COOKING WITH CURRY
Curry powder or paste? Which is best?
In India and Asia, curry paste is part of the recipe. Spices are first roasted, then ground with a pestle and mortar, add oil (sesame or peanut oil or ghee in India, and coconut oil in Thailand) and a generous helping of fresh aromatic herbs (crushed garlic, grated ginger, chopped coriander and parsley, sliced lemon grass …) and you’re ready to go! This spicy paste is then added to the sauce of your dish for a delicious curry.
Nowadays it’s simple to find rich easy-to-use curry paste to add to your dishes. But it’s just as easy to make your very own curry paste using the ingredients you have to hand and a pinch of inspiration.
It’s all a matter of taste.
There is a lot of turmeric in yellow curry, which makes gentler curry with a slightly acidic flavour.
Green curry is generally fresher and has slightly less complex aromas than yellow and red curry. It gets its beautiful green colour from the fresh herbs used to make it (coriander, parsley, celery, lemon grass).
Red curry is more intense and hotter as it has a lot of chilli pepper, which is often offset by paprika.
What’s the difference between Thai and Indian curry?
What a tricky question! There are just so many types of Indian and Thai curry.
There is a basic difference though. Indian curry often uses dried roasted spices, with added onions, tomatoes, nuts and peanuts.
Thai curry is full of fresh ingredients; galangal, ginger, turmeric, chilli peppers, fresh lemon grass, aromatic herbs, fresh kaffir lime or curry leaves.
How to choose your curry
We’ve already seen that there are so many curry recipes that it’s difficult to give an exact rule about what it’s made from. The most common basic ingredients are: turmeric, ginger, cumin, fenugreek and coriander. The more ingredients are used, the tastier and more aromatic it’ll be. But be careful not to overdue it: mixing too many different aromas won’t give successful aromas or tastes! A good curry uses fresh ingredients without preservatives, thickening agents, colouring or even rice, which only makes the mix heavier.
FRESH IS BEST
The best is to mix your spices at the last minute. Of course, ready-made curry powders are easy and very useful to have in the cupboard as long as they haven’t been hanging around for too long!
At Terre Exotique we make up our mixes in small quantities and buy our spices from producers at harvest time to ensure the best aromatic experience.
STORING YOUR SPICES
Whether your spice is whole or ground, it needs to be kept in an airtight container stored in a dry place away from light.
Curry is a true art, but the personal touch is essential in India as it is everywhere else! You can try Madras yellow curry with meat but also with lentil dhal, while black curry powder is delicious with both vegetables and fish.
It’s always good to remember that:
- Red curry is spicy (great with meat).
- Green curry is more subtle (better with more delicate ingredients like white fish and shellfish).
Cooking with curry
Here’s an easy-to-use chart to help you master the delicate and delicious art of curry.
Easy to make, you can make these curry dishes in less than 20 minutes using basic every day ingredients that you’re sure to find in your cupboards.