Indian Curries: A Melange of Spices

Curry is one of the most definitive Indian exports to the western world. The UK has adopted the curry as a national dish and the British have made their own versions of curry after having been mesmerized by chicken tikka masala. The meaning of the word itself has changed through the years. It earlier used to mean only Indian food but it now denotes “various kinds of dishes from different parts of the world, which are savoury, spicy and have some gravy”.

bhuna_gosht  Dhanksak

India has a plethora of curries to its credit. Each region has its own distinct ways of preparing curries and even within regions, different communities have different ways of creating dishes through the same ingredients. The precise selection of spices for each dish is a matter of tradition, religious practice and to some extent, family preferences. Traditionally, spices are used whole and ground, cooked or raw and added at different times. Usually, a mixture of spices are used such as Garam Masala, curry powder, sambhar powder, etc. Each mixture also has regional variations. More than the spices, though, equal importance is also given to the selection of vegetables and meats. Although a specific dish may have a specific way of preparation, households come up with their own twists and variations. Hence, while the dish itself may be same, taste will vary from house to house.

Curries in India are classified based on their way of preparation. Korma is mild and yellowish in color.Do Pyaza (literally, two onions) refers to the usage of both fried and boiled onion in the preparation.

Pasanda gravy

Pasanda, that royal mix (as we like to call it) is a mild curry featuring rich use of cream and almonds. Bhuna is a thick sauce based in tomatoes. Dhansak is a Parsi variety prepared medium or hot with a sweet and sour sauce. Madras curries are fairly hot, red in color and heavily uses red chili powder. Other types of curries are Achari, Dahi wala, Jaipuri, Karahi, Kashmiri, Kofta, Kolhapuri, Mussalam, Saag, Tikka, Tindaloo and Vindaloo.


Authored by Jijo George


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