A Guide to Indian Curries

Posted by Kerala Moments on September 29, 2022

Having Indian for dinner has become a bit of British staple over the years! You won’t want to miss out on our blog talking you through the different types of curry you can enjoy… maybe you’ll get a new favourite?

Mild curries

Korma: this is traditionally cooked long and slow and can describe a variety of dishes. Often the meat is marinated in yoghurt and slowly cooked on a low heat so that the juices condense into a thick sauce. In restaurants, kormas often include ground almonds, cashews, coconut and thick cream.

Why don’t you try out some mild sides like sag aloo, sag paneer, which both have spinach in them, or butter chicken? This is a lovely creamy dish for those who aren’t keen on spicy food.

Medium heat curries

Dhansak: authentic dhansak is traditionally made with lamb and vegetables, served with rice. It is often described as ‘hot sweet and sour’ through its inclusion of chilli powder, sugar, and lemon juice!

Pasanda: this dish is derived from one served to Moghul emperors and is traditionally made with thinly-sliced marinated lamb! Dine like royalty on this relatively mild-medium dish which includes ground almonds, cardamom pods, puréed tomatoes and cream.

Tikka masala: usually a red-coloured dish using slightly smoky, flavoursome pieces of chicken cooked in a tandoor. This dish is famous for being a dish created for the Brits although it has an uncertain origin. Many say it emerged through Bangladeshi migrant chefs making more palatable dishes to British people unfamiliar with authentic Indian food…

Hot curries

Bhuna: the name describes a cooking process where chefs gently fry spices to bring out their flavour. Meat is then added and cooked in its juices and it is served with little sauce, making it a very flavourful dish. It tends to be medium hot but can be served much hotter!

Dopiaza: this translates to ‘two onions’ or ‘double onions’ which can be seen in different ways. In Moghul times, dopiaza may featured onions at a weight double to that of the meat! Today, onions are generally both fried and boiled, two ways. These onions are used at different stages and as garnish.

Madras: this is a restaurant invention which is a hotter version of a standard curry, but this means it can vary a lot between restaurants. Also, if it has a lot of tomato in its base, it is likely to be more medium, but many restaurants have it spiced up!

Very hot curries

Vindaloo: originally a Portuguese dish(!) from ‘vinho’ (wine / wine vinegar) and ‘alhos’ (garlic). Over time the indigenous people of the ex-Portuguese colony of Goa increased the spiciness of vindaloo. It is usually made with pork and it is very hot!

Jalfrezi: this is another method of cooking but in your average Indian restaurant, green peppers, onions, and lots of green chillies are stir-fried jalfrezi-style to make a curry with minimal sauce. This is another very hot one!

Phaal: this dish is made with the Bhut Jolokia, the world’s hottest chilli. It is famous for being the hottest curry in the world and chefs often have to wear gas masks while preparing it! This also originated from British Bangladeshi restaurants…

We hope you enjoyed our run-down of many of the curries you can sample at most Indian restaurants.


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