Indian Food is incomplete without Curries. Dipping a piece of bread in the curry and loading it with a chunk of Chicken or Paneer sends the tastebuds on a roller-coaster ride. It is an indispensible part of Indian cuisines. The spark of Indian spices, delicate consistencies, profound flavors and perfumed aromatics – that is something definitely to look forward too.
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS CURRY?
We know people around the globe, except India (of course), have lots of confusion regarding what actually Curry is. So here’s a simple explanation for the same.
Curry is the Indian equivalent of something similar to Gravy or Stew around the world, except there’s a big difference in their preparation. But they both partially serve the same purpose; keeping the food a little or lot wet, as per the chef’s liking. The basic difference between Gravy and Curry is that Gravy is a sauce that is naturally exuded from the meat or whatever you are cooking, whereas Curry is a liquid (viscous or watery) base that is cooked separately by using various ingredients like spices, dry fruits, salt, chillies, vegetables, butter etc., and then the main ingredient (say Chicken) is cooked in that liquid base. So, it is bursting with uncountable flavors. In case of Stew, the vegetables are cooked along with the meat; in case of Curry, the meat is cooked in the Curry, so that it absorbs the flavor of Curry.
Another big difference is that Gravy is thickened using Cornstarch or Gelatin, whereas Curries gain their thickness due to their natural ingredients. The thickness can be increased or decreased by simply adding water, as per your liking. Even more simply put, every other than what you can chew in a Wet Indian cuisine
And when we say Curry leaves or Curry, as an ingredient, don’t get confused. Curry is also a plant, the leaves of which are used as an ingredient, in dried or fresh form, in many Indian cuisines to impart a herby flavor. Curry or Curry leaves may or may not be used an ingredient in Curry. For a more clear picture, here’s how different they are.
(In the first picture, everything that you cannot chew is Curry, and second picture is apparent enough to understand it’s of a Curry plant. And by the way the delicacy in the first picture is Chicken Curry.)
Different curries have different flavors across the Indian subcontinent. It is a strong base that adds depth and curiosity to any dish. Viscous, smooth, splendidly rich, velvety, tart – each state brags of a different rendition. The word ‘Curry’ comes from ‘Kari’ which is Tamil version of sauce and is known to have originated during the ancient Indus civilization. Since then, many civilizations came and went. Some evolved and so did the curries, along with them.
India is a diverse country and its diversity reflects in its food culture as well. Each and every region of this country has had its different style of cooking. And to try all these different recipes at the right places, you would need a boutique travel organizer in India to optimize this foodie trip, exclusively for you. So without furthur ado, let’s introduce you to what we’re trying to say here.
Starting from the Northernmost tip of India, the best-known Kashmiri curry is the Rogan Josh, a rich gravy with bits of lamb (called Mutton Keema) uniformly mixed with the gravy, contributing to its thickness.. It has a typical red colour, derived from a combination of Kashmiri Red Chillies and an extract of Cockscomb plant. Goshtaba, another famous dish consists of large Lamb Meatballs cooked in Yoghurt gravy, which originates from Wazhwan.
Coming towards Punjab, the Punjabi food, like the rest of Indian cuisines has lot of curry-based dishes. Mostly, the Punjabi dishes are primed using Tadka, which is a blend of Ginger, Garlic, Onions and Tomatoes along with dried spices. They are occasionally accompanied by water, milk, heavy cream etc. and fried in Ghee, Mustard oil or Butter. On a scale from 0-10, the Punjabi curries can lie anywhere. Butter Chicken and Rajma are amongst the famous dishes served with Steamed Rice or breads made out of Wheat or All flour.
Rajasthani cuisines are influenced by two things: The aggressive lifestyle of its inhabitants and the availability of ingredients in this parched region. Scarcity of water and the dearth fresh green vegetables have had their effect on the cooking. Hence, the curries in Rajasthan are usually made using dry spices & herbs and other dry items like Gram flour. A lot of milk is used to minimize the usage of water in the food. Kadhi is a popular gram flour curry, usually served with steamed rice and bread. ‘Laal Maans’ is a popular meat curry from Rajasthan.
