Curry Circle

Mad about Curry


Curries in South East Asian Cuisines

Pakistani cuisine
A favourite Pakistani curry is Karahi, either mutton or chicken cooked in a dry sauce. Lahori Karahi incorporates garlic, spices and vinegar. Peshawari karahi is a simple dish made with just meat, salt, tomatoes and coriander.

Bangladeshi cuisine
Bangladeshi cuisine has considerable regional variations. It includes lots of Bengals cuisine but are known more for their original spicyness compared to Indian Bengali Cuisine. The heavy use of coconut milk is refined to the district of Khulna and Kommilla. A staple across the country is rice and fish. As a large percentage of the land in Bangladesh (over 80% on some occasions) can be under water, fish is the major source of protein in the Bangladeshi diet. The widely popular British curry dish chicken tikka masala was likely produced by Sylheti chefs.

Sri Lankan cuisine
Sri Lankan cuisine mostly consists of rice and curry meals, and revolves heavily around seafood.

Indonesian cuisine
In Indonesian, gulai and kari or kare is based on curry. They are often highly localised and reflect the meat and vegetables available. They can therefore employ a variety of meats (chicken, beef, water buffalo and goat as in the flavoursome 'gulai kambing'), seafood (prawn, crab, mussel, clam, squid etc), fish or vegetable dishes in a spiced sauce. They use local ingredients such as chilli peppers, Kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, Galangal, Indonesian bay leaves or salam leaves, candlenuts, turmeric, shrimp paste (terasi), cumin, coriander seed and coconut milk. One popular curry is rendang from West Sumatran cuisine, not Malaysia as is claimed in many British restaurants. Authentic rendang uses water buffalo slow-cooked in thick coconut milk over a number of hours to tenderise and flavour the meat. In Aceh, curries use daun salam koja or daun kari (translated as 'curry leaves'). Opor Ayam is another kind of curry.

Malaysian cuisine
Being at the crossroad of the ancient trade routes has left a unique mark on the Malaysian cuisine. Practically everything on the Asian menu can be found here, and the local fare is also a reflection of its multi-cultural, multi-ethnic heritage. While the curry may have initially found its way to Malaysian shores via the Indian population, it has since become a staple among the Malays and Chinese too. Malaysian curries differ from state to state, even within similar ethnic groupings as they are influenced by the many factors, be it cultural, religious, agricultural or economical.

Malaysian curries typically use curry powders rich in turmeric, coconut milk, shallots, ginger, belacan (shrimp paste), chilis, and garlic. Tamarind is also often used. Rendang is another form of curry consumed in Malaysia, although it is drier and contains mostly meat and more coconut milk than a conventional Malaysian curry. All sorts of things are curried in Malaysia, including goat, chicken, shrimp, cuttlefish, fish, fish head, aubergine, eggs, and mixed vegetables. So rich and different are the flavours that today Malaysian-themed restaurants are mushrooming globally from Canada to Australia, and Malaysian curry powders too are now much sought-after internationally.

Thai cuisine
In Thai cuisine, curries are meat, fish or vegetable dishes in a spiced sauce. They use local ingredients such as chili peppers, Kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, Galangal and coconut milk, and tend to be more aromatic than Indian curries as a result. Curries are often described by colour; red curries use red chilis while green curries use green chilis. Yellow curries are more similar to Indian curries, with their use of turmeric and cumin. Yellow curries in Thailand usually don't contain potatoes except in southern style cooking, however, Thai restaurants abroad usually have them. Thais in Thailand are often surprised when foreigners expect potatoes. Yellow curry is also called gaeng curry (by various spellings), of which a word-for-word translation would be "soup curry" or "curry curry", though the former translation is technically more correct.

Popular Thai curries:

  • Yellow curry
  • Massaman curry
  • Gold curry
  • Green curry
  • Red curry
  • Penang
  • Jungle curry
  • Orange curry, could be called a curry since its spicy, but doubtful if any tumeric is used. A more accurate translation would be Orange (colored) soup.
  • Khao soi


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