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Calorie Count Blog

Cooking with Curry


By +Janice D'Agostino on Sep 07, 2012 10:00 AM in Recipes

I'm going to scream this from the mountain top, there's no such thing as 'a curry.' There's six kazillion different kinds of curry. When someone asks how to make chicken curry, I have to ask 'Which one?'  - Aarti Sequeira, Indian Chef

In the small Midwestern farm town where I grew up, exotic foods never crossed my plate. One day we packed up our simple farm land taste buds and moved to a large, diverse, and rather cosmopolitan city. Summoning our culinary courage, we set about sampling the likes of Greek, Turkish, French, Chinese, Thai, Brazilian, French, Senegalese, and Portuguese cuisine. There are so many interesting ways to eat! One day, we tried a nearby Indian restaurant, and I had my first curry. I was stunned by the depth and complexity of the flavors. It was so delicious I knew I had to learn to make it myself.

Before I could learn the art of curry cookery, I had to find out the answer to the question: What is curry?  Curry is not one particular individual spice or even a specific single mixture of spices.  Curry is a never ending number of ways to combine blends of herbs, seasonings, and cultures. As Chef Sequeira said, there are a kazillion ways to make curries. Indian recipes often call for garam masala (heat mixture). Don't fuss the term, it's still curry! Not all curries are as hot as a jalapeno. Running from mild to hot, from yellow to deep red, the intricate deftly woven flavors are a sensory feast worth the time to learn.

If you are new to curries, a little bit of experimentation is necessary to find out which curry most appeals to you. If you don't care for this particular Indian curry, try a Thai or Japanese curry. Don't stop until you've sampled all kazillion. Already blended powders and pastes are available in stores ready for you to sample - or try making your own signature blend.

The Curry Collection

Make your own Garam Masala with this excellent recipe from the experts at About.com!

Sharpshootinstar’s Gang Gai (Coconut Chicken) is curry goodness at its best.  

Meganr ran the ingredients through Calorie Count's recipe tool for Curried Red Lentils and Peas a wonderful dish from Vegweb. It's no fail awesome!    

Sharpshootinstar’s Vegetable Lentil Dal is an easy to make wonderful take on a traditional curry. 

Any recipe that features coconut milk is perfect to transition to a curry. Sharpshootinstar’s Butternut Squash Beef Stew is a curry win with a teaspoon or so of your favorite curry powder.

This is a splendid example of how to make my favorite Thai Pineapple Tofu Red Curry.

Simple Vegetable Curry will make it to your table fast and filled with flavor.

Vegetarian Times Japanese Curry with Edemame is a lovely all veggie way to experiment with Japanese curry! 

Herbivoracious's gorgeous Gobi Masala (Cauliflower Curry) makes good use of my favorite vegetable.

This "found group" lists all 14 of the CC Palate’s curry recipes. Bookmark it for easy curry recipe searching. 

Your thoughts…

What is your favorite curry? Do you make it yourself or do you only eat curry when you go out? How did you lighten your curry recipe to make it calorie log friendly? Share your favorite curry recipe - or your favorite curry mixture - with everyone here! If you would like you recipe considered for CC Palate, please send it to me via pmThis article may be reprinted (including bio) with prior permission from the author.

 



Comments


If it wasn't for my family I could & would happily eat Indian curries everyday. Hot or mild it doesn't matter, there's just something about combining the spices that creates the most wonderful smell & flavor to me. Every time I get the spices together and the smell hits me the sound "mmmm' just comes out. My family has learned when they hear an 'Mmmm' from the kitchen it's a curry night, lol.



I love curry! Shame the amount of time and money you have to invest to get the raw spices, its so much easier to buy something off the shelf which is so much worse health and taste wise



Original Post by: punawild

If it wasn't for my family I could & would happily eat Indian curries everyday. Hot or mild it doesn't matter, there's just something about combining the spices that creates the most wonderful smell & flavor to me. Every time I get the spices together and the smell hits me the sound "mmmm' just comes out. My family has learned when they hear an 'Mmmm' from the kitchen it's a curry night, lol.


Me too!



I don't like hot spices but I am very interested in different spices and flavors. How do I find a curry that is not hot? Or is mild?


Mmm... I'm thinking I need some Indian food tonight! Tongue out



I make a lighter version a chicken tikka masala that I make with curry, other spices, and light coconut milk. And yes, it's so good I could eat it everyday!



O-Kay there are a lot of different curry's.  What do you do with them?  Are they used only in sauces? That usually means increased fats. Are they only used cooked? ?????

How do you use them?



Curry blends are great for marinades, veggies, soups, stews, or just sprinkling on meat before cooking. I treat them like I do any other spice.



