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Gone are the days when all spicy and particularly all hot dishes were automatically called curry. With globalization and effortless communication across continents, the world has realized that there are dozens of different spicy and/or hot dishes that are not curries, and in addition, there are many different kinds of curries!
The food, curry, reputedly originated in India and immediate surrounds, but there is quite a variety of claims as to the origin of the word.
Whether it came from the Tamil "Kari" meaning spice tree or the South Indian "Kari" or "kahari," which refers to a stir-frying technique, the consensus seems that it refers to the main dish cooked in a spicy sauce. A very broad definition, but some also say that the main ingredients of "curry" should include turmeric and cumin. There is actually no hard and fast rule.
Curry is popular precisely because it is so versatile and as long as the food is good to eat, you can call it "curry!" However, to make it easier, these tips are confined to Indian curries, since they are supposed to be the original dishes.
- Do not use "curry powder." This is a product that is good when you have to make "curry and rice" for fundraising or a school camp, but not for your family and your guests in your home. Curry powder was the only alternative when spices were not widely available and few people outside India had ever seen a cumin seed, but that is no longer the case. Besides, looking for all the exotic ingredients and learning their distinctive aromas and tastes is a lot of fun.
- Don’t think spices remain fresh forever—it becomes old and musty like anything else, therefore make sure that you buy at a reputable shop where the spices are fresh (not hidden in the back of the shop on the bottom shelf under a layer of dust, like some I have seen).
- Believe the recipe. If it says whole spice, it means whole, and if it says ground spice, it means ground. I have tried to substitute the one for the other a number of times before I learned that it really does make a difference.
- It is better to grind the spices yourself just before you use it, but if you cannot do it for whatever reason, buy a small amount already ground. It is better than trying to cook with something that is too fine or too rough. (Remember, curries are fun to prepare together, and men usually enjoy learning how to use a mortar and pestle—it is a great stress reliever!)
- You do not really need special pots (skillets), especially when you are only beginning to learn to cook curry, but curries must not burn, therefore a thickly based utensil is better.
- Most recipes will instruct you to fry the spices at some stage—this must be done with particular care to avoid burning (otherwise there go all the aromas you are trying to blend into your dish). This is perhaps the most common mistake made by casual cooks—omitting the frying of the spices.
- Many curries benefit enormously from resting overnight. The flavors develop more fully, the different spices become like different instruments in an orchestra that can be appreciated as a whole as well as by each individual contribution, the sauce often becomes thicker—curries make great leftovers!
- If the recipe calls for fresh tomatoes and the dish turns out too acid or metallic tasting, try adding a teaspoonful of sugar next time. It usually does not interfere with the rest of the spices but neutralizes the acid in the tomatoes.
Finally, rice is not the only thing to serve with curry—try naan or couscous for a change. Enjoy!
About the Author:
I am Matthew Evans and I want to show people how beautiful and interesting our world is. I am a coach, roulette review writer, and blogger. In addition, I really like to read new information about psychology and world history. Also, I am fond of cooking. I can make the perfect food for a really short time. I hope that my knowledge will help me to understand people and make their lives better.