Indian Curry Paste
Curry, plural curries, is the generic English term primarily employed in Western culture to denote a wide variety of dishes whose origins are Southern and Southeastern Asian cuisines, as well as New World cuisines influenced by them such as Trinidadian, Mauritian or Fijian. Their common feature is the incorporation of complex combinations of spices and/or herbs, usually including fresh or dried hot chillies
In original traditional cuisines, the precise selection of spices for each dish is a matter of national or regional cultural tradition, religious practice, and, to some extent, family preference. Such dishes are called by specific names that refer to their ingredients, spicing, and cooking methods.
Traditionally, spices are used both whole and ground; cooked or raw; and they may be added at different times during the cooking process to produce different results.
Curry powder, a commercially prepared mixture of spices, is largely a Western notion, dating to the 18th century. Such mixtures are commonly thought to have first been prepared by Indian merchants for sale to members of the British Colonial government and army returning to Britain.
Dishes called "curry" may contain meat
, or shellfish, either alone or in combination with vegetables. Many are instead entirely vegetarian, especially among those who hold ethical or religious proscriptions against eating meat or seafood.
Curries may be either "wet" or "dry." Wet curries contain significant amounts of sauce or gravy based on yoghurt
milk, legume purée
(dal), or stock
. Dry curries are cooked with very little liquid which is allowed to evaporate, leaving the other ingredients coated with the spice mixture.
The main spices found in most South Asian curry powders are turmeric
, and cumin
; a wide range of additional spices may be included depending on the geographic region and the foods being included (white/red meat, fish, lentils, rice and vegetables.