Indian kind, with their use of turmeric and cumin.

British cuisine

In British cuisine, the word curry denotes a sauce-based dish flavoured with curry powder. A dry preparation of meat or vegetables (especially potatoes) may be served curried, meaning they have been coated with a curry powder preparation then roasted, shallow-fried, or grilled. Additionally curry sauce may be served warm as a condiment with other dishes such as chips.

British curries are often served in Indian restaurants, the vast majority of which are in fact Bangladeshi, although the menu will nearly always be influenced by the wider Indian subcontinent, and cuisines from further afield (such as Persian and Nepalese cuisines). There have also been British influences; two of the most familiar dishes served in British restaurants, Chicken Tikka Masala and Balti (which is a curry designed to be eaten with a large naan), were invented in the UK.

The dominance of Bangladeshi-Indian restaurants has led to many others zealously promoting "authenticity" in particular cuisine from either India or a specific area of that country. Conversely, at the same time, some British variations on Indian food are now being exported from the UK to India. British-style curry restaurants are also popular in Australia and New Zealand.

In a relatively short space of time, curry has become an integral part of British cuisine, so much so that since the late 1990s, Chicken Tikka Masala has been commonly referred to as the "British national dish". It is now available (albeit in frozen, microwavable form) on Intercity rail trains, as a flavour for crisps, and even as a pizza topping.

British curries are generally arranged by strengths, with the most commonly found dishes and menu descriptions being the following:

Other dishes may be featured with varying strengths, with those of north Indian origin, such as Butter Chicken tending to be mild, and recipes from the south of India being hotter.

It is often claimed that the world's largest concentration of Indian restaurants outside the Indian subcontinent can be found on the "Curry Mile" in Rusholme, Manchester. Brick Lane in East London is another street that is home to many curry houses.

Elsewhere

Other countries have their own varieties of curry, well known examples include:

Bangladesh, Cambodia, Burma, Japan, Pakistan, and Singapore also have their own versions of the dish.

Curry powder is used as an incidental ingredient in other cuisines, including for example a "curry sauce" (sauce au curry, sometimes even au cari) variation of the classic French bchamel.

Curry addiction

A number of studies have claimed that the reaction of pain receptors to the hotter ingredients in curries, even a Korma, leads to the body's release of endorphins and combined with the complex sensory reaction to the variety of spices and flavours, a natural high is achieved that causes subsequent cravings, often followed by addiction and a desire to move on to hotter curries. Defining this as an "addiction" is contested by other researchers. [1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/989256.stm)

Ingredients

Thickeners

Spices

Sour ingredients

Fresh herbs and spices

Curry powder

Curry powder, also known as masala powder, is a spice mixture of widely varying composition developed by the British during the Raj as a means of approximating the taste of Indian cuisine at home. Masala refers to spices, and this is the name given to the thick pasty liquid sauce of combined spices and ghee (clarified butter), butter, palm oil or coconut milk.

Curry leaves

Curry leaves are the young leaves of the curry tree (Chalcas koenigii), a member of the Rutaceae family that grows wild and in gardens all over India. They must be used fresh, as they lose their delicate flavor when dried.

External links

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