Interesting article but I am more interested in how curry fits into healthy eating and what are the nutrition elements in it.  Understand different currys may have different nutrition info, but is there a range for a measurement of the curry powders for example?

With regards to personal preference, I love West Indian currys (specifically those available in Trinidad) and don't like the taste of East Indian currys....they are different.



rosl: Yay, a kindred spirit.Laughing

jrbrogan: Stay away from curries with the garam masala mix. Go towards korma curries,  like chicken korma. Kormas are made with yogurt, cream, nuts & seeds and/or coconut milk.  Ups the cals some but much milder.
 
jjoan0818: Stay away from the pre-made curry sauces if you what to avoid the extra fat. If you don't want to mix your own curry spices, you can buy curry powder. (I get mine at the natural food store.) If I'm in a hurry and out of the homemade stuff it works in a pinch. I use it in sauces, as a dry rub for chicken or fish, and in a great dip with tofu (that I mashed smooth), yogurt (when I'm good) or mayo (when I'm not so good).
 
mlal820545827: I'm not sure there really is a range, 'curry' is really such a broad word. They can use such different spices & amounts of those spices that, I imagine, getting a base range would be REALLY hard. So I just guesstimate. I know that turmeric, is a great anti-inflammatory. It is also known to help with cellular death in cancer cells and may slow their growth in the first place. Something tumeric binds with the plaques in the brain that can cause alzheimer's & dementia and keeps them from multiplying. The turmeric & chilis in curries also boost your immunity, they are rich in vitamins A,C & B6. Some of the other spices commonly in curries, asafoetida, allspice, anise, cardamom and black pepper all aid with digestion problems. Not much in the way to hard nutrition facts but it's good enough for me. Smile



rosl:  hmmm  "Kindred Spirit" one of my favorite phrases!!

 



Love foods of the curried persuasion - however, nearly killed myself when I bought ready made at Costco - and this stuff (which otherwise was perfect) had BITTER BALLS in it.  Small eggplant is what the label says.  OMG.  Nasty nasty NASTY!!!!  Anyone here LIKE those????  USE them????  How!



Just a side-note: While Japanese curries taste nothing like Indian curries, that's where the inspiration came from.  Curried food was first introduced to Japan through the British while India was a British colony.  However, Japanese curry is now so different from its Indian counterparts that it's become its own food category (as well as a national dish of Japan).  Japanese curry is flavorful, yet mild, and at the grocery stores here in Japan, there's usually a whole aisle containing boxes of instant curry! 

If you're trying to avoid MSG, stay away from Japanese curry, though.  I have yet to find a box that doesn't contain any.  Surprisingly, I've found boxes of Japanese curry in even the most out-of-the-way chain grocery stores in the United States when I lived there, so if you're a U.S. resident who wants to give it a try, you can do so without making an extra trip to a specialty store.  S&B Curry is the most common one in the ethnic foods aisle, from my experience.



Original Post by: jrbrogan

I don't like hot spices but I am very interested in different spices and flavors. How do I find a curry that is not hot? Or is mild?

Curry can be mild or spicy.  Typically if you buy a generic yellow curry powder that is generally just labeled as "Curry Powder", it will be mild.  McCormick makes a Hot Madras Curry powder that I like a lot.

There's a simple 5 ingredient recipe I make a lot that you could try if it appeals to you.  1) 8 oz sour cream 2) 1 can cream of mushroom soup (or you could sub cream of chicken if you prefer) 3) 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts 4) 1 box long grain & wild rice and 5) about 1 tablespoon curry powder.  

Boil the chicken breasts until just done, cool and cube.  At the same time cook the rice as directed on the package.  In a casserole dish combine the chicken, rice, curry, soup and sour cream and stir together until well blended.  Pop in the oven on 400 for 30 minutes.

You can adjust the curry to your taste, I probably use more like 2 tbs.

Hope you enjoy it if you try it!



Original Post by: saussi

Mmm... I'm thinking I need some Indian food tonight! Tongue out


McCormick makes a sweet curry powder that goes nicely with items like shrimp and tilapia.  But an even better sweet curry (it's really not sweet, just not hot) can be found at Penzey's Spice - they do have an online catalog at http://www.penzeys.com/  They're more expensive than the standard grocery store spice, but I've found their spices to be outstanding. And they have sooo many different spices, it's hard to get bored.



I have just finished eating  my mince n mushroom curry I made  with lean steak mince diced mushrooms and peppers  I have all the spices which I obtained from an asian market ie; garam masala, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenegreek, turmeric, chillies,  all ground together and heated in non stick pan then brown mince , add garlic, ginger mushrooms and chopped peppers then tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer till cooked thro then add bunch of fresh corriander YUMMY and LOW IN FAT TOO



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