As we trickle down to Gujarat, wet curries play a meager role. The state being largely populated by vegetarians, Gujarati gravies are dominated by buttermilk or coconut milk. The main ingredient may vary from aubergine, potatoes, fresh corn kernels, okra, tomatoes, etc. Kofta, combination of vegetables and spices is a substitute for meat. Undhiyu, a Gujarati specialty, is a spicy ‘wet’ blended vegetables goulash cooked in a ceramic pot, frequently eaten amid the winters.
The curries of Maharashtra vary from mildly spicy to very spicy and include Vegetables, Mutton, Chicken and Fish, distinctive feature being the Peanut powder. The ingredients commonly used are Besan (gram flour), or Chickpea flour, and Groundnut powder. The traditional food is simple. Common dishes can be Pav Bhaji, Mixed Kolhapuri.
The food from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, in general, is considered the hottest in India. Being the largest producer of Chillies, Andhra Pradesh makes lavish use of the same in its preparations. Hence, the spiciest and the most sizzling curries in the country. The curries of Karnataka are typically vegetarian. Non-vegetarian ones are generally consumed around the coastal parts of it.With rich use of vegetables, flavors, coconut and jaggery, there are dry and sauce-based curries that are mostly found across the state. Some run of the mill sauce-based dishes incorporate Saaru, Gojju, Thovve, Huli, Majjige Huli; which is like the “kadi” made in the north, Sagu or Kootu, which is eaten blended with hot rice.
Kerala curry typically contains shredded coconut paste or coconut milk, curry leaves, and various spices. Mustard seeds are incorportated in almost all the dishes, assisted with Onions, Curry leaves, and cut red-chilies synced in hot oil. The greater part of the non-vegetarian dishes are vigorously spiced. Kerala is known for its customary Sadya, a veg lover’s supper presented with bubbled rice.
Tamilian curries get its peculiar flavor and fragrance by a blend of flavors including curry leaves, Tamarind, Coriander, Ginger, Garlic, Stew, Pepper, Poppy seeds, Mustard seeds, Rosewater and so forth. Lentils, vegetables and dairy items are the fundamental ones and are frequently presented with rice. Vegetarian dishes overwhelm the menu with a scope of non-vegetarian dishes including freshwater fish and fish cooked with flavors and flavoring. Thayir Saadam, Puli Saadam, Sambhaar, Avial are some of the most famous dishes.
The eastern dishes are not too spicy or too sweet. The curry is Bengal is known as ‘Shukto’ which can be both bitter and sweet. The fragile harmony between the main ingredients and the seasonings plays an essential part. The least complex of suppers pick up an exquisite identity on adding ‘Phoron’ or a customary blend of pounding flavors. The ‘Panch Phoron’ is utilized generously and it incorporates a blend of five flavors – Cumin, Nigella, Fenugreek, Aniseed and Mustard seed. What makes the Bengali curries really unique, are the kinds of mustard oil, poppy seeds and turmeric, used with warm flavors like Cinnamon, Cardamom, Nutmeg and Mace give. Dimer Dhokkar Dalna, Sorsebata Ilish Maach are some famous dishes.
Assamese food is less spoken of, yet one nibble and you will realize that this lesser known style of cooking scores high on taste. The curries use a lot of leafy vegetables and fruits. Banana stem or Posola as the major flavouring ingredient to make a simple yet delicious dish that brings out the best flavours of Assam. Khar, Masor Tenga are some of the best delicacies from this part of India.
India is place of flavors bursting at the seams. And the best part is that there is huge diversity among the foods from different zones. You might to read some Indian recipes and go for try-outs in your kitchen but then the titillating aroma that can be felt in an Indian dish, can only be incorporated through the distinct Indian cooking methods, traditional cooking platforms and maybe the special ingedient in the air across this huge sub continent. And for such a diverse food experience, a visit would be worth every penny. So, book a trip with Nomaday Travel, ‘the Boutique tour organizer in India‘ and get ready to take the deepest dive into an ocean of flavors, like never before.