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The Essential Guide to Curry

Curries can be found in a variety of cuisines, stretching from India all the way to Thailand. One of the most colorful dishes you can find on a menu, curry can range from just a dash of heat for flavor to four-fire-emojis hot.

Is curry your go-to dish or one you’ve felt intimidated to order before? Let’s break down some of the popular curries of the world and give a little insight as to why you should order them…right now.

Wet vs. Dry

Yep, there’s a big distinction. Curries that are “dry” are cooked with just a bit of liquid, which usually burns off, and leaves the proteins and/or vegetables coated in a more concentrated spice blend. On the other hand, we have “wet” curries, which are swimming in a delicious liquid (i.e. coconut milk, broth, sauce)–perfect for pouring over a bed of rice.

Curry around the world:

Like we said, curry can be found in cuisines across Asia (and even in the Caribbean), and they tend to be different depending on their country of origin. Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent curries you’ll come across on a menu.

Popular Indian Curries:

  • Tikka Masala: An iconic, bright orange dish, tikka masala is a creamy, tomato-based curry often paired with chicken. Spices like cumin and turmeric pack it with flavor (and yes, contribute to that orange hue).
  • Vindaloo: Get ready for some heat. Vindaloo, which has deep roots in Goa, is often on the spicier side of the curry spectrum (think plenty of chilies and/or cayenne pepper), and traditionally served with pork.
  • Saag: Perfect for veggie lovers. Noticeably green, saag has a base of spinach (and even mustard greens), jazzed up with a variety of spices and a kick of garlic.
  • Rogan Josh: Often paired with lamb, this curry features yogurt and cream, along with plenty of spices (like garam masala and turmeric), cinnamon and even Kashmiri chilies.

Popular Thai Curries:

  • Red: Say hello to some red Thai curry paste–which gives the dish its distinct color and heat–as your base, along with some ginger and coconut milk to round out this curry.
  • Green: Surprise…this curry sports a green Thai curry paste as its base–again, giving this dish its namesake color as well as a kick from its green chilis. Coconut milk provides a hint of sweetness, while eggplant and bamboo shoots also make an appearance.
  • Yellow: You’ll find the eponymous name trend continues with some yellow Thai curry paste, potatoes and coconut milk rounding out this mild- to medium-heat curry.
  • Massaman: On the milder side of curries, massaman gets creative with both coconut milk and peanut butter in the mix, alongside an assortment of spices, brown sugar, tamarind paste, fish sauce and potatoes.

Japanese Curry:

Kare raisu: Thicker, and brown in color, kare raisu is a touch on the sweeter side and usually packed with onions, carrots and potatoes. Don’t forget about adding tacking on some tonkatsu (fried pork).

Now that you’re caught up on some of the famous curries of the world, go on and give them a try.

Hurry–and order up–that curry.